Gangubai Kathiawadi first look: Alia Bhatt will pierce your soul as a gun-wielding brothel owner. Who was Gangubai?

Updated on Aug 25, 2020 09:55 PM IST

Gangubai Kathiawadi first look shows Alia Bhatt in a powerful role of a brother owner and matriarch. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali film will release on September 11 this year.

Gangubai Kathiawadi first look presents Alia Bhatt as the madam of Kamathipura.
Gangubai Kathiawadi first look presents Alia Bhatt as the madam of Kamathipura.
Hindustan Times | By

Alia Bhatt shared the first look in and as Gangubai Kathiawadi on social media on Wednesday. The actor plays the woman often called the ‘madam of Kamathipura’ in Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.

The two photos show Alia’s transition from a young girl into a hardened brothel owner. She introduced two posters of the film on Instagram, with the caption, “Here she is, Gangubai Kathiawadi.”

While one poster is a monochrome closeup of her face with a big red bindi on her forehead, another is a long shot of her as she sits in a blouse and skirt, a bindi on her forehead, hair plaits with a pistol placed on a table besides her.

Alia Bhatt’s look from Gangubai Kathiawadi.
Alia Bhatt’s look from Gangubai Kathiawadi.

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Bhansali Productions unveiled her look on social media with the caption, “Strength. Power. Fear! One look, a thousand emotions. Presenting the first look of #GangubaiKathiawadi. In cinemas 11 September 2020. @aliaa08 #SanjayLeelaBhansali @prerna982 @jayantilalgada @PenMovies.”


Ahead of its first look release, Alia Bhatt on Tuesday shared a glimpse of her upcoming biopic. The 26-year-old actor shared a glimpse of the film’s title and wrote Gangubai in the caption along with a heart emoji. In the short video, one can see a red dot along with the title ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’.


Earlier, Alia shared the news of getting the lead role in the film on her Twitter handle and wrote, “A name you’ve heard a story you haven’t. #GangubaiKathiawadi This one’s going to be special!! Directed by #SanjayLeelaBhansali, releasing 11 September 2020.”

This project will see Bhansali Productions collaborating with Jayantilal Gada’s Pen India Ltd. The film is based on Hussain Zaidi’s book Mafia Queens of Mumbai. The story revolves around Gangubai Kothewali, a brothel owner and matriarch.

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Earlier, a report in Mid-Day had quoted a source as saying, “Alia’s paternal grandfather Nanabhai Bhatt was a Gujarati Brahmin who hailed from Kathiawad. But Alia is not familiar with the dialect as it is rarely used outside of the pocket in Gujarat. Since the filmmaker is meticulous in his prep, he wants a tutor who is fluent in the dialect. Bhansali has reached out to some of Mumbai’s famous Gujarati theatre personalities, including actors Manoj Joshi and Supriya Pathak, to help him in his search. The film will be shot simultaneously as she undertakes the month-long diction class. The dialect has a strong Sindh influence as the region was inhabited by the Kathis and Rajputs from present-day Rajasthan and Sindh.”

Who was Gangubai Kathiwadi?

Called Gangubai Kathewali, the matriarch of Kamathipura in the 60s, a young woman betrayed into prostitution who turned into one of its biggest champions — and wealthiest benefactors — but retained a soft spot for young women forced into the trade.

According to S Hussain Zaidi’s book Mafia Queens of Mumbai, Ganga Harjivandas Kathiwadia eloped with her father’s accountant at the age of 16 and settled in Mumbai. However, the wedding was a fraud and her husband sold her into prostitution. She was raped by a member of don Karim Lala’s gang; she fought back and got to meet the don. Impressed by her spirit, the don made her his sister. She went on to run a brothel in Kamathipura

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