Filmmaker Sanjay Gupta has been busy doing research for almost four months to ensure the narrative of his upcoming project, Shootout At Wadala (SAW), remains authentic. Interestingly, the producer-director has also filed a few RTI applications to gather the necessary information. “Yes, we have filed RTI applications and they have, surprisingly, been very helpful,” confirms Gupta. “Since the story/shootout incident took place almost 30 years ago, most people present during that time have either passed away or are untraceable.”
The sequel to Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007) will trace the story behind Mumbai’s first recorded encounter killing of gangster Manya Surve. While John Abraham will play Surve, Anil Kapoor will portray his nemesis encounter specialist Isaque Bhagwan.
Apparently research for the 47 characters in the film is turning into a logistical nightmare. “Eighteen characters are prominent, others have small, but significant roles,” says a source, adding that Gupta has been examining old police files to get all their looks right. “The research team has been frequenting police stations trying to get images and information,” says Gupta, adding that besides meeting journalists who covered the shootout in the 1980s, he has also met friends and relatives of those involved.
During the research, Gupta also found that retired policemen from that era maintained albums of old newspaper cuttings about the encounter, since it was the first to be recorded in police files. “That’s why it was extensively covered in the media. These scrapbooks turned out to be one of our best resources,” says Gupta.