Actor Alia Bhatt is going to star in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s next Gangubai Kathiawadi, in which she will play the titular role. The movie is based on the life of a brothel owner in Mumbai’s Kamathipura area. The teaser of the film released on Wednesday and it took the social media by a storm. The clip shows Alia Bhatt as Gangubai, who is very powerful controversial woman but a tremendous figure in the 1960s.

In a book written by author and journalist Hussain Zaidi (Mafia Queens of Mumbai), the author has described that Gangubai was a short woman but her respect in her locality was huge. 

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Gangubai was born in the village of Kathiawad in Gujarat, in the 1940’s, and her name was Ganga Harjeevandas. When she was young, she ran away from her home after marrying her family accountant, Ramnik Laal. They both arrived in Mumbai, where Ramnik tricked her and sold her into prostitution for Rs 500, she then gave up her original name and became Gangu from then onwards.

She had a tough start, but she climbed through the ranks with her ties to the underworld. Gangu was considered to have the security of Karim Lala, who is infamous as one of the three gifts of Mumbai. 

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Gangubai initially began as a sex worker in Mumbai’s Kamathipura and went on to own and manage several brothels in the area. She also took on the surname of “Kathewali” (brothel owner) when she won the local gharwali elections to become a brothel head at a young age. The elections were held to determine the ranks amongst the sex workers of Kamathipura.

The author has mentioned in is book that Gangubai was famous for never forcing a woman into becoming a sex worker against her will. She was the only brothel madam who gave priority to women and not money.