The family of Gangubai Harjivandas, the subject of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s new movie, “Gangubai Kathiawadi” has sought a stay on the release of the said film, which will be hitting theatres on 25 February.

According to the attorney handling the case representing Gangubai’s children, they were unhappy that the movie has portrayed their mother as a prostitute instead of the social activist that she was. Gangubai had four adopted children.

“Even the son of a prostitute won’t want that. It is just for the sake of money; it assassinates the character of a person. It is not a matter of mother and son; it is a matter of respect and dignity for every woman. No woman would want to be portrayed in such a nude and obscene manner. Even if we believe what Hussain Zaidi wrote in his book, he said Gangubai never wanted to become a prostitute. Would that woman then, want to be portrayed as a prostitute?”

“She was a social worker and her family informed me that Morarji Desai, Jawahar Lal Nehru, and Atal Bihari Vajpayee used to visit her home during elections because she was a renowned face in Kamathipura at that point. She fought for the rights of prostitutes,” he added.

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Alia Bhatt plays the titular role of Gangubai

It is noted that Gangubai’s adopted son Babu Raoji Shah filed a petition last year, but the Bombay High Court refused to stay the release of the film. They have also filed a defamation lawsuit against the film.  

“My mother was made a prostitute in the movie. Now people are talking about her in other ways. These things are forcing a lot of stress in our family,” said Babu Raoji.

The upcoming movie stars Alia Bhatt as the titular character, based on the book “Mafia Queens of Mumbai” by S. Hussain Zaidi. The film tells the story of a Kathiawadi girl who was sold to a brothel and forced into prostitution, and later came to be known as the mafia woman and madam of a brothel in the Kamathipura area. Later in life, she seeks to improve the living conditions of prostitutes.

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The film recently premiered at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival
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Alia Bhatt at the world premiere of the film in Berlin on 17 Feb 2022