Swati Bhattacharyya | Last Modified - Sep 17, 2010, 03:05 PM IST
Mumbai is the land of Mafia and Movies. So over the years stories underworld have fascinated bollywood. It is seen that whatever happens in Mumbai makes news in Bollywood and so has underworld made it's way to Bollwyood. From time to time our bollywood stars have been under the influence of underworld. This influence has not deterred Bollywood from getting inspired from it. Infact, Bollywood’s romance with the bollywood is a much glorified subject always. From actors being accused of their alliances with the ‘Dons’ to films being funded by them and also to making films on them, Bollywood has seen it all and done it all.
Time and again filmmakers have taken up these subjects, passionately exploring the mysterious lives of Underworld Dons who are on the wrong side of the law. The formula works really well at the box office and with the critics too. The cliché that cinema reflects the brutal realities of life holds true when it comes to the portrayal of the underworld in Bollywood.
Bollywood's films with underworld themes themes got audience approval from Deewar which told the story of a dockworker (played by Amitabh) who goes on to become a dreaded underworld don. Though reel life character was played by Amitabh, but in real life the film was influenced from real life underworld don, Haji Mastan. Deewar paved the way for Vidhu Vinod’s Parinda. Though the film was fictionalized, but it told how one’s brother’s deeds draw the other into the world of crime.
Big B’s second gangster flick after Deewar was Agneepath which was based on the Maharastrian gangster Manya Surve.
After these movies, from quite some time underworld movies had taken backseat as it was replaced by mushy love stories and melodramatic family dramas. It was Ram Gopal Verma who brought back underworld movies back into fashion with Satya. In fact, Satya also became one of the most important films of the ‘Mumbai underworld’ genre. RGV completed the trilogy of underworld movies with Company and D. Satya was supposed to be have been inspired by the friends-turned-foes gangster Arun Gawli and politician Mohan Rawle. Company traced the fallout of Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan.
After RGV, if anybody has understood the soul and nitty grit ties of underworld is Mahesh Manjarekar. Mahesh Manjrekar’s Vaastav was allegedly based on the true-life story of Chota Rajan where the portrayal of don was very sympathetic.
How can we miss Mahesh Bhatt who is always inspired from real life events? As buzz has it the film traced the relationship between Salem and Monica Bedi. Though Mahesh has throughout denied and said that Gangster has no inspiration from real life events.
The latest film to join the league is “Once Upon aTime in Mumbaai” which is based on the life of Hahji Mastan. Though Director Milan Luthria says it is only a fictional take on the underworld dons of the 1970s and not a biopic on any particular individual.
It’s not just films, even underworld dons like Dawood, Abu Salem, Chota Rajan, Haji Mastan have time again financed bollywood movies and their involvement with bollywood stars have created controversies and have become newspaper headlines. Producer Bharat Shah was also arrested for financing Chori Chori Chupke Chupke with underworld money.
Underworld rules in Bollywood . Extortion calls are made; some are threatened for life while the others are threatened for the life of their family. Stars who have faced the heat of bollywood is Shahrukh Khan was approached by Nazim Rizvi for a film which he refused to do. On account of that he got threatening calls from Chotta Shakeel and Abu Salem.
Preity Zinta was also subjected to this trauma. She received extortion calls to pay Rs 50 lakh or face the consequences. However the hot headed Mahesh Bhatt was also not spared from the scare fare of underworld. In 2007 an unknown group entered his office in juhu and fired a bullet randomly. However nobody was hurt as it was meant to scare him from releasing his movie Dhokha. Well Rakesh Roshan was not that lucky as he was shot by underworld mafias and underwent an operation to remove the bullet from his left arm.
Though these incidents are rampant, but bollywood’s romance with underworld is never ending. The formula is hit and people with grey shades rule the box office. The power of antihero makes audience glued to film till the end. His larger than life picture mocking government justifies with his robinhood like personality.
So it seems the mystery of underworld and dons have become a constant fixation and bollywood loves to explore it time and again. Till the mystery is solves, bollywood will give you doses of underworld. Well someone has rightly said, ‘Yeh ghandha hai, par dhandha hai yeh’! Underworld rules, atleast in bollywood!