“Gangubai Kathiawadi” is a name that became very famous after the release of the Alia Bhatt starrer movie- Gangubai Kathiawadi. After watching the movie, everyone was quite curious to know more about Gangubai. A name that was unknown to almost everybody suddenly became the most trending topic among everyone.
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, one of the most famous directors in the Bollywood film industry, has always brought something unique to the fans. All his movies like Devdas, Goliyon Ki Raasleela Ram- Leela, Bajirao Mastani, and Padmaavat were blockbuster hits and were loved by all the fans. His movie Gangubai Kathiawadi was also loved by the audiences who applauded the stellar performance given by Alia Bhatt.
S. Hussain Zaidi has mentioned Gangubai in his book Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of women from the ganglands. The book tells us thirteen stories about women involved in some sort of criminal activity in Mumbai. Gangubai Harjeevandas, popularly known as Gangubai Kathiawadi or Gangubai Kothewali was a sex worker in Kamathipura.
She opened a franchise of brothels in different cities. Gangubai had connections with many gangsters and powerful people in Bombay. It was reported that she was involved in many drugs peddling crimes too. Many mafia men were her clients. She was like a mother to many orphans and sex workers as she took care of them. A statue of Gangubai was made in her memory by the people who respected her.
How Did Gangubai Kathiawadi Die?
Gangubai Kathiawadi was found dead in her house in Kamathipura. The reason for her death is cardiac arrest. Gangubai died in the year 2008. She was loved and respected by many who still have her picture on the walls of their home. Gangubai has done a lot for the girls who were forced to be a prostitute. Gangubai was known as the Madam of Kamathipura and was feared by all because of her connections with the underworld don, Karim Lala.
She was known for her bold and fierce look in a saree and red bindi. Gangubai has worked a lot for the welfare of sex workers and their families. She knows the pain of being forced to be a prostitute, so she also helps girls who are forced to be sex workers. She sent the girls who come to Bombay to become actresses but were tricked to become sex workers back to their homes. Her name was behind many murders that happened in the 1960s. Her car, a Black Bentley was very famous during those times.
Gangubai had called her home but came to know that her father had died and her mother would never forgive her for eloping. It is known that she had adopted four children and now she also has grandchildren. After knowing about the movie- Gangubai Kathiawadi, one of her children, Babu Raoji Shah filed a complaint against the makers.
The actress and the director had to be present in front of the law. The allegations he imposed were that the makers tried to portray his mother as a sex worker and not a social activist. The movie affected the emotions of her family as the media too started bombarding them with questions related to Gangubai’s life.
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Gangubai Kathiawadi Early Life
As we all have already watched the most popular and superhit movie, Gangubai Kathiawadi. So, if we talk about the early life of Gangubai, then in the movie, we will be able to see that she was sold into prostitution at a very young age. At that time, she was well educated as she studied till 9th class. Her father was a barrister and her mother was a homemaker.
Gangubai belonged to a traditional Gujarati family. She had faced many difficulties in her whole life, in the initial phase when she was sold into prostitution, a criminal name Shaukat Khan started dominating her financially and physically. And then she reached Karim Lala for help, and he assured her that he will support her in any situation, Gangubai then also tied Rakhi to him.
Who Is Gangubai Kathiawadi?
Gangubai Harjeevandas was born into a wealthy and respected family in Kathiawad, Gujarat. She aspired to be a film actress since her school days. Ramnik Lal was an accountant who used to work for her father. They both fell in love and Gangubai decided to elope from her house with him. Her age was sixteen and Ramnik’s age was 28 when she eloped with him. Ramnik promised to help her build her career in the Bollywood industry and brought her to Bombay where they got married.
After a few days after their marriage, Gangubai was sold to a brothel by her husband for 1000 rupees. She had to start working as a prostitute there. After the death of the head of the brothel, Gangubai became the head of some brothels, also known as kuntankhanas. She was exploited by Shaukat Khan Pathan after which she decided to meet Karim Lala, who was an underworld don in Bombay then. After hearing her plead, Karim decided to help her. Gangubai tied a rakhi on his hand.
Gangubai started helping girls who were forcefully asked to work as a prostitute. She decided to provide education to all the girls in the brothel. But the girls were thrown out of the school and were not let to study. She fought for the right to education for the children of the prostitutes working in the brothel for their better futures. A campaign was started by St. Anthony’s Girls’ High School which saw prostitution as a bad influence and wanted to move the brothel. The brothel was the only shelter and source of income for many women. Gangubai decided to not let this happen and opposed it.
She asked them to not discriminate against anyone on the basis of their work. The main question she asked all of them was why were the prostitutes not the target of discrimination when providing services but are seen as bad people when it comes to respecting them. She met the Prime Minister of India then, Jawaharlal Nehru, and made him understand the problems they are facing. She requested him to stop moving from the brothel and legalize prostitution so that they could get respect like the others in society.
Gangubai’s plea to legalize prostitution was not accepted by the government but the moving of the brothel was stopped. Kamathipura was also saved from being vacated. Gangubai continued to fight for the rights of all prostitutes.
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All About The Movie: Gangubai Kathiawadi
Sanjay Leela Bhansali inspired by the story of Gangubai Harjeevandas which was mentioned in the book Mafia Queens of Mumbai: Stories of women from the Ganglands, written by S. Hussain Zaidi, decided to make a biographical movie on her life. The film was a hit in the theatres and was loved by the audience. The film is produced by Jayantilal Gada and Sanjay Leela Bhansali and is directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali.
Many actresses like Priyanka Chopra and Rani Mukherjee were selected for the roles but in the end, Alia Bhatt was given the role of Gangubai as both rejected the offer. The movie was released in theatres on February 25, 2022. The viewers and the critics praised the work of the cast and crew of the film.
Alia Bhatt played the role of Gangubai Kathiawadi in the movie. Ajay Devgan was seen as Don Rahim Lala, an underworld don. Rahim Lala is a character based on Karim Lala, an underworld don of Bombay in the 1960s. Shantanu Maheshwari, a famous choreographer played the role of Afsaan Badr-ur-Razzaq. Varun Kapoor was seen as Ramnik Lal, Gangubai’s husband who sold her to the brothel.
The speech given at the end of the movie at Azad Maidan was the highlight of the movie. The scene was so moving with Alia’s acting at its best. Many had thought that the chirpy and cute Alia Bhatt could not play the role of the bold and fierce Gangubai, but she easily proved everyone wrong with her tremendous acting skills.
Gangubai Kathiawadi has an overall rating of 7 on IMDb and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes with 80% of the people liking the movie on Google. You can watch the movie online on Netflix.
Gangubai Kathiawadi: Frequently Asked Questions
Gangubai Kathiawadi was a sex worker.
Gangubai was sold at the brothel at the age of 16.
Gangubai died in the year 2008.
The reason for the death of Gangubai is cardiac arrest.
Gangubai Kathiawadi’s real name is Gangubai Harjeevandas.
Gangubai’s husband’s name is Ramnik Lal.
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