HomeEntertainmentGangubai Kathiawadi: Kamathipura residents file plea to delete name

Gangubai Kathiawadi: Kamathipura residents file plea to delete name

Mumbai: Residents of south Mumbai’s Kamathipura area, widely considered one of India’s largest red light districts, have filed a petition in Bombay High Court seeking the deletion of the name Kamathipura from director Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s soon-to-release film Gangubai Kathiawadi, starring Alia Bhatt.

The plea suggests that the film, due for release on February 25, defames the entire area as a “red light area” and “all women living there as prostitutes”. The court will hear the plea on Wednesday.

A keenly awaited film, widely acclaimed at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival where it premiered on February 16, Gangubai Kathiawadi has been produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada (Pen Studios). Besides Alia as the eponymous protagonist, the film also stars Shantanu Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Indira Tiwari and Seema Pahwa in pivotal roles, with Ajay Devgn featuring in an extended cameo.

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The narrative takes the viewer through the life of young Ganga, who in no time marks her own territory and becomes Gangubai, a feared brothel owner in the red light area of Kamathipura. The film is loosely based on the true story of Gangubai Harjivandas, whose life was documented in the 2011 book Mafia Queens of Mumbai written by veteran journalist S. Hussain Zaidi. Among Zaidi’s other works is the book Black Friday, which was made into a film by Anurag Kashyap in 2004.

The film depicts the rise of the simple girl from Kathiawad in Gujarat, who had no choice but to embrace the ways of destiny and swing it in her favour. Born in 1939, Gangubai was sold into prostitution at a young age by her suitor Ramnik Lal, after running away from home to Mumbai. She eventually came to be known for being an influential madam in the city’s prostitution circuit with strong connections to the drug mafia, and was even known to order killings. Later in life, she met then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru to discuss the plight of sex workers and ways to improve their living conditions. Gangubai died in 2008.


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