Why Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi is a modern classic

Celebrating 1 Year of the modern-classic, Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi.

Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Gangubai Kathiadwadi, Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali films, Heera Mandi, Heera Mandi release date, entertainment news
The film also won Sanjay Leela Bhansali his second nomination at the BAFTA Awards after Devdas. (Image/IE)

This birthday of auteur Sanjay Leela Bhansali has truly been a significant one, considering the chatter around how he takes OTT to the next level with ‘Heera Mandi’ his directorial debut on the platform and his blockbuster ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ also completing a year today. While the film was praised for its nuanced performances, something the filmmaker is known to best extract for his actors, it also brought back the glory of enjoying a full-blown visual spectacle that deserved a theatre experience.  

In its theatrical run ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ grossed Rs 153.69 core at the domestic box office and Rs 209.77 globally emerging as a massive commercial success – What made this feat even more remarkable is that the odds were stacked against the film. The most obvious being audiences’ reluctance to watch films in theatres due to the pandemic, the fact that cinema halls saw only 50% occupancy and that Gangubai was headlined by a female star, whose films don’t conventionally perform the same numbers as those driven by their male counterparts.

‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ that completes a year today, depicted 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. A textbook example of a modern-classic complete Bhansali’s signature grandeur, artistic frames and moving storytelling, the film also struck a chord with global audiences not only becoming the first bonafide success during a challenging COVID period but also cementing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s position as a torchbearer for Hindi cinema, at a time the Hindi industry fought hard to get back on its feet.

Such was the global impact that the film made that The Guardian said Gangubai Kathiawadi was one of the potential leading films to frontline this award season and such exposure for Indian cinema merits a special mention as Sanjay Bhansali continued to put Indian cinema on the global map. The film also won Sanjay Leela Bhansali his second nomination at the BAFTA Awards after Devdas.

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First published on: 25-02-2023 at 15:20 IST
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