Gangubai Kathiawadi Movie Review
Cast– Alia Bhatt, Indira Tiwari, Seema Pahwa, Shantana Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Jim Sarb & Ajay Devgn
Director– Sanjay Leela Bhansali
Release date– 25th February 2022
Popcorn score– 7 out of 10
What’s the basic storyline?
Ganga, one innocent girl from Kathiawad, gets thrown into the dark world of pr*stitution by her loved one. She’s forced to become an s*x worker in Kamathipura. She’s dead inside but slowly starts accepting her life. She slowly starts aiming for big for herself and all other workers of Kamathipura who are forcefully thrown into the world of pr*stitution. There are hurdles in the way, but Gangu turned Gangubai bows down to none. A happy and simple life for s*x workers and their families is what she demands.
Alia Bhatt shines in the character of Gangubai. She is innocent as Ganga but slips into a fierce and shrewd lady, Gangubai, flawlessly. We have seen Alia growing with each performance, but this one is a big jump from what she has done in the past. She has successfully delivered what Sanjay Leela Bhansali usually takes out from his actors. It’s Alia’s show throughout the film!
Seema Pahwa is brilliant as usual. She nails as a heartless brothel owner, Sheela. Shantanu Maheshwari shines in his character of a lover boy, Afsaan. Indira Tiwari does a good job as Gangubai’s friend.
Vijay Raaz, as always, is a dhamaka. He plays a cruel Raziya (a transgender) in the film and hits it out of the park. The only complaint is that his role is shorter than expected. Ajay Devgn as Rahim Lala is seen in an extended cameo. His screen presence, dialogue delivery, and swag leave you mesmerized.
Screenplay, direction & other departments
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is known for handling topics a bit larger than life. For Gangubai Kathiawadi, he does the same. It’s based on the book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ written by S. Hussain Zaidi. Bhansali doesn’t take the usual simple and raw narrative way of a biopic but adds his own touch of melodrama to it. His superb hold on oozing out emotions does the trick once again. There’s one scene in the first half where a girl living in the same brothel as Alia, asks her to write a letter. It’s sure to leave you teary-eyed!
The subject is a bit niche but Bhansali has added some commercial elements (actually a little too more), which is why sometimes the film feels off the track. Thankfully, it happens just a few times and the film comes back on the point again.
Bhansali is known for his amazing music and Gangubai doesn’t disappoint you. Dholida and Meri Jaan stand out from the album.
Dialogues are written by Prakash Kapadia and Utkarshini Vashishtha, and it’s one of the strongest pillars of the film. They are whistle worthy, intriguing, and keep you entertained.
It’s a typical Sanjay Leela Bhansali film (actually in a good way), which might feel a bit longer for some despite a runtime of 2 hours and 36 minutes. At times, it feels, at least one song could have been chopped off from the film.
On a conclusive note…
Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi is a complete entertaining package with lots of emotions and heroism. It could have been just a critically acclaimed movie, watched by some and left in the dark by many. Rather, it turns out to be a wholesome entertainer with commercial elements in place!