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Have you ever watched a Queen Mafia movie? Well without a doubt Gangubai Kathiawadi is the answer for that. The film hit the theatres on 25th February directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali who has worked his magic by portraying a beautiful story based on a women prostitute “Gangubai Harjivandas”.

The film was mainly inspired by the chapter ‘The Matriarch of Kamathipura’ from the book ‘Mafia Queens Of Mumbai’ written by Hussain Zaidi. The film begins with the introduction of an innocent Gujarati girl ‘Ganga’ (Alia Bhatt) who lived in a small town called Kathiawadi where she was raised amongst educators and attorneys. Being from a strict family of her town Ganga was always encouraged to study more which was a rare thing in the 1940’s. She always aspired to be an actress and one day she ran away with her suitor Ramnik to Mumbai where she was supposed to fulfil her dream (or at least she thought so)……

Ganga’s lover was a cheat and he sold Ganga to a brothel, Sheela masi (Seema Pahwa) for Rs 1000-/. Alia in this scene did some extraordinary portrayal of how Ganga was crushed because her lover came out to be a jerk and how after Sheela tried to ease her to get used to it she accepted her fate and made an outrunning goal of her life to rule the place. When she first slept with a man she came out as a transformed character carrying a fire in her heart to leave all of her past behind and do right by the people of Kamathipura by becoming the queen of that area. She renamed herself as “Gangu” and swore in front of Sheela that not only will she become a big success but she will buy the entire Kothi right in front of her eyes.

 During her time Gangu was the most beautiful sex worker in Kamathipura, and while she planned to become the queen obstacles came in between and one of the major incidents took place when she was brutally attacked and raped by a member of Karim Lala’s gang, Mumbai’s largest mafia. I would take a moment here to applaud Alaia’s skills in this because the way she put forth herself while she was in the hospital after the incident was truly amazing. Now considering that Gangu planned to become a leader she did not play the victim card, and went directly to the mafia, seeking justice from him, who later on served justice and became a brother to Gangu and vowed to protect her. After she got her justice, she thought that her plan was falling down, and Sheela Masi, the Kothi’s head, died. And since Gangu was the only person who was brave enough to speak up, all the other sex workers decided that Gangu is her new head and for her people’s happiness Gangu took over her business. 

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Gangu’s goal was now not only to become queen, but also to win the elections of Kamathipura, because when she found out how much good she can do by winning these elections she stood up and put her name down and went for it. Between this there was a simple but a very cute love story between Gangu and his tailor Afzaan, it was a very emotional moment for Gangu since she got that respect and love she was seeking for after a long time.

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 Even though she was thrilled with her love story, she later realized that no one would accept a sex worker as his daughter in law and got him married with someone else. Gangu realised she had put her name down for something more important and it was not easy because her opponent was Razia Bai (Vijay Raaz), who had been the leader of Kamathipura and thus she will have to excel in politics to win. Gangu goes through a lot of struggles to win the election and when the time comes, she then decides that she will protect the 4000 women of Kamathipura just as she would protect her family.


After winning the elections she discovers that their rights as a woman be it for banks, schools, transports,etc, is not given to them she then decides to fight for her rights and get them for her family. For the past 50 years, she has been known for her azad maidan speech. She delivered a speech in support of Kamathipura’s women and children’s rights . Alia captivated the audience with a moving speech right on fleek where she shows who really Gangubai is and being in that character she throbbed our hearts with her speech!!!Finally she was able to rescue 4000 homeless women and attempted to change people’s perceptions of their work. Alia was really working her field with this movie, be it the weight in her voice to how she was as a completely inspiring personality there are no words to describe this performance. People of Kamthipura still remember her because she was the only leader who people looked up to and believed that till Gangu is alive nothing can happen to the women she is connected with!!!

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Gangu was a remarkable woman; for the people of Kamathipura, she was their beloved “Gangubai,” and for others, she was the mafia queen turned mother India, who was blessed with the smiles of sex workers from all over Mumbai!!! This film is a must watch for everyone plainly for the way it portrays the life of women and their struggles in an extravagant manner!

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Megha Jain

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