Starring Alia Bhatt (“Gully Boy”) in the titular role alongside Ajay Devgn (“Tanhaji”), the film is based on the book, “Mafia Queens of Mumbai,” written by S. Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges. It follows the life of young Ganga, who runs away from her small town of Kathiawad to pursue her dreams of becoming a movie star, but her lover betrays her and sells her to a brothel in Bombay’s infamous red-light district, Kamathipura. She gradually transforms into Gangubai, the matriarch of the district. She becomes the voice of the suppressed and makes it her mission to try and legitimize a tainted profession that dates back to ancient times.
“‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is the story of a woman’s fight against the injustices imposed on sex workers. It gives me immense pride that my team and I have portrayed Gangubai’s relentless pursuit for women’s empowerment through this film,” Bhansali told Variety.
Bhansali’s 2002 film “Devdas,” starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit Nene, premiered at Cannes and scored a BAFTA nomination. In 2021, he completed 25 years of filmmaking.
The film is produced by Dr. Jayantilal Gada for Pen Studios and Bhansali for Bhansali productions. “As a production house, it was extremely challenging to shoot during the pandemic. However, we were motivated by the simple fact that Gangubai’s story needs to be told,” Bhansali added. “I am very happy to have the film premiere at the Berlin Film Festival and later in cinemas worldwide. I hope that the release of our trailer gives the audience a glimpse into Gangubai Kathiawadi’s world and inspires them to come watch the film.”
“Gangubai Kathiawadi” will screen on Feb. 16 as one of the festival’s Berlinale Special Galas and will release worldwide on Feb. 25.
Watch the trailer with English subtitles here: