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Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi to be screened at 72nd Berlin International Film festival

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi to be screened at 72nd Berlin International Film festival

A Story by Jasmine Kaur


Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s “Gangubai Kathiawadi” starring Alia Bhatt is set to have its world premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival next year and the filmmaker said he is honoured to showcase his movie at the festival. Its organizers announced that Bhansali’s movie is the sole Indian selection and one of the four films confirmed for the Berlinale Special Gala, a segment which is dedicated to showcase exemplary cinema. Berlin International Film Festival, one of the world’s largest public film festivals and an indispensable forum for the global film community, will be held from February 10 to February 20, 2022.

“Gangubai Kathiawadi” is a crime-drama, adapted from one of the chapters of noted author Hussain Zaidi’s book, “Mafia Queens of Mumbai”. The magnum opus features Bhatt in the title role of Gangubai, one of the most powerful, loved and respected madams from Kamathipura during the 1960s.

After the 2019 musical drama “Gully Boy”, the upcoming film marks Bhatt’s second outing at the Berlinale. Bhansali, who completed 25 years in the world of cinema in 2021, said “GangubaiKathiawadi” is a special film for him.


“The story of ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ has been very close to my heart and me and my team have given it all to make this dream possible. We take pride and honor in showcasing our film at the prestigious Berlin International Film Festival,” the 58-year-old director said in a statement.

JayantilalGada of Pen Studios, who is producing the movie alongside Bhansali Productions, said the team is immensely elated with their film being presented at the upcoming prestigious festival.

“I believe in Mr. Bhansali and his craft and I am proud to associate with him. Alia has given a great performance and I am thankful to Ajay Devgn too for being a part of this project. It’s a story that will engage and appeal to global audiences,” Gada added.

The Berlinale and its artistic director Carlo Chatrian are delighted to present the world premiere of “GangubaiKathiawadi” at the gala and continue the tradition of the festival being a special setting for Indian films.

The film combines the usual craft of shaping camera movement and the choreography of bodies with a subject that is socially relevant, not just in India. “The story of Gangubai, an exceptional woman caught up in exceptional circumstances, captivated us from the beginning,” Chatrian said.

The film also stars Seema Pahwa and has cameo appearances by Ajay Devgn and Huma Qureshi. “GangubaiKathiawadi” is set for release in the theaters on February 18 next year, produced by Bhansali and Gada.

As indicated in the Berlinale Special website, other films in the line-up are: “Against the Ice”, “* propos de Joan (About Joan)”, and “Der Passfälscher (The Forger).

“The pandemic has caused distances – not only between individuals, but also between the way we see the world. The selection for 2022 features films shot during the pandemic, reflecting on how it feels to be cut off from the rest of the world. With this first batch of films, we want to highlight the power of cinema as a tool to connect people, places, and times,” Chatrian said.


GangubaiKathiawadi is an upcoming Hindi-language biographical crime drama directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and produced by JayantilalGada and Sanjay Leela Bhansali. The film stars Alia Bhatt while Vijay Raaz, Indira Tiwari and Seema Pahwa play pivotal roles; Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi are featured in an extended cameo appearance. As the narrative unfolds, we follow the life of a young girl named Ganga who becomes Gangubai in no time – a madam in the red-light district of Kamathipura. The film is scheduled to be released in Hindi and dubbed in Telugu.

The film is loosely based on a true story, on the book Mafia Queens of Mumbai written by S. Hussain Zaidi. The film depicts the rise of a simple girl from Kathiawad who had no choice but to embrace the ways of destiny and swing it in her favour. On 18 February 2022, the film will have its world premiere at the 72nd Berlin International Film Festival, which will be held from 10 to 20 February 2022.