Matriarch of Kamathipura: The Story of Real Gangubai Kathiawadi

All you need to know about Gangubai Kathiawadi, the woman Alia Bhatt plays in Sanjay Leela Bhansali's next film.

Updated
Bollywood
1 min read

It's the first time Alia Bhatt is collaborating with Sanjay Leela Bhansali for a story on one of the Mafia Queens of Bombay. Alia plays the titular role of Gangubai Kathiawadi, inspired by her life.

Gangubai became one of the most famous women in Mumbai in the 60s. Forced into prostitution when she was only 16, Gangubai reportedly developed connections with people from the underworld. She was known to get the seths to loosen the strings of their purses and soon came to dominate the brothels of Kamathipura in Mumbai.

Karim Lala was an underworld don who operated liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets from the sixties to the early eighties. One of his men reportedly raped Gangubai brutally and she went to Lala to demand justice. She ended up becoming Karim Lala's 'rakhi sister'.

He handed over the reigns of Kamathipura to Gangubai and she famously came to be known as the Mafia Queen. She went on to operate a sex racket in Hera Mandi red light district and owned a brothel in Mumbai's Kamathipura.

In a speech, Gangubai said that sex workers are responsible for the overall safety of women in Mumbai and help keep sexual assault in check. Sex workers should be recognised and rewarded for their labour, and every city should have special zones for them, she had said.

Watch the video to find out more.

Video Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan

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