Is Alia Bhatt Too Young In The Role Of Gangubai Kathiawadi? Netizens Debate

Will Alia Bhatt as Gangubai do justice to the role? Netizens debate it out.

Tanvi Akhauri
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Alia Bhatt as Gangubai Kathiawadi is drawing backlash from a section of netizens who feel she is too young to essay the role. A teaser for the Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial Gangubai Kathiawadi, based on the life and times of the legendary mafia queen of Bombay, released on February 24 has amassed over 27 million views.


Some viewers however aren't happy with the film's casting, suggesting that Bhatt, at 27 years of age, isn't the best choice to play the infamous brothel madam who is generally recognisable in her older avatar.

A scroll through the comments on YouTube and Twitter tells us that Bhatt replicating Gangubai's wardrobe, tone of speech and demeanour hasn't satisfied many social media users, who say senior actors like Vidya Balan, Rani Mukherjee, Tabu would have fit better in the shoes of the gangster.

Balan and Tabu, in fact, have been associated with similar roles in the past, by virtue of their critically acclaimed roles in Begum Jaan and Chandni Bar respectively, where they were part of the prostitution world. This is the first Bhatt is dipping her feet into the big, bad underbelly of crime circuits in the lead.

Here's what social media is talking about on Alia Bhatt as Gangubai:  

"What if Seeing Vidya Balan as GanguBai....She would have done much better and Rockin' that character," one user wrote on Youtube.

"Even though this role was for her younger self....they could have took someone who will fit the role ......if younger people can play the role of oldy why can't little aged actress can play this role??? It's all about makeup and display Aliya is surely a misfit for this one....I mean dialogues and all the way she is delivering it's like she is doing it forcefully," another elaborated.


"Too young for this historic role," one comment said. 

Alia Bhatt As Gangubai: Other 'Age-Appropriate' Role Controversies In Bollywood

This is not the first audiences are debating the details of age-appropriate casting in Bollywood films. The Taapsee Pannu and Bhumi Pednekar-starrer Saand ki Aankh kicked up a storm when it released in 2019 for having cast young actors in the roles of 80-plus women. Read an opinion on that here.

Conversely, much of the online public has raised questions around the difference in treatment of this "ageism" when it comes to male and female actors. Stars like Aamir Khan and Salman Khan, now in their 50s, are known to have successfully essayed roles where characters were much younger than they are.

Others supporting Bhatt also point attention to the idea that an actor must not be restricted to a single type of role. Bhatt, who is usually associated with more glamourous roles, must be lauded, they say, for stepping out into a new domain of acting. The best judgment, however, can only be recognised once Gangubai Kathiawadi hits screens later this year in July.

Watch Alia Bhatt as Gangubai Kathiawadi ">here: 

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