6 Bollywood films based on real life gangsters

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Oct 26, 2015 18:45 IST
Gangster films are a favourite with Bollywood filmmakers. (YouTube)

Bollywood’s love affair with gangster films have always reaped rich dividends at the ticket windows, and Monday’s arrest of underworld don Chhota Rajan in Indonesia is sure to trigger another scramble for similar scripts. Here’s a list of 6 films that portrayed the life and times of the most notorious mob-bosses on the silver screen.

Company (2002)

Company poster. (Twitter)

Ram Gopal Varma’s film was loosely based on the relationship between mob bosses Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, who were once very close before falling out over the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai that were masterminded by Ibrahim with the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. “Company” put on display the modus operandi of the Maximum City’s top gangsters and Varma’s genius painted the world of crime on celluloid. Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi impressed the audience and critics alike with their performance in the main roles and the film showed the huge canvas on which modern day gangsters work.

Shootout At Wadala (2013)

John Abraham in Shootout At Wadala. (YouTube)

Director Sanjay Gupta’s film is said to be based on the life of Mumbai gangster Manya Surve, who was active at a time when criminal gangs were trying to spread their influence beyond the financial hub. Surve, who was played on screen by John Abraham, was an educated criminal who knew how to plan robberies like an expert. Later, the police killed Surve in Mumbai’s first recorded “encounter” or staged gun fight. The audience liked the film, which turned out to be a commercially successful venture for Gupta.

Black Friday (2007)

Black Friday poster. (YouTube)

Based on S Hussain Zaidi’s book of the same name, this is the most authentic film to date on Mumbai’s gangsters and the links of some mob bosses to Pakistan’s intelligence set-up. Director Anurag Kashyap’s docu-drama probed the 1993 blasts in Mumbai that killed 257 people and the riots that occurred after the bombings. It shows how Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon planned and executed the serial blasts. Pawan Malhotra is still remembered for his role in Black Friday, which used footage from TV interviews to drive home its point.

D Day (2013)

Rishi Kapoor in D Day. (YouTube)

Rishi Kapoor played Iqbal Seth aka Goldman, a Pakistan-based gangster in this Nikhil Advani film. Some Indian spies are on a mission to kidnap Iqbal, who is wanted in many cases in India. Kapoor’s clothes clearly indicated his character was based on a certain Mumbai gangster. The film also took a dig at the media frenzy surrounding the lives of gangsters and was a moderate box-office success.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010)

OUATIM poster. (YouTube)

This film throws light on an era when Mumbai’s underworld was slowly getting organised under the leadership of Haji Mastan, who was active in the 1960s and 1970s. Though director Milan Luthria kept the narration extremely dramatic, it managed to remind the audience about that era with characters that were clearly based on Mastan (Ajay Devgn) and his disciple Dawood Ibrahim (Emraan Hashmi). Whistle-worthy dialogues made it an interesting watch and it was an instant hit at the ticket window. This was not the first time Mastan’s life inspired a celluloid character – Amitabh Bachchan’s role in Deewaar (1975) was loosely based on the smuggler.

Nayakan (1987)/Dayavan (1988)

A still from Nayakan. (YouTube)

Varadarajan Mudaliar was like a Robin Hood to people from South India living in Mumbai during the 1980s. His life was straight out of the movies and master director Mani Ratnam took on the task of portraying it on the silver screen in Nayakan. Kamal Haasan played the lead role of Sakthi Velu aka Velu Nayakan and went on to win several awards for his portrayal of an unsophisticated don. Later, Feroze Khan made Dayavan, which was based on the same story, with Vinod Khanna in the lead. Both films met with phenomenal commercial success.

A still from Dayavan. (YouTube)

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