Gangubai Kathiawadi has arrived in theatres today. Starring Alia Bhatt in the lead, the film by Sanjay Leela Bhansali went through many legal troubles like most of his projects do, to get to the theatres and people who have watched the premiere cannot stop talking about it.
The film is about a woman named Gangubai, who runs away from home to become an actor, only to be sold to a brothel in Mumbai. Thrown into the sex trade, Gangubai evolves into a brothel madam, eventually fighting for the rights of sex workers. Based on the life of mafia queen Gangubai Kothewali, the film captures its protagonist’s rise in politics and her journey as a social worker, battling stigmas throughout her life.
Suggested Reading: Gangubai Kathiawadi: What Makes It The Most Anticipated Biopic of 2022
The film took a legal hit from Gangubai’s granddaughter Bharti Sonawane and adopted son, Babu Raoji Shah, who weren’t happy with how Bhansali had portrayed her in his film. The locals of Kamathipura also protested against the release of the film. Until yesterday, the film was still fighting to be released in the Supreme Court of India.
The family members of Gangubai allege that they knew nothing about the film until they saw the promo. They also allege that the film misrepresented and defamed Gangubai, who according to them was not a sex worker, but a woman staying in Kamathipura, fighting for the rights of other sex workers.
Ahead of its theatrical release in India, the film went to the Berlin International Film Festival, known as Berlinale. Alia Bhatt along with Bhansali went to Berlin to present the film where it received positive feedback from viewers and critics.
Gangubai Kathiawadi review
A Redditor called Gangubai Kathiawadi, “One of the better Bollywood movies of 2022” and also wrote how it reminded them of Deepika Padukone in another Bhansali film titled Ram Leela. The reviews of the film from overseas publications seem to be great. From The Letterbox, The Guardian to Firstpost and Movieplot, the film has received praises, especially for Bhatt’s performance.
Reviews for the film have started trickling on Twitter too. “Sitting in the intermission and #GangubaiKathiawadi is arguably the most un-Bhansali film #SanjayLeelaBhansali has made thus far. So rooted, gritty, sapped of colour and full of dark humour. #AliaBhatt is a revelation here. Her best since Udta Punjab and Raazi,” wrote one user.
Appreciating the way Bhansali has presented his female lead in the film, another user tweeted, “#GangubaiKathiawadi everything else aside, it was just SO NICE to see a female protagonist presented the way Gangu was presented – like how Rohit Shetty presents his “heroes” (but better). The swagger, the buildup, the occaisional larger than life-ness…it’s about time!”
Actors have also posted online appreciating Bhatt’s performance in the film. Vicky Kaushal wrote, “Absolutely shook by the sheer brilliance at display in this film. SLB sir you are a master! And @aliaabhatt don’t even know what to say about you…breathtakingly amazing as Gangu! Hats off.”
Riddima Kapoor Sahni said, “When two living legends come together & create magic #sanjayleelabhansali #aliabhatt What a fantastic movie! Brilliant performance! @aliabhatt You nailed it (emoji).”
The film includes Shantanu Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Florian Dibra, Huma Qureshi, Seema Pahwa, amongst others.
(Feature Image Credit: Alia Bhatt Instagram)
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