Kamathipura is Mumbai’s Red Light Area and has been that since time immemorial. If you were born and have lived in Mumbai like I have, there is just no way that you will not come to hear about it. It is also located in such a place that many people pass it while on their way to and from places of work or on other errands.
Despite my association with Mumbai since my birth and having lived there the longest before I put down roots in Pune, I had never heard about Gangubai and this movie forced me to go back in history and read about her.
Seeing the movie, was a mind blowing experience for me for its accuracy with period costumes, vehicles, trains, train compartments etc and I kept going back down memory lane on many occasions.
The story about the Mafia Queen as she was once called, who strove to ensure safety and dignity for the sex workers of Kamathipura is in itself another remarkable lesson in history for me. Seeing her come alive through the excellent acting of Alia Bhat under excellent direction of Sanjay Leela Bhansali is something that I will not forget very soon.
I had not been to a movie since well before the onset of Covid and sitting through this one has been another landmark achievement as it were.
I am grateful to my DIL for having persuaded me to see it and to my son for sharing the experience with both of us.
I urge my Indian readers to see it if they have not already seen it and my overseas readers to see it too as I am advised that it has been released overseas with English sub-titles.
It has been a long time since I reviewed a movie in my blog and it gives me great pleasure to give this a rating of four and a half stars.
Some friends had highly praised Alia Bhatt‘s performance in this film and despite not being a great fan of Shah Rukh Khan, I accompanied a friend to watch it before it got taken away from the screens.
I was impressed by Alia Bhatt’s performance. With every movie, she seems to be maturing into a remarkable actor. The last I saw her was in Udta Punjab where I thought her performance to be easily the best in the film despite other heavy weights in bigger roles. In Dear Zindagi, she plays a completely different role with aplomb and I am glad that I went to see her on the recommendation of my friends.
Shah Rukh Khan disappointed me despite playing his real life age for a change. Perhaps someone else like say Anupam Kher would have done better in the role of a counsellor. I guess that the film being a family production, and the subject being rather understated in our society, psychiatry, they decided to add him to the cast for insurance.
The rest of the cast. almost all. play more or less cameo roles, and that is perhaps why the film made such a good impression on me.
A big plus for great direction and cinematography.
Others who saw it with me, were not so impressed with the story line and I over heard them complaining that the technical aspect of counselling left much to be desired, but I think that considering the time constraints, it had to be kept tight and in that process, some sacrifices had to be made.
Two and a half hours of the feature film, ads and intermission taking the total to almost three hours in the theatre and commuting time added, the three and a half hours spent on it was worth while.
I recommend it to those who have not seen it already.