Gangubai Kathiawadi Biography: Early Life, Age, Career, Family, Real Story of Mafia Queen, and More

Gangubai Kathiawadi Biography: Her real name was Ganga Harjivandas and she was famous as Mafia Queen Gangubai Kathiawadi. She was born and raised in a renowned family in the Kathiawad region of Gujarat. Take a look at Gangubai's life, career, family, marriage, etc.
Gangubai Kathiawadi Biography
Gangubai Kathiawadi Biography

Gangubai Kathiawadi Biography: The real name of Gangubai Kathiawadi was Ganga Harjivandas. She was a native of Gujarat and was famous as one of the Mafia Queens of Mumbai. She earned a name for herself as one of Mumbai's well-known and influential brothel owners in the 50s and 60s.

She was born and raised in a renowned family in the Kathiawad region of Gujarat. Take a look at Gangubai's life, career, family, marriage, etc.  

Gangubai Kathiawadi: Key Facts

Real Name Ganga Harjivandas
Born 1939 (As per sources)
Place of Birth Kathiawar, British India
(present-day Gujarat, India)
Husband's Name

Ramnik Lal

Other names

Gangubai Kothewali
Gangubai Kathiawadi

Madam of Kamathipura

Famous for

Her movement towards the betterment of sex workers and orphan children.

Her biopic "Gangubai Kathiawadi".

Gangubai Kathiawadi: Marriage, and Early Life

When she was young, her dream was to become a Bollywood actor and she wanted to come to Mumbai to follow her dreams. When she was 16 years old, she fell in love with Ramnik Lal. At that time, she was in college. Ramnik Lal was an accountant for her father. Gangubai ran with Ramnik Lal from Kathiawad and came to Mumbai to settle down and to start a new life.

Information about her is also mentioned in "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" (2011) by Hussain Zaidi. It is an Indian non-fiction criminal novel that has information on the lives of 13 women who influenced Mumbai. It also contains information about Gangubai. According to this, Gangubai belongs to a highly educated family and her dream was to become a Bollywood actor and do films. She fled to Mumbai with Ramnik Lal at the age of 16 and got married. 

Within a few days, her husband deceived her and sold her to a brothel for Rs 500. She started working as a prostitute and her life changed. A new journey for Gangubai started here. 

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Gangubai Kathiawadi: Emerged as one of the "Mafia Queens" of Mumbai

According to Hussain Zaidi's book "Mafia Queens of Mumbai", Gangubai became famous as one of the prominent names in the Mumbai red-light areas known as "Kamathipura". Several underworld mafia people were her clients.

Karim Lala was one of the powerful Mafia faces of the city in the 1960s, and the red light area of Kamathipura was also under his rule. According to the book, Gangubai was raped by one of the members of Karim Lal's gang. So, she went to Lala to seek justice. Later, Gangubai's relationship with Karim Lal took a new turn, and Gangubai made him her brother. She tied a rakhi to his wrist. Karim Lala gave the reign of Kamathipura to his sister Gangubai. As a result, Gangubai became known as one of Mumbai's "Mafia Queens."

Not much information is available about her, but as per sources, she never exploited young girls and women, and neither did she force them into prostitution. She faced lots of hardships in her life but she was clear and determined to work for the betterment of all sex workers. She was like a god woman to the sex workers and orphans. It is said that all the women and children living in Kamathipura were like her own children, and she cared for them like a mother.

She also fought for a movement that was to remove the brothel from Kamathipura. That is why today the people of Kamathipura remember her and the work she did for them. In her memory, a big statue is installed in that area, and pictures of Gangubai still grace the walls of the brothels.

Gangubai Kathiawadi once approached former PM Jawaharlal Nehru

Gangubai once approached the then Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, to discuss the problems faced by sex workers in the country. Also, PM Jawaharlal Nehru approved her proposal to protect the red light areas. She was famous for her style of wearing sarees with broad golden borders and also for wearing a big red bindi on her forehead. She worked immensely for the betterment of the sex workers and orphan children.

'Gangubai Kathiawadi' Movie

Alia Bhatt's 'Gangubai Kathaiwadi' movie was released on 25th February 2022. The film is based on the true story of Gangubai Harjivandas. Her life was documented in the book 'Mafia Queens of Mumbai' penned by S. Hussain Zaidi. The film is produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Jayantilal Gada. Alia Bhatt plays the titular character, while Shantanu Maheshwari, Vijay Raaz, Indira Tiwari, and Seema Pahwa also play important roles, and Ajay Devgn makes an extended cameo appearance.

A letter of appreciation was received by Alia Bhatt from superstar Amitabh Bachchan. He penned the complimentary words after watching the movie Gangubai Kathiawadi, in which Alia Bhatt performed. The letter read, "Alia, you are beyond magnificent in Gangubai." The actor also expressed a lack of "short of words" in praise of the movie actor Gangubai Kathiawadi, Alia Bhatt. 

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FAQ

For what was Gangubai Kathiawadi famous?

Gangubai Kathiawadi was famous for its movement towards the betterment of sex workers and orphan children. And also for her biopic, Gangubai Kathiawadi.

Is Gangubai Kathiawadi's movie based on a real story?

Gangubai Kathiawadi movie is based on the real story of a young Gujarati girl whose dream was to become an actress but ends up in a brothel.

What was the real name of Gangubai Kathiawadi?

The real name of Gangubai Kathiawadi was Ganga Harjivandas. She was a native of Gujarat and was famous as one of the Mafia Queens of Mumbai.
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