Until a few days ago, actor Vivek Oberoi and director Sanjay Gupta were embroiled in a standoff over the role of Dawood Ibrahim in Shootout At Wadala. Sanjay called the star “a joke”, Vivek stated that he read the script but “didn’t like the role at all”, and had no option but to turn it down.
And now, even as Sanjay ropes in Sonu Sood to play the gangster in his sequel to Shootout At Lokhandwala (2007), based on the life of gangster Manya Surve, Vivek is readying to act in Bollywood’s first-ever biopic of Dawood that’s likely to start sometime next year.
The actor is adept at bringing underworld dons to the big screen. He started his career with a gritty portrayal of Chandu Nagre — supposedly based on don Chhota Rajan — in Ram Gopal Varma’s Company (2002) followed by a menacing Maya Dolas in Shootout At Lokhandwala.
Producer Amit Chandrra — who is producing Vivek’s upcoming Kismat Luv Paisa Dilli (KLPD) also starring Mallika Sherawat — will back the new biopic too. The film aims to unravel what gave the gangster cult status, besides showcasing his human side.
“The makers are yet to start their research for the film. Plans were afoot to begin the project sometime in 2012, but since Vivek is caught up with back-to-back films this year, they have pushed it to 2013,” says an insider close to Chandrra. “Amit isn’t in a hurry either, since such a project will need extensive homework.”
Vivek’s choc-a-bloc date diary includes films like Krrish 3, Zilla Ghaziabad and Kumar Taurani’s next. When contacted, Chandrra — busy with the post production and editing of KLPD — confirms: “It’s an idea we are all very excited about, but things are still at a very nascent stage. Let’s see how it goes.”
On Monday afternoon, Mumbai was reeling under the scorching sun. But a nondescript lane in Khotachiwadi, Girgaum, experienced rains thanks to a fake drizzle sequence for Kumar Taurani’s next. Tentatively titled Jayanta Bhai, it features Vivek Oberoi and Neha Sharma.
Once we reached the sets amidst a clutch of heritage homes, a drenched Vivek was busy checking out his sequence on the monitor, even as wife Priyanka ate her bowl of pomegranate. The shot in question had Neha running out in the rain, with an umbrella in her hand, before stopping to strike up a conversation with Vivek.
“My character is a gangster, but he’s not in the same bracket as Chandu (Company, 2002) or Maya (Shootout At Lokhandwala, 2007). He is a loveable person, who loves to speak in English even if it’s broken and wrong,” says Vivek with a laugh.
Despite the long wait and hot weather, a number of fans, including older women and kids, lined up to take a sneak peek.
All this, as debutant director Vinnil Markan calmly looked at all the shots on the monitor, while instructing his production team on the minutest of details like Vivek’s hair and Neha’s umbrella. Once the combination shot was okayed, Vivek stepped into a corner and the unit moved the set around. Neha went in for a break. Soon, a production member informed Vivek of a running sequence through the lane. As we were about to leave, a production guy offered Vivek a pair of green chappals, but the actor looked at his blue slippers and said: ‘Yeh continuity ki chappal hai, beta. (These chappals are meant to be worn for continuity of the scene.)’
Akshay Kumar’s character in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2 is supposedly based on the D Company leader, but will reveal his romantic side.
Sonu Sood will play Dawood in Sanjay Gupta’s Shootout At Wadala, retelling the gangster’s many brushes with rival Manya Surve in the ’70s.
Emraan Hashmi portrayed Dawood’s rise to power in Milan Luthria’s Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai... (2010). Ajay Devgn’s brooding and rugged character of Malik in Ram Gopal Varma’s Company was also apparently inspired by the dreaded don.