How Gangubai Kathiawadi allowed Sanjay Leela Bhansali to pay tribute to father Navin Bhansali’s film that he never saw

Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s latest film Gangubai Kathiawadi is running successfully in theatres currently. The film, which shows the journey of a real-life brothel madam, has been received well critically and earned praise from fans as well. The film is set in the Kamathipura neighbourhood of Mumbai and traces the titular character’s journey across decades. To depict, the passage of time, the film used movie posters in the background. Director Bhansali revealed that in that, he also included a subtle tribute to his late father, Navin Bhansali. (Also read: Sanjay Leela Bhansali on why he exploded in front of Alia during Gangubai shoot)

Gangubai Kathiawadi stars Alia Bhatt as the real-life Gangubai. The film shows her journey from when she was sold into the brothel in the 1950s to the late 60s. The period is depicted with posters of films like Mughal-e-Azam. But in a recent interview, Sanjay revealed that one of the posters – for the little-known 1957 film Jahazi Lootera – was a tribute to his father, producer Navin Bhansali.

Speaking to the Times of India, Sanjay revealed, “I paid tribute to my father as well. In two ways. One was making films on the kind of scale that he wanted – like Mughal-e-Azam. And I also paid tribute to a film that he had made in 1958 (actually 1957) called Jahazi Lootera. That is there as a poster on the theatre all through Gangubai. And so this was a film (Gangubai Kathiawadi) that was even closer to me because I was paying tribute to his film that I have never been able to see.”

Jahazi Lootera was a fantasy action film directed by Aakkoo and starred Anwar Hussain, Shashikala, Maruti Rao, and P Jairaj. The film was not a major success at the box office.

Sanjay added that through this gesture, he was able to be somewhat relieved that he was able to offer a nod to his father’s work. “I have, sort of come out of it very happy ki chalo (ok) , somewhere I have paid my salute and respect to him that whatever he taught me, whatever his unfulfilled dreams were – I’m trying to fulfill over the years,” he said.

Gangubai Kathiawadi also stars Ajay Devgn, Vijay Raaz, Shantanu Maheshwari, Seema Pahwa, and Jim Sarbh. The film has been a box office success, earning 108 crore in eight days.


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