How Gangubai became the manager of sex workers
Sanjay Leela Bhansali has announced his next film. The name of the film is Gangubai Kathiawadi. The main character in this is Alia Bhatt.
The film is inspired by the life of Gangubai, who ran a ‘brothel’ in Kamathipura, Mumbai in the 1960s. The film is based on a book titled ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ Written by Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges.
Gangubai’s real name was Ganga Harjivandas Kathiawadi. She was born in Kathiawad, Gujarat and grew up there.
‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ co-author S. Hussain Zaidi explains many things about Gangubai.
She used to run the shop. He was cheated and brought into this business. She was from a wealthy family of Kathiawad. Family members were educated and involved in advocacy. Ganga fell in love with an accountant named Ramanikalal. If her family was not ready for this relationship, she fled to Mumbai.
But the man betrayed them and sold them in Kamathipura. She then realized that she could no longer return to her family because her family would not accept her. So she adopted the situation and started working as a sex worker.
She was not a gangster. She was not even a part of the underworld but was in such a business, which was seen with low eyes. As time passed, she became the head of the Kamathipura Red Light area. In this way, she first became ‘Gangoo’ from ‘Ganga’ and ‘Madam’ from Gangoobai.
Gangubai participated in the domestic elections held in Kamathipura and won. Gangubai became Kathewali from Gangu sex worker. Kathewali is actually associated with Kothewali. Kotha means the head of the brothel and the brothel was called Kothewali. The Kathiawadi associated with his name also showed how connected he was to his family.
For sex worker like a mother
In the 1960s and 1970s, Gangubai was well known in Kamathipura. She was like a mother to other sex workers. He ended the influence of ‘Madams’ running the cell.
Gangubai also wore a white fringed sari, golden buttoned blouse, and golden glasses. She used to drive by car.
He was very fond of wearing items made of gold. Her childhood dream was to become an actress. In later years, he remained interested in the film world. He helped send many girls back home who were cheated and sold in brothels.
She was also very alert for the safety of women associated with this work. He raised his voice against the injustice done to those women and also took steps against those who exploited these women.
He was of the view that space should be provided for sex workers in cities. Her speech at the rally organized for women’s empowerment and women’s rights at Azad Maidan in Mumbai was very much discussed.
After the death of Gangubai, many brothels had their pictures installed and their idols were also made.
Karim Lala and Gangubai
Gangubai’s dominance increased further after an incident in Kamathipura. A Pathan misbehaved with Gangubai in a brothel. He tried to force them, hurt them and did not give them money. It kept happening continuously.
Once the situation of hospitalization was created. Then he gathered information about that Pathan. He came to know that this person named Pathan Shaukat Khan belonged to Karim Lala’s gang.
Abdul Karim Khan was known as Karim Lala in the underworld. Gangubai went to Karim Lala and told him everything that was happening to him. Karim Lala promised to give protection to Gangubai.
The next day when Shaukat Khan reached the brothel, he was beaten fiercely. Karim Lala made Gangubai his sister and with this, the dominance of Gangubai increased greatly in this area.
Meeting with Nehru
St. Anthony Girls’ High School started in Kamathipura in the 1960s. There was a voice that the brothel should be closed because the young girls would be badly affected by being around prostitutes.
This decision was going to affect the women working in Kamathipura for almost a century. Gangubai raised her voice against this and put all her strength to take it forward.
With the help of his political acquaintances, he sought time to meet the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Although this meeting was not officially recorded anywhere, S. Husain Zaidi has mentioned this story in his book.
Zaidi wrote in ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’, “Nehru was also surprised by Gangubai‘s reflexes and clear thoughts in this meeting. Nehru asked her why she came into this business when she could get a good job or a good husband. ”
It is said that Gangubai immediately proposed to Nehru in the same meeting. She told Nehru that if she is willing to accept him (Gangubai) as a wife, then she will leave this business forever.
Nehru was stunned by this and disagreed with Gangubai‘s statement. Then Gangubai said, “Prime Minister, don’t be angry. I just wanted to prove my point. It is easy to give advice but it is difficult to adopt it myself. ”Nehru did not say anything against it.
At the end of the meeting, Nehru promised Gangubai that he would heed their demands. When the Prime Minister himself intervened on this, the work of removing prostitutes from Kamathipura could never be done. ”
Sanjay Leela Bhansali is now filming on the life of Gangubai Kathewali. Alia Bhatt will be seen in the role of Gangubai. The first look of the film has been launched.
A. while talking to BBC Hussain Zaidi said, “Bhansali liked the story very much. He felt that this woman’s story should be seen on the big screen. Bhansali has the ability to put a character on the big screen and show it as a reality. People may have read about Gangubai in my book, but now they will be able to see this woman on the big screen. We are all familiar with Alia Bhatt’s performance. She lives the way she plays the character. I think both Alia and Bhansali will do justice to this story. ”
Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s film will be released on 11 September 2020.