The weekend biggie is here and so is our review. And I have just finished watching the new Sanjay Leela Bhansali film Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt. The film has also premiered at the grand Berlin film festival. Moreover, I am a Bhansali fan simply for his vision. Be it the lavish sets or the poetry in motion onscreen or extracting some real and heartfelt performances, the man is known for it all. So his films are best enjoyed in a theatre on the biggest screen possible. Also a filmmaker who seems to have struck a correct balance between arts and commerce, his latest offering is something I would have least expected in his filmography. So this indeed was a risky proposition, does Gangubai Kathiawadi manage to impress, stay tuned.
Story & Screenplay
Based on the Novel Mafia Queens Of Mumbai by Hussain Zaidi, Gangubai Kathiawadi follows the story of a young Ganga who by a strange turn of events lands up at a brothel only to become a powerful mafia and a protector of her area. The story is hard-hitting yet the route which it takes isn’t entirely a sympathetic one. It is in fact an unapologetic celebration of the women of Kamathipura. And the story is engrossing. The screenplay standing at more than 150 minutes might seem daunting for a film which in its crux has a one-liner story but this is where the genius of Bhansali kicks in. He is able to weave a story out of a string of events which seems the rise of an unlikely protagonist. So you do get a glimpse of the life which she leads but also dollops of her persona early on itself. The events are interesting and they would definitely keep you invested throughout even though the story seems to be spread a little too thin in the middle.
The love story of the protagonist is a nice little subplot in the film. It is intimate yet very poetic. Some of the social issues which are addressed here including the children of the women at Kamathipura gaining education is relevant and it is heartening that these topics are being discussed as well. The drama is in its true sense grand which ends on a goosebumps worthy note. The screenplay is what scores and brilliantly so even when the story seemed to be spread thin.
Dialogues, Music & Direction
The dialogues are sharp and some of the one-liners cater to the front benchers as well. The lines are indeed powerful and impactful but at the same time poetically poignant, typical that of Bhansali. The music is outstanding and I was amazed at the range which it possessed. The BGM was exhilarating and did its bit in enhancing the scenes. The film is technically superior with stunning sets and equally stunning cinematography. The grandeur can truly be enjoyed and appreciated on the big screen. Director Sanjay Leela Bhansali has done a tremendous job here. His vision is impeccable and he is just so much in control of the proceedings throughout that he maintains a grip and just doesn’t let go of it. He stamps his authority in every scene making this a poetic masterpiece.
The performances are quite brilliant here. Ajay Devgn as Rahim Lala is just outstanding in an extended cameo. Jim Sarbh as Faizi is just so endearing and a character which is so affable. Shantanu Maheshwari as Afshan is quietly charming and perhaps my favourite character other than the protagonist. A job done well. Seema Pahwa as Sheila Mausi is outstanding and her smaller nuances are signs of a great actor. Indira Tiwari as Kamli is brilliant and has her moments to shine. Vijay Raaz as Raziabai is absolutely prolific and I really wished to see more of him. But the show belongs to Alia Bhatt who is phenomenal as Gangubai. There was criticism for her as to how a young Alia would be able to pull off such a powerful character. She silences them with a performance for the ages! As Anurag Kashyap mentioned : She is the Bachchan of our age! If ever there is a superstar right now(men included), then it us Alia Bhatt in what is perhaps her best performance of her career. Truly an acting masterclass and how!
Gangubai Kathiawadi is a stunning grandeur of the highest order! Available in a theatre near you and Highly Recommended!
PS : With all due respect, I pity the trolls and the imdb rating!