Showbiz / Gulaab Gang Movie Review

Gulaab Gang Movie Review

Showbiz Mar 11, 2014

Released on March 7th last week and a day before International Women’s Day, multi-starrer Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla film Gulaab Gang (2014) released worldwide.

The film is reportedly based on the life of activist Sampat Pal Devi who formed the group called Gulaab Gang, a band of women vigilantes known to wear pink sarees as their uniform. These women together demand justice and gender equality in a region that is known to systematically and culturally oppress women.

Just days before the film was released, the film ran into trouble when Pal issued a stay order arguing that the film will tarnish her reputation.

However, recently Pal told The Daily Bhaskar, “The battle about the movie has not ended and I will keep it going till my demands are met, but Madhuri has definitely impressed me with her acting skills in the movie. Madhuri's acting did remind me of my journey and of the times I have been through. I felt it was me on the screen.”

As a doctorate student at Western, my research particularly focuses on the subjectivity of women in India especially after the horrific Delhi Rape Case that took place in December 2012 putting India on the map internationally and raising concerns about the country’s treatment of women.

This film, as suggested by both Dixit and Juhi, has a relevant and strong message. During an interview at the time of the song launch, both actresses were asked by a reporter, “Do we need a gang like this in India considering the conditions that are happening in India now and in the future years?”

Juhi responds sweetly, “The film is set in a rural background. The message of this film is if you can educate girls, empower them then the need for violence and their abuse will be lessened. So I think, that is the way forward perhaps. You educate girls, give them a good upbringing just you do for the boys. Equality… gender equality.”

Madhuri adds agreeing with Juhi, “I think today we need education for the women. They should learn to respect themselves and we should teach the boys to respect the girls. Gender equality is something we really need to work on. Although the story is based on gang, I think education is the key.”

Gulaab Gang Still
Gulaab Gang Still/ ekhonkolkata

The film is set in rural crevices of Uttar Pradesh known having a misogynistic and oppressive culture.

The film which begins with young Rajjo (Madhuri Dixit) who is a go-getter, defies the wishes of her step mother and starts to educate herself as much as she can with the resources that are available to her.

While the film does not show how she starts and establishes the gang, we see that she has formed an ashram helping women in the region who encounter abusive husbands, rapes, dowry issues, and so on.

Dixit’s character which rightly demands the attention of her viewers, meets her rival in Sumitra Devi (Juhi Chawla). Devi is a power-hungry and shrewd politician competing in power with Rajjo.

While I do not want to give away spoilers, there is an unforgettable moment in the film when Devi is willing to forgive and compensate for her future brother-in-law’s crime as a rapist by monetarily compensating Rajjo and her gang for the rape he has committed to prevent chaos prior to elections.

As the audience I was blown away to see a heroine known for her sweet and charming personality embrace the role of Sumitra Devi so artfully. Chawla’s performance is truly a novelty!

The film in my opinion is a must-watch because it focuses on the largely-forgotten rural part of India where violence against women has been a gnawing issue since the time of independence.

Both Madhuri Dixit’s character, Rajjo, and the real-life activist Sampat Pal are leaders in an ongoing fight for gender equality. While Rajjo undoubtedly uses violence, she only uses it for self-defense. She also teaches and educates young girls and demands justice from abusive husbands and corrupt politicians.

There are two strong messages noted in the film, as both Madhuri Dixit and Juhi Chawla so eloquently have stated: young girls need to be educated to become empowered women and boys need to be taught from early on to respect women. 

gulaab gang poster
Gulaab Gang Poster/

Watch the film which is playing in theatres now and tweet us what you think?

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Nidhi Shrivastava

Nidhi Shrivastava


Nidhi Shrivastava is a PhD student specializing in popular culture, women’s and post colonial studies in English at Western. For fun, she loves anything to do with movies,books, and living life to the fullest! Connect with her @nidhishrivast...