The recently released Bollywood movie titled “Daddy” is based on the life of dreaded Mumbai gangster turned politician Arun Gawli. This movie has been directed by Ashim Ahluwalia (director of Miss Lovely) and stars Arjun Rampal (who also is the producer of this movie) as Arun Gawli, the lead protagonist. Now, Bollywood has always been fascinated by “gangland” dramas, and hence over the years there have been many Bollywood movies that have either been based on the underworld itself or on the life of a criminal. Although, the fact remains that the majority of the Bollywood movies have been based on the underworld rather than on the life of any criminal. However, there have been a few Bollywood movies which have dealt with the life of a gangster/criminal. So, here is presenting a list of three Bollywood movies that have been based on the life of a criminal.
a. Shootout at Lokhandwala- Apoorva Lakhia:
Criminal: Maya Dolas.
Based on a real life police encounter that occurred in a housing complex called “Lokhandwala” in Mumbai in the year 1991, is the Bollywood movie “Shootout at Lokhandwala” directed by Apoorva Lakhia and produced by Balaji Motion Pictures. This movie which was released in the year 2007 was based on the legend of a gangster known as Maya Dolas and his “band of merry men”. Furthermore, this movie basically captured the “menace” created by Dolas and his gang in the city of Mumbai and their eventual downfall in typical “Bollywood” style. The movie consists of some sterling performances from the cast with Vivek Oberoi as Maya Dolas and Sanjay Dutt as Additional Commissioner of Police Samsher Khan (a character based on former Deputy Inspector General of Mumbai Police Aftab Ahmad Khan) being the standouts. In addition, this movie also was aided by some catchy music composed by Strings, Anand Raj Anand, Mika Singh, and Biddu with the rap song “Ganpat” composed and sung by Mika himself becoming quite a rage especially among the younger generation. With this movie based on the notorious Maya Dolas having completed 10 years in May this year, one can safely say that this movie is among very few Bollywood movies based on the life of a criminal that has made an impact on the minds of genuine cinema lovers throughout the country over time and continues to do so.
b. Shootout at Wadala- Sanjay Gupta:
Criminal: Manya Surve.
Inspired by the book “Dongri to Dubai” written by crime journalist Hussain Zaidi and based on the life of an “educated” Mumbai gangster Manya Surve is the 2013 Bollywood movie “Shootout at Wadala” directed by Sanjay Gupta and produced by Balaji Motion Pictures. This movie set in the late 70’s and early 80’s basically documents the the life of Surve (played by John Abraham) who created havoc on the “Mean Streets” of Mumbai. Furthermore, this movie (considered to be the prequel to Shootout at Lokhandwala) also captures the rise of the powerful “Haksar” brothers (i.e. fictional name used for Dawood Ibrahim and his brother Saabir Ibrahim) in the city. In addition, this movie also talks about the policemen who eventually killed Surve in the form of ACP Afaaque Baaghran (Anil Kapoor) based on real life cop Isaque Bagwan, Inspector Raja Ambat (Ronit Roy) based on a cop named Raja Tambat, and Inspector Bhide (Mahesh Manjrekar) based on cop named Madhukar Zende. Adding large doses of glamour to this movie are three songs performed by Priyanka Chopra, Sunny Leone, and Sophie Choudry respectively. This music of this movie can best be described as “energetic” with the songs “Aala Re Aala” , “Babli Badmash”, and “Laila” composed by Anu Malik and Anand Raaj Anand respectively proving to be huge hits throughout the country. Overall, this film is extremely stylish (as is the case with any Sanjay Gupta product) and is also among the few Bollywood movies that has captured the life of an “enigmatic” criminal in a larger than life manner.
c. Main Aur Charles- Prawaal Raman:
Criminal: Charles Sobhraj
Based on the successful “1986 Tihar jailbreak” carried out by the notorious and charismatic serial killer Charles Sobhraj is the 2015 Bollywood movie “Main Aur Charles” directed by Prawaal Raman. This movie stars the suave Randeep Hooda in the lead as the charismatic serial killer Charles Sobhraj, and it also includes the talented Adil Hussain who plays the role of Amod Kanth a real life cop who actually investigated cases related to Sobhraj. Furthermore, this movie basically revolves around Sobhraj’s infamous escape from the high security prison in Tihar located in New Delhi. In addition, apart from the highly “entertaining and engaging” story/screenplay written by Raman himself this movie also comprises of some sparkling performances especially by Hooda as the charismatic Sobhraj and Hussain as the honest cop determined to put this notorious serial killer behind bars. What also stands out in this movie is the treatment used by director Raman, which basically comprises of a perfect mixture of “entertainment and intelligence” a combination rarely seen in commercial Bollywood films. With this movie having performed fairly decently (if not great) at the box office it would be safe to say that “Main Aur Charles” is among a group of few Bollywood movies that has captured the essence of a criminal’s life in a realistic as well as in an entertaining manner.
In conclusion, it would be right to say that although the Hindi Film Industry has always been fascinated about crime yet there have been very few Bollywood movies that have been actually based on the life of criminal. So here is hoping that cinema lovers throughout the country get to view more Bollywood movies based on a criminal’s life in the near future.