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Gangubai Kathiawadi early reviews are in: Vicky Kaushal is ‘shook’ by Alia Bhatt’s performance, Riteish Deshmukh calls it ‘magical’

Vicky Kaushal and Riteish Deshmukh led Bollywood in hailing Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Gangubai Kathiawadi after a special screening on Wednesday evening. The first reviews of the Alia Bhatt-led film are out now.

The first reviews and reactions to Gangubai Kathiawadi, the new period drama directed by Sanjay Leela Bhansali, are streaming in. Lead Alia Bhatt‘s Raazi co-star Vicky Kaushal led the chatter with his enthusiastic response, shared on social media. A four-star review published by the Guardian called it a ‘luxuriously sleazy-sentimental melodrama’.

The film premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier this month, and was received mostly positively by the audiences who got a chance to watch it. Several non-professional reviews were also posted on the film community site Letterboxd and on Reddit.

Calling the movie ‘big screen cinema magic’, Vicky wrote in an Instagram Story, “Absolutely shook by the sheer brilliance in this film. SLB sir you are a master! And @aliabhatt don’t even know what to say about you… Breathtakingly amazing as Gangu! Hats off.”

Riteish Deshmukh tweeted, “Saw #GangubaiKathiawadi last night!!! Another magical experience.. #SanjayLeelaBhansali is an absolute master storyteller. Every frame in the film has perfection written all over it. @aliaa08 you are gold! You are a fantastic actor but you have outdone yourself as Gangubai.”

The Guardian’s Peter Bradshaw wrote, “There is terrific verve and audacity in this picture and some spectacular fantasy-musical setpieces. In fact, it is the streak of schmaltz within the gruesomeness which gives the story its outrageous energy. There is an entertainingly brazen quality to this movie, a brashness and recklessness to go with the mawkishness: it has a storytelling killer instinct.”

A review published by a Letterboxd user read, “Mostly like a Shyam Benegal film, like Bhumika, Gangubai is defined by the men and certain women in her life. But unlike, Bhumika it lacks a certain sense of energy.” Another user wrote, “There’s an argument that in the purpose of transforming Gangubai into a #girlboss figure that some of the teeth of their story has been lost. Yet what’s the most impressive thing about the film is how it embraces this over-extravagant sincerity to thrive as a grandiose retelling of a tale that so rarely gets this sort of big-budget retelling. Great casting assists in this.”

Also starring Ajay Devgn, Vijay Raaz, Seema Pahwa and Indira Tiwari, the film is slated to release theatrically on February 25.

Alia Bhatt’s Gangubai Kathiawadi releases in theaters on Friday.

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