'Gangubai Kathiawadi' gears up for a February 25 release; here are 8 unknown facts

With third wave on the wane, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' is gearing up for 25 Feb release. Here are some unknown facts about Bhansali’s 10th film

'Gangubai Kathiawadi' gears up for a February 25 release; here are 8 unknown facts

Subhash K Jha/IANS

With the third wave on the wane Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi is gearing up for a 25 February release. Here are unknown facts about Bhansali’s 10th, and according to him, his best work to date.

1. Gangubai Kathiawadi(GK) is based on a crime story from S Hussain Zaidi’s Mafia Queens Of Bombay. Bhansali bought the rights of the story based on the life and crimes of female gangster Gangubai Kothewali, the dreaded female crime lord who is known as ‘The Madame Of Kamathipura’, while Vishal Bhardwaj bought the rights to the story on another female gangster. Bhardwaj wanted to make a film based on Zaidi’s account of Ashraf Khan alias Sapna, the gangster whose only mission in life is to eliminate her husband’s killer Dawood.

2. Bhardwaj’s Sapna Bhabhi with Deepika Padukone in the eponymous role was shelved. Deepika was very keen to play Gangubai Kathiawadi(GK). Having worked in three spectacularly successful films with Bhansali she thought doing his next film would be a breeze. But Bhansali decided against casting Padukone for this very reason: he wanted a break.

3. Bhansali has on several occasions told me GK is his best work to date. It gave him a chance to walk down memory lane, stroll again in those lanes, by lanes and roads of Kamathipura where he spent his childhood. In fact the film was shot two streets away from where Bhansali lived during his growing years.

4. Alia Bhatt who desperately needs a hit after her two super-disasters Kalank (produced by her foster-father Karan Johar) and Sadak 2 (directed by her biological father Mahesh Bhatt)—has given the performance of her lifetime in GK. There are two key meltdown sequences where Bhansali had made Alia pull out all stops. No glycerine used. None needed. A National award is predicted for Alia.

5. Though GK is extremely violent at heart there is no visual violence in the film. No shootouts, no gunfights, no blood baths. Alia’s Gangubai doesn’t fire one bullet. She doesn’t need it. Her eyes fire all the salvos.

6. TV star Shantanu Maheshwari who plays Alia Bhatt’s romantic lead actually has a negative role. He plays Gangubai’s boyfriend from her teen years when she was not Gangubai but an innocent village girl whom her boyfriend seduces and then sells to a brothel. Maheshwari didn’t hesitate for a second before saying yes to the grey role. His logic was, for a Bhansali film he would do anything.

7. The other big surprise of GK is Ajay Devgan. In an extended guest appearance as gangster Karim Lala, Devgan blows the screen to bits with his implosive histrionics. This is his most accomplished performance since Bhansali’s Hum…Dil De Chuke Sanam. The star-director were supposed to come together for Bajirao Mastani. But Devgan was already committed to do a similar character in Tanhaji.

8. Huma Qureshi’s item song is composed by the director Bhansali himself. Huma’s dancing skills will be the talk of the town. So impressed was the director by Huma’s dedication and dancing skills that he signed her as one of the protagonists in his web series Heeramandi for Netflix. But that’s another story.

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