Alia Bhatt's highly-anticipated film, Gangubai Kathiawadi is all set to hit the big screens on Friday, February 25. The film featuring Bhatt in a never-seen-avatar has evoked curiosity ever since it was announced by the filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali. It has also been making headlines because of its powerful and hard-hitting dialogues and the controversy as the crime drama is based on a real-life story.
The biographical drama is set in the 1960s and its plot revolves around a young woman, Gangubai, who ran the brothels in Mumbai's Kamathipura in the 60s. It is based on a chapter of Hussain Zaidi's book called Mafia Queens of Mumbai. As many fans are eager to know more about the film, the filmmakers have managed to keep them on the edge by unveiling only necessary details.
The film, which is based on a chapter of Zaidi's 'Mafia Queens of Mumbai', revolves around a young woman, Gangubai Kothewali, who left her family home in Kathiawar, Gujarat to go to erstwhile Bombay with her husband, Ramnik Lal, whom she had eloped with. Trafficked by him to a brothel in then-Bombay for Rs.500, Gangubai rose through the ranks to be the city's most feared yet respected sex worker of the 50s and 60s.
In her 20s, Gangubai seeks her own revenge by reporting violent abuse by a gang member to his boss, Karim Lala, who was a ganglord at the time. Hussain Zaidi in his book, recounts their exchange as, "I might be a prostitute but I am not an object that people can use whenever they feel like. Because of that man, I had to be hospitalised… he was very brutal to me.." Gangubai showcases her scars and eventually ties a rakhi on him.
Zaidi continued, "Under the tutelage of her rakhi brother, she began to develop strong ties with the Nagpada police and the underworld." She gradually becomes a brothel 'madam' at a young age and begins to petition for the need for prostitution belts in cities.
Gangubai is remembered for a speech she gave at a women's conference at Azad Maidan. She had highlighted the important role of sex workers in a civilised society. Her speech was widely reported by the media at the time, which helped her secure an appointment with Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. She is also remembered for saving thousands of sex workers from financial troubles and for helping to change the image of their profession.
The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a petition seeking to stop the release of Sanjay Leela Bhansali's film Gangubai Kathiawadi. The petition was filed by a person claiming to be the adopted son of Gangubai.
According to the report by Bar & Bench, a Bench of Justices comprising Indira Banerjee and JK Maheshwari was considering a plea filed against the Bombay High Court's order that ordered a stay on the summons issued by a Mumbai court in a criminal defamation complaint against the producers of Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia Bhatt, and authors S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borge, who wrote the book.