Bollywood films are famous for their dancing and singing scenes. However, not a few of these Indian-produced films have important lessons behind the story. Including Indian movies Gangubai Kathiawadi starring Alia Bhatt.
As the title suggests, this film tells the story of Gangubai Kathiawadi, a social activist, sex worker, and pimp in Kamathipura, India.
Directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, this film tells the struggle of women in a brothel to get their rights as human beings in society. Released in theaters since February, you can watch the film now on Netflix.
Reported from Magdalenehere are some lessons that can be taken from the film Gangubai Kathiawadi.
Related article: 5 Indian Films on Mental Health, Learn to Care for Mental Conditions
4 Lessons Learned from Gangubai Kathiawadi Film
1. Women Must Support Each Other in Any Situation
The story in this film begins with Ganga who is sold by her lover to a brothel, Kamathipura. The woman who aspires to be a movie star has to face the bad fate of being forced to become a sex worker, who has to serve customers every day without taking a day off.
After serving his first customer, he was convinced that one day he could lead Kamathipura. Ganga then changes her name to Gangu, as her new identity has left her naive figure in the past.
In fact, since then he has shown his strength, is no longer afraid of the words and behavior of Tante Sheela (Seema Pahwa)—his pimp at the time, and encourages his friends who work in the brothel to fight together.
Figure Women Empowerment Fighters in the Area of Prostitution
One of the famous lines from the movie Gangubai Kathiawadi is “Five years from now, I will buy a brothel and Sheela”, which Gangubai turns out to be. After Sheela died, she took over Kamathipura and imposed several new regulations that benefited the sex workers.
Some examples are giving sex workers a day off and refusing a number of clients who insist on having sex if the sex worker is reluctant to do so.
2. Indian film Gangubai Kathiawadi also raises issues of structural poverty
One of Kusum’s sex workers (Mitali Jagtap), has a son named Roshni (Vrinda Duvani). Not wanting his son to suffer the same fate as himself, Kusum locked the 15-year-old in an animal cage on the roof of a brothel. This is so that he does not steal the attention of customers and think of him as a sex worker.
Unable to bear to see this, Gangubai even sacrifices his feelings by marrying the man he loves, Afsaan (Shantanu Maheshwari), with Roshni. That way, the girl has a better life, even though she has to get married at a young age.
Gangubai realizes that Roshni is still holy and has hope to build a better future. While he already has a bad reputation as a sex worker, it will definitely be difficult to get married.
3. Underage marriage is considered a way out
Apparently, marrying minors to avoid being plunged into sex work does occur in the real world in India. As happened in Saraniya, a village located in Gujarat, India.
Women there do not have many job options, so prostitution is the only way to survive. Girls aged 10-12 years being forced to become sex workers to help the regional economy are not uncommon.
When Mittal Patel, Secretary of the NGO Vicharta Samuday Samarthan Manch, visited Saraniya, he was introduced to the idea of marriage which could be an option to avoid prostitution. That is why mass weddings are starting to be seen as an effective method in some rural areas of India.
Although the Law on Restricting Child Marriage, passed in 1978, has increased the marriageable age for girls to 18, the reality on the ground is not like that.
There are still many underprivileged children in India, who are still in their early teens, forced into marriage to protect themselves from pimps who “prey” on minors.
Related article: 8 Indian Movies About Single Mom, Difficult Life Makes Them Strong
3. Description of Child Sex Worker Discrimination in Indian Film Gangubai Kathiawadi
Once upon a time, in the film, Gangubai comes to a school with five years of school fees.
The aim is that the children of sex workers in Kamathipura can go to school because they also have the right to an education and have a bright future.
Even though he was rejected by the priest and the nuns at the school, Gangubai, who couldn’t accept the word “no”, continued to insist. Finally the children were allowed to go to school there.
However, what happened? On the first day of school, they were beaten and kicked out by their teachers because the background of these children as descendants of sex workers is a dirty thing. In fact, not a few teachers at teacher schools ask their children the rates for their mother as sex workers.
A study from the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) explains that acts of discrimination like this make the children of sex workers choose to isolate themselves from society and fear the same fate as their mothers.
The abuse of the children of sex workers is also one of the main causes of the high dropout rate. In fact, education is the main foundation to build their lives for the better and free from the scope of prostitution.
Related article: 10 Romantic Indian Movies About Marriage, Not All Have a Happy Ending
4. Allude to Abominations and More and More Necrophilia Cases in India
According to Hellodocnecrophilia is a type of sexual perversion that makes sufferers enjoy having sex with corpses.
India, as one of the most dangerous countries in the world for women, has recorded an increasing number of cases of necrophilia over the past decade.
In one scene in the movie Gangubai Kathiawadi, when Gangubai saw his best friend Kamli (Indira Tiwari) dead, he said “Tie his feet tightly. Men can’t be trusted, even with corpses.”
The lesson that can be drawn from this sentence is that men feel in control of women’s bodies, even though they are dead.
Necrophilia Cases Happening in Real World in India
The most recent case of necrophilia occurred on 5 May 2022 in Gujrat, Pakistan. A man is known to have dug up a teenage girl’s grave and raped her body.
The action was known when relatives visited the grave to carry out religious traditions. They found the teenager’s body lying about 60 meters from the grave and his body showing signs of rape.
While in India, in 2018 a man at Gurugram admitted to raping the bodies of many of the victims he killed, to satisfy his sexual desires. In 2015, three men in Uttar Pradesh removed the body of a woman who died after giving birth and then raped them together.
Sadly, in India acts of necrophilia are simply not seen as vandalism, not sexual assault on someone because corpses are no longer seen as human. So, there are no criminal provisions that can criminalize these crimes, as long as no violations are committed.
Those are some lessons that can be taken from Indian films Gangubai Kathiawadi. If Parents Haven’t watched this film yet, maybe you can watch it together with other female friends, yes. Alia Bhatt’s acting here also deserves thumbs up. Enjoy watching!
6 Inspirational Indian films that are suitable to be watched with children, no. 2 make a flood of tears
These 5 Cool Bollywood Movies Adapted to Hollywood, Have Parents Watched It?
15 Best Indian Movies of All Time, Perfect for Enjoying on the Weekend!