Stranger than fiction

  • Atisha Jain, Hindustan Times
  • Updated: Aug 30, 2014 20:23 IST

Emraan Hashmi’s

Raja Natwarlal

is apparently fiction, which is sad because real con men are super. Here’s a run through-

Frank W Abagnale Jr

Portrayed in

Catch Me If You Can


Impersonated a pilot, a doctor and a prosecutor. Cashed forged cheques worth $2.5 million – before he turned 21. He went on to work with the FBI.

Filmi line:

“An honest man has nothing to fear and I am trying not to be afraid of anything.”

Conmen who carried out a heist on 19 March 1987

Portrayed in

Special 26



A group of 26 people posing as tax officials raided a jewellery store in Opera House, Mumbai. They stole gold ornaments and stashed the booty in briefcases.

Filmi line:

“Logon ke pairon mein chakkar hota hai ... mere dimaag mein hai.”

Frederic Bourdin

Inspiration for


(2012), a documentary

Assumed about 500 false identities. Posed as a teenager and convinced his parents he was their missing son!

Filmi line:

“A new identity was a real passport, an American passport.”

Mithilesh Kumar Srivastava
The reported inspiration for Mr Natwarlal (1979)

Dream of owning the Taj Mahal? Natwarlal sold it – several times. He escaped prison eight times. And remained elusive even in death: he died twice but could still be alive.
Filmi line: “Main apne dushman se kiye huye vaade ko bhi poora karta hoon.”

From HT Brunch, August 31
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