All You Need to Know About the Real Gangubai Kathiawadi

The fascinating life story of a woman who was sold to a brothel by her lover.

1 min read

Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, the teaser of Alia Bhatt-starrer Gangubai Kathiawadi dropped on 24 February. Bhatt is garnering praises for her performance, and here's all you need to know about the real Gangubai.


As per Hussain Zaidi's 'Mafia Queens of Mumbai', Gangubai eloped with her father's accountant at the age of 16. They came to Mumbai and settled down.

He sold her for Rs 500 and she was forced to become a sex worker.

Gangubai wanted to act  a in Bollywood films, which brought her to the big city.

After the days of misery ended, Gangubai made a name for herself in the brothel business and was known to earn a lot of money from the seths then.

Hussain's book mentions how Gangubai made strong connections with the underworld. She was brutally raped by a member of Karim Lala's gang. Karim Lala was an underworld don who operated liquor dens, gambling and extortion rackets from the sixties to the early eighties.

The fascinating life story of a woman who was sold to a brothel by her lover.

Karim Lala. 


Gangubai went to Karim Lala for justice and ended up becoming his 'rakhi sister'. 

After the incident, Karim Lala 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.


Gangubai never kept a girl against her consent in her brothel. 

She dedicated a large part of her life to the betterment of sex workers in Kamathipura.

She became affluent enough to wear a saree with golden borders and blouse with buttons of gold. She was the only woman in the brothel to ride a black Bentley.


She even made a powerful speech asking Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru to address the issues of sex workers and prostitution.

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