They say that crime stories make for an interesting read but when the crime stories involve woman it becomes even more fascinating. That is exactly the case in this book titled “Mafia Queens of Mumbai” written by S. Hussain Zaidi with Janet Borges. This book is not only fascinating because it discusses the female mafia in the city of Mumbai but it also tries to discuss the psyche of the various females in the city who formed the female mafia which makes an extremely gripping read.
The book starts on a high note with a very well-written foreword by Vishal Bharadwaj the Indian director of Maqbool fame and introduces to the reader the book in a very lucid manner. To begin with what sets this book apart from the rest is that there is no plot as such but set of profiles of the female characters which is unique to say the least. As for the characters used by the author which is varied and is an interesting mix from a variety of family backgrounds. The book begins with a really shrewd old woman Jenbai who had such power that gangsters like Dawood Ibraham, Haji Mastan respected her. This aspect was beautifully brought out in the book by the authors. The other real amazing story was that of Gangubai a matriarch of Kamathipura which explores how a naïve village ended up as a famous sex worker in Kamathipura a real tragic and heart breaking story. The most courageous and fascinating story of the book was the story of Sapna didi or Ashraf a woman obsessed in killing Dawood Ibrahim as he had her husband killed through an encounter. This story is extremely well written with great deal of research which supports the writing beautifully. The other solo major story is about bollywood starlet and gangster’s Abu Salem moll Monica Bedi. This is yet another riveting story which beautifully depicts how a beautiful middle class Punjabi girl got sucked in by the money and charms of Abu Salem. The rest of the profiles are basically stories of the wives, girlfriends, mistress etc of some dreaded Indian gangsters.
As for the book in general just as his previous effort Black Friday the language used by author is very lucid and very easy to read. As is always the case with Hussain Zaidi who is also a senior crime reporter and resident editor for Asian Age the research for the stories is totally in depth and top class. Credit must also be given to the selection of stories in this book which certainly adds to the charm of the book.
On the whole this book is an absolute riveting read for all book lovers old and young alike. It is a kind of book which would keep you completely engaged to all the stories in the book thus allowing you to get sucked into the world of crime in the city. Although the only real flaw that the book really has is a lack of a plot which possibly might not appeal to all readers. Overall though a fantastic book for genuine book lovers all around India and this book also proves that in the world of crime what men can do women can do it better.