Gangubai Kathiawadi Review: Bhansali’s stunning sets, Alia Bhatt’s flawless acting & everything between them!

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The film opens in modern-day Kamathipura before flashing back to Ganga (Alia Bhatt), who is duped into leaving her little hamlet on the false promise of becoming an actress. Madam Sheela (Seema Pahwa) sells her to a harem and forces her to learn the tricks of the profession against her will. When Gangu seeks solace in the arms of a local mafia boss, Karim Lala (Ajay Devgn), the images representing her innocence and vulnerability quickly degenerate to scenes of violence and rape. When Ganga, with Lala’s guidance, transforms into Gangubai, a lady who embraces her destiny and makes peace with her illusive past, it is a major turning point in the film.

The story is divided into two parts. While the first half of the film depicts Gangubai’s rise from being a barrister’s daughter Ganga who was forced into the sex trade and how she became Gangu with her fair share of bruises and scars, the second half depicts her as a ‘gharwali’ (madame of a brothel) and eventually running for president of Kamathipura in elections.

Technical Departments:

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi, based on portions from Hussain Zaidi’s novel Mafia Queens of Mumbai, develops its own world that is filthy, violent, and irresponsible while nevertheless bursting with emotions. Bhansali ensures that the lanes of Kamathipura, one of Mumbai’s oldest red-light districts, are captured in the most lavish way possible. Young girls who have landed here against their will decorate the streets because they have accepted their fate and have nowhere else to go.

The cinematography of Sudeep Chatterjee is excellent, and the Kamathipura set images are nicely caught. The production design by Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray is both attractive and realistic. Sheetal Iqbal Sharma’s clothes are beautiful, especially Alia’s white sarees. VFX is fantastic.


In Gangubai, the performances are outstanding. Alia Bhatt should be commended for tackling a role that is far beyond her abilities. She kills it in the second half with her long speeches and her inebriated outburst sequence, both of which show a completely different side of her. Her performance isn’t flawless; she slips in a couple situations, but that is what makes Gangubai authentic. The film does, however, have its share of flaws.

Ajay Devgn’s performance as Lala is spectacular, and his entrance scene is sure to elicit applause from the audience. Ajay’s capacity to empathise with Gangu makes him a crucial character in her journey. Vijay Raaz portrays Raziabai with grace, but every time he enters the frame, he instils anxiety in the audience. In the confrontation sequences with Gangu, you can’t take your gaze away from him. Jim Sarbh and Shantanu Maheshwari will win your hearts with their innocence.


Gangubai Kathiawadi has a completely different sound than Bhansali’s previous albums. It’s both self-indulgent and risky. The choreography is just incredible. SLB creates music videos unlike anyone else. Every beat has a certain significance and a specific moment.


Gangubai Kathiawadi delivers everything, from Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s delicate emotions to Alia Bhatt’s flawless acting.

Gangubai Kathiawadi












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