The world of Sanjay Leela Bhansali is filled with both grandeur and grit. His next film, Gangubai Kathiawadi, also ticks both the boxes. We see Alia Bhatt in what seems to be her most ambitious and audacious role yet. This also seems to be her most heroic moment on the screen, where she chews up the scenery and delivers delicious one-liners.

This eponymous character was sucked into the world of Mumbai’s Kamathipura and traces her journey as the most dreaded woman who could be everyone’s worst nightmare.

It was one deceit by her husband that smashed her life to miseries. Not to pity her fate, she used her sorrows to transform into an inspirational and powerful woman. The film is based on Hussain Zaidi’s book, Mafia Queens of Mumbai. This may not be a love saga like Bhansali’s last films but the one thread that binds all his pieces together is pain and agony. And Bhatt, who seems to have channeled this anguish with her characters in Highway, Raazi, and Dear Zindagi, seems to be an apt choice.

Bhansali, who is known for mounting grand dance numbers like Dola re dola (Devdas, 2002), Pinga (Bajirao Mastani, 2015) and Ghoomar (Padmaavat, 2018), has saved the best for the last.

Come third week of February, the director will film two songs with his leading lady before calling it a wrap on the project. “Alia has been given a fortnight’s break; she is utilising the time to rehearse for the two tracks. One of them is a typical Bhansali number, envisioned on a lavish scale, complete with 200 background dancers,” reveals a source. The tracks will be picturised on the set, a replica of Kamathipura, which was built at Film City in Goregaon for the movie. The source adds, “The unit had filmed a song last year before the lockdown was imposed. On resuming work in October, Sanjay sir decided to finish the sequences before he could turn his attention to the song-and-dance routines.”


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Richa Sharma

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