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Bollywood gears up for gangster dramas

There is something about gangster films that fascinates B-Town. The underworld saga in Bollywood continues as films like Department, Shootout at Wadala and OUATIM 2, get set to release. Here's a look at 5 upcoming and 5 legendary gangster flicks.

bollywood Updated: Apr 12, 2012 12:24 IST
Shootout at Wadala,Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai 2,Sarman Munja Jadeja

There is something about gangster films that fascinates Bollywood. There are legendary ones like Amitabh Bachchan's Deewar, (reportedly based on Haji Mastan), Don, Agneepath, and more recently Satya, Company and Vaastav. And then, there are some forgettable ones like D and Jung.

The underworld saga in Bollywood continues as upcoming flicks like Shootout at Wadala, Once Upon A Time in Mumbaai 2, Sarman Munja's unnamed biopic featuring Sanjay Dutt and Abu Salem's biopic get set to release. Here's a look at 5 upcoming and 5 legendary gangster flicks.


1. Department
After essaying the role of a desi Godfather as Subhash Nagre in Sarkar (2005) and Sarkar Raaj (2008), Amitabh Bachchan is set to return to a similar genre once again. The actor plays the role of a gangster called Sarjerao Gaikwad, who has a change of heart and becomes a politician, in Ram Gopal Varma’s Department.

And this time, unlike his black outfit in Sarkar, the actor will don a white dhoti-kurta. He will also be seen wearing a red scarf, dark glasses, coloured threads and bracelets. All that and a ‘kada’ around his right ankle adds plenty of colour to this Machiavellian character.

“It took Amitji and me just an hour to fix upon the look, the idea for which emerged from a half-hour-long discussion,” says Ramu, adding that the ‘desi’ gear is apt for the part given Sarjerao’s criminal background, and a past that he still has connections with.

A poster of Department

2. Abu Salem's biopic
A film on Dawood Ibrahim's former associate, Abu Salem, is set to roll, with actor Nikhil Dwivedi playing the role of the dreaded gangster.

An industry insider reveals that the film has been named Captain, as it’s one of the aliases used by Salem. The project has been conceived, written and will be directed by debutant Navneet Behl, and traces the outlaw’s journey from obscurity to notoriety in a short period of time.

“Unlike other infamous gangsters, who took decades to be where they are today, he became one of the most dreaded gangsters in Mumbai in just seven years. That’s what I found so fascinating,” the Nikhil told Hindustan Times.

Salem, presently in Arthur Road jail, is serving time for his role in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, and the murder of music composer and owner of the T-Series music label, Gulshan Kumar, in 1997.

“There was a time when the whole film industry was completely crippled with fear of this man. The film is about what made him so powerful,” says Nikhil. Ask whether he’s apprehensive about playing a notorious don, and the actor says, “Why should I be nervous? This is not a film on Dawood Ibrahim.”

Bollywood actor Nikhil Dwivedi

3. Sarman Munja Jadeja’s biopic
He played the underworld don to perfection in films like Aatish (1994), Vaastav (1999), Jung (2000) and Plan (2004). But not many know that Sanjay Dutt has spent the last 15 years discussing and researching real-life gangster Sarman Munja Jadeja’s life. So understandably, he is excited about playing the Gujarati don in Soham Shah and Ashtavinayak’s upcoming film.

“We have been working on the subject for over a decade. Over the years, Neeraj (writer-director Vora), Paresh (actor Rawal) and I have discussed the subject and worked on it.

Somehow, things never worked out. But now that the film is finally happening, it feels great,” says Dutt, whose character in the film will also be called Sarman Munja. The Munjha family had a strong hold over Porbandar and other places in Saurashtra in the early ’80s. Sarman Munja was also known as the Robin Hood of Gujarat.

Sanjay Dutt excels in gangster dramas

4. Dawood's first biopic
Though Vivek Oberoi lost the opportunity to play Dawood in Shootout at Wadala, interestingly, he bagged another film where which is touted to the first-ever biopic of Dawood and is 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.

“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,” Vivek told Hindustan Times.

5. Manya Surve's biopic
Actor John Abraham says his upcoming movie, Shootout at Wadala, will be a “career defining film.”

"I have not said yes or no to the film yet. The film is a realistic take on Abu Salem's character and will be shot in documentary style," Nikhil told IANS.

The actor says, “When people ask me what the film means to me, I say that this film is my ‘Vaastav’ (which had actor Sanjay Dutt in the lead). On a serious note, it is a career defining film and it’s something that I have taken very seriously.” Directed by Sanjay Gupta, Shootout At Wadala also stars actors Anil Kapoor, Sonu Sood, Mahesh Manjrekar, Manoj Bajpayee, Tusshar Kapoor, Ronit Roy and Kangna Ranaut.

The film will dramatise the first-ever registered encounter by Mumbai police, where gangster Manya Surve was shot dead, which took place at Vidyalankar Institute of Technology, Sangam Nagar, Wadala, Mumbai on 1 November 1982. The film is slated to release on 7 December 2012.

Apart from this, Akshay Kumar plays the role of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim in Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai 2. The actor is said to be donning three different looks for the film. His first look was revealed on an award-ceremony at Aapka Colors. Emraan Hashmi would also play a part in the film. Sonakshi Sinha has been signed opposite Akshay Kumar.


1. Satya
RGV is no doubt the Sarkar of modern gangster flicks. His Satya would be considered as one of the most memorable crime dramas in the times to come. The film tells the story of Satya, an immigrant who comes to Mumbai seeking his fortune but instead gets sucked into the Mumbai underworld.

The film didn't feature stars but made some. J.D Chakravarthy and Manoj Bajpai shot to limelight with the the movie, and Urmila Matondkar got recognition as the actor of substance. The film was made on a shoestring buget of Rs 2 crore and went on to make Rs 15.5 crore.

2. Vaastav

Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the film gave a landmark role to Sanjay Dutt who's career was undergoing a rough patch before the fim. The film is said to be loosely based on the life of Mumbai underworld gangster Chota Rajan. The film also starred Namrata Shirodkar, Sanjay Narvekar, Mohnish Behl, Paresh Rawal, Reema Lagoo and Shivaji Satam.

3. Deewaar

Directed by Yash Chopra and written by Salim-Javed, Deewaar established Amitabh Bachchan as the angry young man of Bollywood. Shashi Kapoor also featured in the movie.

Vijay, played by Amitabh Bachchan who starts out as a boot polisher and becomes a dockyard worker in his youth. He then turns a smuggler and a leading figure of the underworld.

4. Agneepath

Directed by Mukul Anand, Agneepath stars Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Madhavi, and Rohini Hattangadi, with Danny Denzongpa as the villain.

It was considered to be a loose adaptation of the 1983 Hollywood film Scarface starring Al Pacino. It was also believed to be based on the life of Mumbai underworld gangster Manya Surve whose talking style and body language were adapted by Amitabh Bachchan as Vijay Deenanath Chauhan.

5. Maqbool
The film is an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The backdrop of the movie however is Mumbai underworld. Maqbool (Irfan Khan) is a right hand man of Jahangir Khan (alias Abba Ji) (Pankaj Kapoor), a powerful underworld don. Maqbool is grateful and feels a close connection and personal indebtedness to Abba Ji.

Nimmi (Tabu) is Abba Ji's mistress, but she secretly loves Maqbool. Maqbool loves Nimmi, too. Nimmi also encourages Maqbool's ambitions and persuades him to kill Abba Ji in order to take over as don.

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First Published: Apr 07, 2012 18:56 IST