Bollywood and gangsters share an interesting equation with each other — the former regularly makes movies about real-life underworld men, while kingpins have been known to date minor actresses. Now, with singer Sonu Nigam reportedly being threatened by the underworld, the D-gang has reared its ugly head in B-town once again. Sonu reportedly told the police that a Dawood Ibrahim gang member made several threatening calls asking him to change the event management company that will handle his 2014 world tour.
Last month too, it was reported that producer Boney Kapoor received death threats via phone from an unidentified person, suspected to be linked to underworld don Ravi Pujari’s gang. We talk to a host of Bollywood personalities and discuss this menace in detail.
Has Sonu done a brave thing by reporting the threat to the police?
Anurag Basu: It’s worth applauding. There is nothing to fear. The biggest wealth of an artiste is his art and they shouldn’t fear anything else.
Ramesh Taurani: They (people who get threatening calls) might not be speaking to the media about it, but they speak to the authorities. They complain and it’s not something to be spoken about openly to the media.
Anubhav Sinha: Anyone who gets up and chooses to tackle it head-on should be given a pat on their backs and Sonu has always been someone who would not take such things lying down. Our business is so tough and when you have such things happening to you, it becomes nearly impossible to survive in this industry.
Blast from the past
Rakesh Roshan was shot at by two armed men outside his Santacruz office in Janaury 2000. The producer-director had also received threatening calls from the underworld in 2004.
Members of the Ejaz Lakdawala gang barged into Sajid Nadiadwala’s office and threatened him in April 2010. Nadiadwala was provided police security after this incident.
Vivek Oberoi was also reportedly threatened. Suresh Oberoi, Vivek’s father, had told the police that they had received threatening calls in 2011.
Sohail Khan and Ritesh Sidhwani had also filed individual complaints in September 2011 for getting threatening calls from gangster Ravi Pujari.
Renowned filmmaker Karan Johar had also received extortion threats via text message from an unknown number in September this year. He was provided armed guards by the police.
Ram Gopal Varma had also reportedly received threatening calls in July. The filmmaker was asked to cut certain lines from his upcoming gangster flick, Satya 2.
Is the underworld-Bollywood nexus a thing of the past?
Reportedly received death threats over the phone last month.
"I can assure you that there’s no nexus between Bollywood and the underworld. I am not privy to details, but I feel that the security forces are on the top of their game right now. As a result, they are so strong that they are fully capable of nipping any such thing right in the bud. As far as I am concerned, I feel completely safe in the city.
Was shot at in January 2000 when he was leaving his office at Santacruz
"Since I have been busy with the post-production work of my next film, Krrish 3, I don’t have much of an idea about the case. But as part of the film fraternity, I can say that if it’s still happening (the nexus), then it’s a sad thing. And I am sure others from the industry will also share this view."
Has reportedly received threatening calls in the past
"The answer lies somewhere between yes and no. As far as I am concerned, the ‘real industry’ has never flirted with the mob. But I can’t in absolute certainty claim that none of us have anything to do with the underworld. When our fraternity meets the Mumbai police to discuss other issues, we will take this up in a big way."
Ram Gopal Varma
Has also been targeted in the past
"It (the nexus between Bollywood and underworld) wasn’t there then and it’s not there now."