Gangubai Kathiyawadi Film Review: ‘
Review by: Mayur Patel
The business of prostitution. The world’s oldest business. Films based on this business which are widespread in every corner of the world are being made in Bollywood. On this topic Shyam Benegal made a good movie ‘Mandi’ staring of Smita Patil-Shaba in 1954 In 2019, her poor replacement Vidya Balan-Gauhar Khan starrered in ‘Begum Jan’ came, who was absolutely lifeless. ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’ directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali has happened on a similar topic and setup.
Those who do not know should know that ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’ is a true story film. A woman named Gangubai had really thought on this earth. Bhansali Saheb has crushed the life story of the original Gangubai, who is considered as the Mafia queen of Mumbai’s infamous Chaklabazar.
There is nothing special new in the film in the view of storytelling, because the same thing happened with Gangubai which happens to every young woman forced in the business of Jishmafaroshi. Money hungry lover who used to run away from home by showing moon-stars… The scared girl who was taken to a big city and sold on a brothel… Anaka of doing business… Cattle of the cattle… Hunger and thirst… And ultimately a settlement with the situation… That’s it, that old story, repeated again after teaching…
Based on Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’, ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’ also has the same thing, which we have already seen somewhere else. Two special incidents happened in Gangubai’s life. One, he fought against the administration for the existence of four thousand women in Kamathipura and second, during his efforts he met India’s Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru..! If you want strong aspects of ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’ telling the story of Gangubai who has lived differently…
The production of the film is grand. If it is a Bhansali film, then there is nothing to say about it. A large set of Kamathipura made awesome. Getup of characters, fashion is like that of the 1970s. Cars of that time, horse cart, smoke fire, single screen theaters… Everything is perfect. Bhansali’s films normally full of furious colors, in this film colors are blurred, dulls are kept. (And overall tone slightly sepia) matching the dark life of prostitutes. I like it.
The actors are blooming in the films of Bhansali Sir, who has the ability to get acting done from stone. Here Alia-Asam-Bhatt has got an opportunity to give a great performance. Almost every frame of the film has her, and Jeev has acted in it. Also, one thing khatki and the whole movie khatki, and that is, his slim body doesn’t seem to fit his character. Will the body of Gangubai, the owner of Kamathipura be such a dumb? Even after fifteen years it is not filled even a little? No ribs on the face too? I don’t know how this stupid Alia hits higher-strong men than him, he can’t digest at all. Kangana resorted to prosthetics to show middle aged Jayalalita in ‘Thalaivi’, something similar was needed to be tried on Kasab Alia as well, then it would have been great. Despite Alia’s unparalleled acting, during the whole movie, I felt like Kaaaaaash…
Priyanka Chopra would have played the role of Gangubai. (Bhansali’s original choice for this role was PC, but she did not accept the film since she was married to Pinkudi at the time when this film was offered. ) Alia’s body-structure is so small, so fragile that it cannot be powerful as Gangubai. The rof-ruab-dhak as a barn owner could not accumulate. He did not come out that he wanted a character. Priyanka would have taken this role to a different height. Huma Qureshi comes enough to sing a qawwali in the film. Looking at her, it feels like Ai Gangu would have been more jammed than Alia. In the whole movie, Alia seems to be young alike, that is the biggest debt of this character.
Speaking of the rest of the artists… Ajay Devgan as Rahim Lala seems so impressive, but on his part ‘ohohoho… There are no scenes to be played that will be done. Everytime he hits the screen there’s a hope that something solid is going to happen right now, these guys are going to do something banging right now, but re luck.. Ajjubhai keeps roaming in the whole film without boiling anything special. Seema Pahwa and Indira Tiwari both took top class. Vijay Raaz strong as eunuch Raziabai, but his role needs a little more weight. Jim Sarbha seemed to have worked just because it was a Bhansali film, otherwise he also did not get any special opportunity.
A breeze of sweet air… Liked Shanti Maheshwari in a role like. The color of romance on the Gangu due to the cute-sweet boy suddenly came in the life of a persecuted woman of the age, is full track of fun.
Some scenes that show the magic touch of Bhansali are very good. Scene of playing cards between Gangu and Afshan (Shantanu)… Ganguna blouse measurement taken by Afshan… Phone-conversation between Gangu and his mother… SubhanAllah..! The scene of Gangu’s speech in Azad ground in climax is also number one. The real highlight of the movie. Long-long scenes with one tech shots filmed in any way.
Now, the question of lakh rupees is whether this ‘Gangubai Kathiyawadi’ comes in the weigh of Sanjay Bhansali’s previous films? The clear answer is – no. Despite all the fun, this film could not be of ‘Bhansali-level’. There are many scenes that have become common in the making of wow. The big lap in the cot is that, despite many injustice done to the prostitutes, their pain cannot touch the spectator. In the climax, by glorifying the character of Gangu, it not digested. Two and a half hour long film makes us tired, and then roaming around in Kamathipura itself, this is eyebrows.
(Bhansali’s ‘Savariya’ is the most disturbed dialogues that five out of five stars have to be given, I wish that much hard work was done in the script. Music matches with the mood and timeline of the movie. Remember, feel like singing, there is no such thing, but there are songs that can be seen and heard in the film. There are two garba, both of them’s choreography is fun, but they seemed bow-less as they had seen it in Bhansali’s movies earlier. After many years, got to enjoy Qawwali on film screen. Liked it. Alas, the most energetic song of the movie sung by Usha Uthup is ‘bye bye Gangubai… Not even put in the film.
In total, if you are a diehard fan of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s craftsmanship like me, this film will disappoint you. In conclusion, Original Gangubai ruled Kamathipura in his time, but his hope is that this cinematic avatar will rule the box office is blurred. 4 out of five stars from me.
By Mayur Patel