Bollywood star heroine Alia Bhatt’s period drama, Gangubai Kathiawadi being directed by acclaimed filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali has hit the screens today. Let’s see how it fares.
Story: Based on chapters from the book ‘Mafia Queens Of Mumbai, Gangubai Kathiawadi is set in the 1950s time period and showcases the life journey of a girl named Ganga( Alia Bhatt) who comes to Mumbai to become a film heroine but due to unexpected circumstances lands in brothel house. Eventually, she becomes the leading lady of Kamathipura, a red-light area in Mumbai. What kind of hurdles will Ganga go through in the transformation process as Gangubai, forms the main USB of the film.
Performances: Alia Bhatt is cute as a young girl Ganga and her transformation from Ganga to Gangubai is amazing. The entire establishment episodes bring authentic texture to the proceedings. Alia’s outstanding screen presence and brilliant performance is the major highlight of the film.
Ajay Devgn did a commendable job as a local ganglord Rahim Lala, who support Gangubai to gain popularity in her area. Eventually, extends support for Gangubai to win local elections and become a voice of her people.
Small screen actor Shantanu Maheshwari is impressive as Afsan. Jim Sarbh is decent in his role as a journalist who helps Gangu become a national figure.
Vijay Raaz did the given transgender role with so much grace. Other supporting artists are okay in their respective roles.
Technicalities: All the songs in the movie have the Bhansali trademark. Most of them are slow but are soulful. A couple of fast numbers are also well placed in the narrative.
The cinematography by Sudeep Chatterjee is magnificent. The grandeur set work and the Kamathipura premise is brilliantly showcased by the ace photographer. Each and every frame in the film has Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s signature which was nicely captured by Sudeep Chatterjee.
The editing work for this almost three-hour film is good. Production design, set work and making values are rich for this Sanjay Leela Bhansali film.
Analysis: Sanjay Leela Bhansali and his co-writer Utkarshini Vashishtha picked a strong female-centric subject from the 1950s and cooked the proceedings with enough engaging moments. The way Ganga’s character transforms herself as Gangubai is showcased with proper detailing.
The way Gangubai takes care of her people in Kamathipura is presented nicely. For instance, Gangubai taking the young girls in the brothel area to nearby schools and looking after all the needs of the woman in her area are presented with a good emotional drama.
To summarize, Gangubai Kathiawadi is a nicely made biographical drama that has the right amount of emotional content, humour and Sanjay Leela Bansali mark lavish taking. Alia Bhatt shines as Gangubai and the supporting roles done by Ajay Devgn, Shantanu Maheshwari, Jim Sarbh takes the film to next level. Coming to box office prospects, the film will definitely click among the North audience but we have to wait and see how far will our Telugu audience own it.
Verdict: SLB is back!