Champions at work listen up! Nominations for Women In Corporate Awards 2022 close tomorrow. Nominate yourself today!
Men who come to a sex worker to release their sexual urges have a 'respectable' life of their own, but she transforms into a 'dirty object' the moment she is trapped within the business.
It is not important to know how authentic the source is, of the bio sketch of a sex worker presented in the film Gangubai Kathiawadi, as some critics are questioning it.
The criticism is understandable, as such a film disturbs our ‘honourable society’, when women in the flesh trade start coming out in public to claim their dignity. A society can claim to be ‘civilized’, as long as we don’t hear how our men treat these women in the darkness. However, in a healthy society what matters the most is how much dignity is given to the woman in question, who spends the rest of her life in darkness once forced into the flesh trade.
In the real world, a sex worker is not a topic of public discussion. The men who come to her to release their sexual urges have a ‘respectable’ life of their own. But she transforms into a ‘dirty object’ the moment she is trapped within the business. She remains ‘useful’ as long as her body can sustain, and then disappears from the market and is pushed into further darkness till her last breath.
In this context, Gangubai Kathiawadi directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali gives a ray of hope for a sex worker trapped in this dark world, for she too can fight for her dignity as Gangubai did.
This film is a heart-wrenching journey of a lovestruck young girl who runs away with her lover from her affluent family in Gujarat to reach Mumbai to become a Bollywood heroine, however, lands up in Kamathipura after being sold for Rs.500 by her lover.
It takes some time for her to take a stock of her life, caught with no escape route. But she musters the strength to bounce back to life, taking other sex workers along with her, to lead a life of dignity and self-respect.
Her new journey starts with taking the brothel owner head-on, by declaring Sunday as weekly off, and taking the girls out for a film and eat out. She questions the lady, “Every job has one day weekly off. Our body needs rest too.”
She allows girls to go back home if they want to, but with a word of caution, that no home welcomes a sex worker back. So, she assures them that the doors are open for them to come back if unaccepted outside.
She ties Rakhi to Karim Lala, the local mafia don, to garner his support to protect sex workers from evacuation from the site.
She forces the local school to admit the children of sex workers. When being asked, “What is the father’s name of the child?”, she replies, “Why, mother’s name is not enough?”
Then goes on to win the election to become the president of Kamathipura.
When a girl asks Gangu to help her to write a letter to her family, all the girls echo, “If only we had listened to our parents, not chasing fancy dreams…” Similarly, when Gangu’s best friend dies, the girls reminisce and share the dead girl’s unfulfilled dreams of marriage and family. Then, Gangu’s own budding love life, which she had to sacrifice for the service of her community.
The ultimate point of the film, when Gangubai gives a public speech representing sex workers, holding her head high, with direct eye contact with the audience, she demands her rightful place in public and dignity of life.
It is a film worth watching for everyone – both men and women.
Men should see the painful story behind the sexual object they encounter in red light areas. Women should feel empathy for the beings of the same gender who spend all their lives in darkness, satisfying their dear men. Sex workers too would be inspired to shed the stigma attached to them, demand their space, hold their heads high, and ask for their rights with direct eye contact, as Gangubai did in the film.
Finally, Gangubai Kathiawadi draws our attention to this section of women who are always left in the backyard, away from mainstream debates. Approximately more than two million prostitutes working in the sex trade, without basic dignity of life. So, this oldest profession in human history deserves its moments of recognition, respect and institutional support.
Alia Bhatt as Gangubai steals the show in every frame. She has given a stupendous performance with so much maturity, grace, poise, mannerism and command over dialogue delivery.
The film is based on the book, ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai’ written by Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges. The book narrates Ganga’s journey as a victim of the sex trade till she becomes Gangubai Kathiawadi, the president of Kamathipura. Even after assuming so much power, Gangubai never exploited girls or forced them into prostitution. She worked for the betterment of sex workers.
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views. Individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times. If you have a complementary or differing point of view, sign up and start sharing your views too!
Dr. Jyothi, Assistant Professor of English, Tumkur University. Has been a teacher of English and also soft skills trainer, with special interest in writing poems, articles, short stories and translation both in Kannada and English. read more...
Women's Web is an open platform that publishes a diversity of views, individual posts do not necessarily represent the platform's views and opinions at all times.
Stay updated with our Weekly Newsletter or Daily Summary - or both!
You ask any SATC fan. We all wanted a friendship like the one that the 4 girls shared. A friendship that was a rock. A friendship that seemed to withstand the tests of time and in general, life.
I confess that SATC (Sex and the City) has a special place in my heart. I must have watched the 6 seasons and every single episode at that, countless times. Seriously, there was nothing like sitting back with a glass of wine, a bar of dark chocolate and an episode of SATC, after a hard day at work. It renewed me. Made me laugh.
So much so, that I even ended up going for the special SATC bus tour when I visited New York in 2019.
Now some may call the show frivolous but for me, it was pure, honest entertainment. I was in love with the fashion, the ‘fabulousness’, the fun! And it had its moments as well. Moments that were truly thought-provoking, moments that made its viewers take a good, candid look at their own relationships, particularly their female friendships.
Homeschooling in India is having a moment. As families become increasingly weary of traditional schooling thanks to cookie-cutter policies and high costs, parents are opting for alternate methods of education
Homeschooling in India is having a moment. As families become increasingly weary of traditional schooling thanks to cookie-cutter policies and high costs, parents are opting for alternate methods of education.
Come Monday morning, homes with young families across the country are in a chaotic yet familiar dance. Ceiling fans are turned off, and lights turned on with a vengeance.
Teeth are cleaned, and breakfasts are shovelled down. Uniforms and shoes are thrown on, and heavy school bags are picked up as parents and kids alike make a mad dash for the door.