Former Kamathipura Courtesan’s Son Shares What Gangubai Kathiawadi Got Right

kamathipura courtesan
Writer and Journalist Manish Gaekwad shared a Twitter thread featuring a conversation with his mother, Rekhabai, who was a Kamathipura courtesan. The same Kamathipura area was portrayed in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi. The mother-son duo discussed how the film displayed real events of the life of a Kamathipura courtesan. Gangubai Kathiawadi was released on February 25, 2022, in cinemas.

Writer, journalist and screenwriter Manish Gaekwad took to Twitter to share a heartwarming thread about his discussion with his mother about the film Gangubai Kathiawadi. Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi follows the story of a brothel owner Gangubai and how she fought for the rights of courtesans in the Kamathipura area. The film is based on Hussain Zaidi’s non-fiction novel Mafia Queens of Mumbai.

Gaekwad’s mother, Rekhabai, was also a Kamathipura courtesan. The journalist had tweeted earlier that his mother was recovering from ailments at a hospital in Calcutta on February 26, and he will soon join her to watch the Sanjay Leela Bhansali film as soon as her treatment gets over.

In his recent post, he shared snippets from the movie date he took his mother and her friends on International Women’s Day.

“Apne time ki girlboss Rekhabai. Same to same, bindi, goggles, hairstyle, the pallu tuck in the blouse, plus the dhamakedaar sass,” Girlboss of her own time with bindi, goggles, hairstyle and saree tucked in blouse with the killer sass, he wrote in one of his Tweets as he shared an old picture of his mother.

Suggested Reading: Gangubai Kathiawadi Box Office Collection Crosses Rupees 100 Crore Worldwide


Remembering her life as a Kamathipura courtesan, Rekhabai remarked on Ajay Devgn’s character saying he reminded her of “a dada whose help she had sought to thrash a scoundrel.” Manish Gaekwad mentioned that the “dada” called his mother “didi” just like Ajay Devgn refers Alia Bhatt as his sister in the movie. He also mentioned no one harassed her mother after dada helped her.

The scene where Alia Bhatt’s character Gangubai is seen reading poet Ghalib’s Hazaaron Khwahishen Aisi reminded Rekhabai of a funny memory when she wanted to invite Ghalib for a mujra. Much like Gangubai, actor Dev Anand was her all-time favourite. “I saw him at Hare Ram Hare Krishna mandir,” Rekhabai told her son.

Referring to the mujra performance in the Qawwali song Shikayat, she applauded the actor Huma Qureshi for getting the mujra twerk on point saying, “Huma ne theek kulha (hips) chalaya hai, jaise hum log karte thay.” She also bragged about the golchakkar in Alia Bhatt’s Dholida song saying she could easily perform ten to twelve non-stop while the actor could do 14-15 golchakkars although with intervals.

Rekhabai also remarked about her life as a Kamathipura courtesan admitting that there used to be protests to get them out of the area and then meetings were held. When her son asked her if they attended the meetings, she mentioned that they simply paid them money since they had no time.

Referring to the Alia Bhatt-Jim Sarbh scene, the journalist wrote in one of the tweets in the thread that the reason he wanted to watch this film with his mother because she has been a courtesan and he is a journalist. “I am trying to tell her story. She’s trying to understand what I write.” He wrote.

Read the entire thread here.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known as one of the most artistic filmmakers in the Indian cinema and Gangubai Kathiawadi is has also become one of the many highly praised films he has made so far.