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Alia Bhatt in and as 'Gangubai Kathiawadi' Image Credit: Bhansali Productions

The maverick and his muse have proven critics wrong as ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ rides the wave to strike box office gold in its opening weekend.

The Alia Bhatt-starrer, which has been directed and produced by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, was well on its way to earn Rs400 million at the Indian box office by end of Sunday, with its day two collections crossing Rs230 million.

Despite apprehensions over Bhatt’s casting in the biopic, which in turn was based on a chapter penned by author Hussain Zaidi in his book, ‘Mafia Queens of Mumbai, the film and its lead star have been lauded by critics and fans alike.

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Alia Bhatt with Sanjay Leela Bhansali Image Credit: Twitter.com/bhansaliproductions

The movie see Bhatt play a scarlet woman turned social activist in the film, which attempts to capture the life of one of the most famous figures from Mumbai’s Kamathipura district. While Bhatt has shown talent right from her early years with films such as ‘Highway’ and ‘Udta Punjab’, ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ will certainly prove to be a turning point for the 28-year-old star.

Bhatt’s Bollywood friends and foes have all come out to laud the star and her film, with her mentor, filmmaker Karan Johar being one of the first to praise his find. “To say that she is breathtaking..to say that she is stupendous... to say that she is by far one of the best actors we have or have ever had is not just stating a fact but still not saying enough about her brilliance! Alia Bhatt what are you? Yes, this is unbiased and from my heart! Sanjay Bhansali is a magician and she has performed his every celluloid trick with precision and perfection! #gangubaikathiawadi,” Johar posted on his Instagram Story.

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Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Alia Bhatt Image Credit: Twitter.com/bhansaliproductions

But Johar wasn’t the only one who praised Bhatt’s talent. South Indian star Samantha Ruth Prabhu appeared to be in awe as well. “#GangubaiKathiawadi! A masterpiece!! Alia Bhatt, words aren’t enough to describe your performance. Every single dialogue and expression will be etched in my mind forever,” she posted on her Instagram Story as well.

Others who have lauded Bhatt include actress Ananya Panday, Aditya Seal and filmmaker Anurag Kashyap echoed similar sentiments.

The success of ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is also a win for Bollywood itself, which is attempting to resurrect the industry and return cinemas to glory after a two-year struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt takes part in the promotional activity of a film ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ starred by her in Mumbai on February 25, 2022. (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP)
Bollywood actress Alia Bhatt takes part in the promotional activity of a film ‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ starred by her in Mumbai on February 25, 2022. (Photo by SUJIT JAISWAL / AFP) Image Credit: AFP

Bhatt’s peer Kangana Ranaut, who has been a vocal critic of the star for years, also hit pause on her criticism to grudgingly give the film its due. “Happy to hear theatres are being revived in south film industry with record breaking collections…! Hear some baby steps are being taken in Hindi belt also… with recent female centric film which has a big hero and a super star director… They may be baby steps but they are not insignificant, they will be crucial for theatres which are on ventilator here.. Great!! Never expected that movie mafia will rise to the occasion and do something good… If they do we will be absolutely appreciative… Hoping for the best,” she posted.

‘Gangubai Kathiawadi’ is also screening in UAE cinemas.