Gangubai Kathiawadi: Movie Review


Gangubai’s character and her final speech make the viewers rethink their perception of prostitutes. 


Gangubai’s character and her final speech make the viewers rethink their perception of prostitutes. 

The Sanjay Leela Bansali-directed movie ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ tells the story of Gangubai, a prostitute who rises into power and becomes a mafia queen and a protector of the prostitute community of Kamathipura.

This movie certainly starts by showing the ugly side of the world as we get a glimpse of how innocent girls are sold off into prostitution. Gangubai’s character and her final speech make the viewers rethink their perception of prostitutes. Although this movie is not flawless, it makes a decently likable watch. With the beautiful art design, cinematography, and Sanjay Leela Bansali’s classic touch, the movie is a visual spectacle.

And if you are an Alia Bhatt fan, you are in for a treat. Because this is an Alia Bhatt show. From start to finish, her acting was impeccable. She has transformed herself into the character perfectly and portrayed the mannerisms and language of the character so effortlessly.

The downside of the movie is that we do get a glimpse into the ugly side of prostitution and mafia life, but just not enough. We are never shown the grittier and gore side of the life of Gangubai or her fellow prostitutes. The audience is never made to feel uncomfortable enough. This overall story is a glorification of Gangubai, which was the intention of the director and that is okay. Since that is the artistic liberty he took, and this was the story he wanted to convey. Yet there are still flaws in terms of the story and how it was told.

Also, there was this scene in the song ‘Meri Jaan’ which became uncomfortable for the wrong reasons. [SPOILER ALERT] In this scene Afzan is forcing himself on Gangubai in the car, while she is resisting him, but he does this thrice until he is slapped by Gangubai. But then she goes on to hug him. This is portrayed as romance which is not healthy at all. This is a problematic scene, and it should be viewed as problematic. However when she later prompts Afzan to stroke her head instead we can see that this is an attempt by the director to show that Gangubai needs love and care not lust. But couldn’t this have been shown in a better way than Afzan trying to molest her thrice?

But setting all these flaws aside, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is a movie that needs to be made and needs to be seen. Although the movie is not 100% correctly executed, an attempt to tell this story to the masses needs to be commended.  It is a female-centric movie which we get very less, and also it is the story of someone who is traditionally frowned upon. The movie is an attempt to bring the struggles of prostitutes to light. Also, the character of Gangubai is extremely powerful and it is one of the best female characters that ever existed in Bollywood cinema. It is worth watching the movie, at least to see this powerhouse of a character and Alia’s brilliant portrayal of the character.

-Staff Reporter

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