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Which restaurants do gangsters like to visit? A new web series finds out

HT48HRS_Special Updated: Jun 12, 2016 09:32 IST
Arundhati Chatterjee
Arundhati Chatterjee
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

In Dinner with the Dons, local Bhais (dons) give an insider’s guide to street food across cities

Ever wondered what your local don’s favourite restaurant is? A new web series takes you through the favourite eateries of gangsters.

There’s yet another web series on the country’s street food culture. But here, there’s no food blogger/chef taking you around khau gallis. Instead, in youth portal 101India’s latest series, the local Bhais (dons) give an insider’s guide to street food across cities.

In the first episode of Dinner with the Dons, one of the dons speaks about life behind bars, and his entrepreneurial efforts outside. It can easily pass off as a scene from a Ram Gopal Varma film: an underworld kingpin gives a low-down of his criminal achievements, before driving to his go-to eatery.

Though we were curious to know about what went on behind-the-scenes, our inquiries hit a road block. The creative house gave us a series of mandates: we were not to mention the names of the gangsters or use stills featuring them. A strange company policy meant we couldn’t even speak to anybody from the crew apart from the chief creative officer, Cyrus Oshidar (52).

Street cred

“The idea is to have the dons talk about their life and show us their favourite food joints. We have explored Dongri and Nalasopara (in the first two episodes). Next, we are heading to Hyderabad and Delhi,” says Oshidar.

When the logistics team approached the dons, the gangsters were shocked. “They would ask, ‘Of all the things, you want us to talk about food?’,” says Oshidar.

Don’t expect to spot the biggies though. Oshidar admits the dons they featured are “not the who’s who of Mumbai’s underworld”. “These guys have served jail sentences, but mostly for bar fights and local disputes. They are free of charges now and are not as dangerous as we perceive them,” he explains.

Since most of the racketeers are entrepreneurs now, and run restaurants, salons and gyms, they were easily accessible. However, they measure their words, use changed names, and meet only in their own neighbourhood. But their food choices are as ordinary as ours — they feast on chicken tariwala and vada pav.

A screenshot from Dinner with the Dons

In the show, they will be seen discussing how succulent the gauti chicken (country chicken) is and a variant of vada pav called chicken vada pav.

The Bollywood effect

The inclusion of ‘Don’ in the title came from Oshidar’s love for the 1978 cult classic. And if he is to be believed, the local Bhais feed off the filmi portrayals, too. He admits that they sport shades, big bracelets, and talk in a ‘Bambaiya’ diction.

Don’s choice:

Gauti Chicken and Chicken Tariwala at Balle Belly, Shanti Nagar, Mira Road

Malpua at JJ Jalebi, Behram Baug, Jogeshwari

Biryani at Sahil Restaurant, Jehangir Boman Behram Road, Dongri

Chicken Sanju Baba and Nalli Nihari at Noor Mohammadi, Abdul Hakim Noor Mohammadi Chowk, Bhendi Bazar

Aflatoon, at Suleman Usman Mithaiwala, Ibrahim Merchant Road, below Minara Masjid, Bhendi Bazar