Gangubai Kathiawadi (2022)

Sanjay Leela Bhanshali is known for either colorful cinema with large canvasses, such as ‘Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam,’ ‘Raam Leela,’ and ‘Devdas,’ or dark one-tone stories, such as ‘Black,’ and ‘Khamoshi’.Gangubai falls under the latter category. Inspired by the true story of Gangubai Kothewali, Gangubai Kathiawadi is a biographical crime drama film which depicts the rise of a simple girl from Kathiawad to become the Mafia Queen of Mumbai.

A well-to-do girl gets sold to a brothel in Kamathipura by her lover in the guise of making her a Bollywood actress. Having no other choice but to embrace her destiny and swing it in her favor, Gangubai slowly and steadily takes over the brothel to first become “madam of a brothel” and eventually become a social activist who fights for the rights of commercial sex workers. She even had a meeting with then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to put forward rights and welfare of of sex workers in Kamathipura.

The movie’s story and screenplay have been well woven with excellent dialogues. Steady pace and crisp editing has made movie more entertaining and meaningful.  Ace director Sanjay Leela Bhanshali has once again got the most out of the actors. Alia carries the whole movie under her shoulder as a lead. Seema Pawa, as ‘Madam’of the Brother, has given one of her best performances till date. Ajay in an extended cameo as “Karim Lala”, the gangster, was apt for the role. The music also matched the feel and tone of the movie.

While watching the movie you truly move along with Gangubai, you can feel her joy and sorrow, you will empathize with her but never pity her.

Had there been no cinema, then this SharmaJiKaLadka would have died long ago. Out of food, sex and cinema this guy would always choose Cinema even if he would die virgin due to starvation.
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