Alia Bhatt, Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Gangubai Kathiawadi
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As 2022 comes to an end, it’s safe to say that it turned out to be quite a game-changing year for the industry across languages. After a long haul, the audiences got back to theatres, but only for quality content and cinematic experience on the big screen, proving to the actors and the entire industry that it’s always the audience who is the King. The torchbearer for Hindi cinema was unquestionably Sanjay Leela Bhansali, whose film Gangubai Kathiadwadi became the first bonafide success in 2022, despite all the odds against the film, right from its inception.


The film that depicted the rise of a simple girl from Kathiawadi who had no choice but to embrace the ways of destiny and swing it in her favour, was first ridiculed for the wrong casting of Alia Bhatt as Gangubai.
The film faced many hurdles and delays along the way due to the pandemic, until its release day which only opened at 50 % capacity. However, as they say, quality content finds its audience and transcends across boundaries. It was the sheer faith that people have in Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s cinema that has given us films like Black, Padmavat, Bajirao Mastani, and Hum Dil De Chuke Sanam to name a few.


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Despite facing these obstacles, the filmmaker was certain and confident about his choice of Alia playing the lead role and his storytelling. The film went on to premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival and received applause and appreciation from moviegoers present there across countries. In India, the film opened at a massive double-digit number of 10.40 CR something which is unheard of for a female-oriented subject.

Gangubai Kathiawadi was a clear winner and the first bonafide success of Bollywood after a long time. Not only was it praised for its nuanced performances and visually appealing cinematic wonder, but it also brought back the glory of enjoying a full-blown commercial entertainer that brought the audiences back to theatres.

Eventually, Gangubai Kathiawadi grossed ₹153.69 core at the domestic box office and ₹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. This Bhansali production film proved to be a game changer in the industry, by bringing a strong subject to light, wherein the content spoke for itself and rose above all odds, all thanks to the maestro Sanjay Leela Bhansali & brilliant actor that Alia Bhatt is.

Often included amongst cinema greats like Raj Kapoor, K. Asif, Bimal Roy, and Sanjay Leela Bhansali brought his signature stamp of filmmaking to ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ with music, production design, cinematography, storyline and his direction being praised as the highlights of the film. The critics referred to it as a ‘crowd-puller’, ‘exceptionally brilliant’ and a ‘powerful saga’. Bhansali was praised for marrying craft and content, with a mention of its being a Pakeezah for millennials.

Truly, this year’s bonafide and first successful movie of Bollywood is Gangubai Kathiawadi.

Also read: Alia Bhatt shares her post-partum journey as she nails inversion yoga pose: Childbirth is a miracle in every way