Movie reviews

Movie Review – Gangubai Kathiawadi – alia bhatt starrer gangubai kathiawadi movie review

Actor– Alia Bhatt, Vijay Raz, Shantanu Maheshwari, Ajay Devgn, Jim Sarbh
Director– Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Series– Biography, Crime, Drama
Language– Hindi
Time– 2 hours 32 minutes
Rating– 3.5 / 5

Gangubai Kathiawadi is the story of Ganga, based on the book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges. The shy and quiet Ganga living in a small town in Gujarat shows how she became the omnipotent powerful queen of Mumbai’s Kamathipura.

The story

The scene of women inviting them to stand at the door of a brothel in the streets of Red Light Area Kamathipura, South Mumbai, seems very real, dramatic and pathetic. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’, set in a Mumbai backdrop, tells the story of a number of women who have been sold into brothels for a few rupees.

It is about the early 1950s or 1960s when the young Ganga, with dreams in her eyes, ran away with her lover Ramanik (Varun Kapoor). Ramanik brings Ganga with him with the promise of becoming a heroine in Bollywood but he has a thief in his mind. Ramanik betrays Ganga. Eventually Gangu (Ganga changes her name to Gangu and eventually becomes Gangubai) remains the heroine of Kamathipura. Years pass and Kamathipura becomes Gangu’s home, the brothel girls his family and the whole Kamathipura his area. However, during his journey, challenges, adversaries and social stigma arouse the fighter inside him.


The beauty of the film is that the changes that have taken place in the various stages of Gangu’s life are well illustrated. The narrative of the film is a bit slow but it definitely leaves an impression. Ever since the story began to unfold, fierce dialogue and strong moments have been seen on the screen.


The entire film is on the shoulders of Alia Bhatt and she has fulfilled this responsibility very well. In a world full of brothels and saliva dripping men, Alia Bhatt has breathed life into the role of Gangubai, emerging as a powerful woman. It takes a while for Alia to admit that she is doing this role and she too has taken some time to adjust to the character. Alia speaks heavy-handed dialogues with ease and confidence. As the story of the film progresses, there is no change in the dress of Alia’s character. Gangubai is seen wrapped in a variety of white sarees.

Ajay Devgn leaves an impression in the role of Rahim Lala. Its role is small but important. The rest of the supporting cast of the film, Seema Pahwa, Vijay Raz and Jim Sarbh have done their job very well but they have got less screen time. Shantanu Maheshwari is in the role of Gangu’s lover. He has also done a good job. The sweet and sour moments between Gangubai and her are one of the memorable scenes in the film.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali has taken the story of the film forward like a chapter in a book. Each challenge and episode is like a chapter. Though the film depicts how Gangu became an activist for the women of Kamathipura, his contacts with the weaker sections of the city and his political ambitions, we still want to know about the rest of Gangubai’s life. Bhansali has beautifully portrayed many of the scenes in the film that are hilarious. However, the story of the film does not cover any aspect of Gangubai’s life in depth. The production of the film is amazing. Along with movie posters and actor posters, the film pays homage to the bygone era.

Each song of the film is featured with colorful and beautiful cinematography. The scene also looks overwhelming when Gangu is standing in front of everyone in a white sari. However, not a single song is memorable except Dholida.

Like Bhansali’s other films, this one is eye-catching. The camera captures the dark alleys of Mumbai’s red light area but is full of glitter and dazzle. The story of the film definitely shows the facts that make our society go awry. As well as shedding light on the sex-worker’s life and asking thought-provoking and pertinent questions, there is much that has not been said about Gangu’s life.

The screenplay in the film is somewhat poor. Well-designed dramatic scenes and heavy dialogue keep you hooked. But after a while the film seems to have been pulled. If Gangubai, known as the Mafia Queen of Mumbai, longs to peek into real life, watching the film will arouse the curiosity to know even more. However, there are moments in the film that will make you dizzy in a dark night where the lights never go out.


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