It has been three years since Shamshad Supariwala, daughter of Haji Mastan, first sent Ekta Kapoor and Suniel Shetty a legal notice for “misconstruing” details of her father’s life and conceptualising a Hindi film on it. About a week before the film
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai’s
release, she is still struggling to get a screening of what is being promoted as her father’s biopic.
“I only want to see if they have portrayed my father correctly and get the unacceptable scenes altered. They should not show him as some blacklisted figure. My father was never a terrorist. He was a very respected man,” says Supariwala, who took charge of her father’s political party after his death. “Ekta Kapoor has turned a complete deaf ear to me. If the film is not about him, then they should come out and say so.”
Kapoor was unavailable for comment while Puneet Kinra, CEO, Balaji Motion Pictures says, “I am unaware of this, and since the matter is in court, I cannot comment on it.”
Media reports over the last few months claim that Balaji Motion Pictures’ forthcoming Ajay Devgn starrer loosely picks up from Mastan’s life before he joined politics and portrays him as a gangster. Supariwala says, “In 2007, Ekta announced the search for an actor to play Haji Mastan in a film. I approached them and when I didn’t receive a response, I sent them a legal notice. I wanted to know how they have interpreted the details of my father’s life, which time and again have been falsely reported by the media.”
Soon after, she discovered that Shetty and Kapoor had dropped the idea of the film. But in 2008, it came up again and since then Kapoor has been sent several notices. Supariwala says, “The only response I got from my repeated complaints was from Milind Luthria, who clearly stated that the film had nothing to do with my father, which is not the case.”
Even though Mastan was reportedly associated with the Hindi film industry as a distributor in the past, his family prefers to stay mum about his connections. Amitabh Bachchan’s legendary role in the film,
(1975), too, was allegedly inspired from Mastan’s early life as a porter at the Bombay docks.
Supariwala says, “I would love to watch a film made on his life, but I won’t stand people defaming him to make for a good story. He was never convicted as a smuggler, neither was he a blacklisted man, nor was he involved in any extortion cases. He only worked for the poor, which is why people still remember him, and that’s how I want his story to be.”