Like many of his earlier movies, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new movie – Gangubai Kathiawadi is inspired by a strong & rebellious woman – Gangubai. Alia Bhatt will be seen in the lead role in the movie.
Recently, when Alia Bhatt released the trailer of her next upcoming movie Gangubai Kathiawadi, it made many curious to know about Gangubai Kathiawadi. Gangubai shattered all the social norms to become one of the most powerful names in Mumbai. Here’s her story.
Gangubai Kathiawadi’s real name was Ganga Harjivandas Kathiawadi. Born in a family of lawyers, she belonged to Kathiwad, Gujarat. She was captivated by Mumbai’s movie industry so much that she wanted to become an actress since her childhood.
At the young age of 16, she fell in love with her father’s accountant and fled to the city of dreams – Mumbai. But hardly she knew her dreams were about to shatter her for life. Her husband cheated her and sold her to a brothel for just five hundred rupees in the red-light area, Kamatipura.
After weeks of crying, this young girl realized that she had no place to go and decided to stay back. But rather than giving up as a victim of circumstances, she chose to be the woman of spirit.
Soon she became the most famous sex worker for whom many rich people would queue up to spend time with her.
But things turned ugly when a Pathan raped her brutally leaving her invalid for days. As per Journalist Hussain Zaidi’s book ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’, the brave and courageous Gangubai decided to avenge herself.
Hence, she decided to meet the Pathan’s boss after his Friday prayers. His boss was none other than the Mafia don Karim Lala. Gangubai tied rakhi to Karim Lala and made her brother and demanded justice.
Not only did Karim Lala mercilessly beat up the accused but also warned everyone against ill-treating his ‘rakhi sister’. Being the sister of Karim Lala, Kamathipura’s command soon fell into the hands of Gangubai.
It is said that Gangubai did not keep any girl in her room without her consent. Her rise to the top was meteoric as she developed contacts with police and other key people with power. During her reign, the red-light area was one of the most prosperous lanes as it had rich and powerful clients along with a steady stream of earnings from the underworld.
Would you make me Mrs. Nehru?
Along with making money, she also advocated the cause of her kind in society. During an event, Gangubai took the stage at a woman empowerment summit amidst social workers and NGOs to advocate the need for prostitution belts in cities.
Her speech was not only appreciated by activists but also by our then Prime Minister – Jawaharlal Nehru. He was so much impressed by her proposal to protect the red-light area that he asked why she ended up in this business when she could have found a nice husband.
To this, she quickly asked him if he would marry her. As Nehru was left red-faced, she went on to say, “It is very easy to preach but tough to practice.”
Wrapped in the crisp white saree with a Rupee-sized bindi on her forehead, Gangubai was the Queen of Kamatipura, who would step out of a Bentley with gold-rimmed glasses.
Gangubai carries multiple shades as she turned into a white knight for those in need while doing everything that it took to run her business of sex. And, she made sure that she inspires many to live their lives as Queens, not as a victim of circumstances!