Bambai Meri Jaan creator Shujaat Saudagar: ‘Rains, cyclone destroyed sets twice' | Web Series - Hindustan Times

Bambai Meri Jaan creator Shujaat Saudagar: ‘The sets were destroyed due to rains and cyclone, we rebuilt it twice’

Sep 15, 2023 06:44 AM IST

In this exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Bambai Meri Jaan creator Shujaat Saudagar talks about the challenges they faced during the shoot.

Bambai Meri Jaan creator-director Shujaat Saudagar has said that his new Prime Video Original web series is neither about Dawood, nor Haji Mastan. In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, the filmmaker said that the show is a fictitious one and people are drawing parallels simply because Hussain Zaidi has written the story. He also claimed that previous films focused on a single gangster from Mumbai while his show begins where organised crime started in India and how it spans over three decades. (Also read| Bambai Meri Jaan trailer: Kay Kay Menon Avinash Tiwary face off in crime drama)

A still from Bambai Meri Jaan.
A still from Bambai Meri Jaan.

Bambai Meri Jaan is not inspired by Dongri to Dubai

Asked if Hussain Zaidi's Dongri to Dubai inspired the new show, Shujaat said, "Zaidi is the source. This is completely fictional. Hussain Zaidi has been a crime journalist and has written books about the underworld. So, of course, a lot comes from there, since he wrote the story. But the inspiration comes from various books, and instances from his career. Many real-life characters inspired various characters in our show (but no single character is based on a single real person). This story goes beyond any of the books he has written…beyond Dongri To Dubai. This show should be viewed as a new story, but of course, it will remind you of the universe as we are familiar with Mumbai's underworld."

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He added, "It is great if people identify someone from real life because it helps you relate to the story as well. Hussain Zaidi came to us with a story and he was the best person (to know this world), so we grabbed the opportunity."

Shujaat also said that films and shows about gangsters and criminals are often attractive "essentially because the world stands for anti-establishment. We tend to live vicariously through these characters. We do, through them, that we cannot do in daily lives."

'Bambai Meri Jaan is an epica saga'

Given Hindi cinema's exposure to Mumbai's underworld, we asked Shujaat about the freshness quotient that his show offers. "The entire story has been told in bits and pieces (in previous films). But this (Bambai Meri Jaan) is the first time we have chronicled the rise of organised crime in Mumbai right from the 60s, over a span of three decades," he said.

“I would say, this is not a story but an epic saga - in terms of narrative and characters and it spans across a long, long time. With ten episodes, we had the advantage of going deep and fleshing out the characters,” he said, adding jokingly, “And, we made it for the first time so (it will be fresh)! This is our take on it.”

Bambai Meri Jaan sets were destroyed twice

Talking about the production of the show, and how the pandemic-induced lockdowns affected it, Shujaat recalled how the sets had to be reconstructed twice. “The whole show (was tough). Half a decade put into the show. We had to overcome two deadly Covid waves, we had our set destroyed by the cyclone in Mumbai. It broke down, was rebuilt twice over.”

Elaborating on the rebuilding of the sets, Shujaat said, “We shot the first schedule for 20 days and that was when the first lockdown happened. Our set was standing, without us shooting, and then we had to break it down when the rains came because everything was dicey and unsure (about when the shooting would be resumed). By the time we started the second schedule it was over a year. Then the second wave hit soon, and then again the rains. Then the cyclone (Cyclone Tauktae) hit (and destroyed the sets) so the set was reconstructed. It was quite a monumental task. It would not have been possible without the entire team backing each one up."

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