Today, the much awaited teaser of Rajnikant’s Kabali released. The film is said to be based on the life of Chennai don Kabaleeswaran.
Time and again love for gangsters on Indian celluloid has been evident; gangster films have always reaped rich dividends at the ticket windows. Crime thrillers and Gangsters films always generate interest among the audiences. Gangsters and the mafia world seems fascinating and this fascination has always generated good amount at the ticket counter.
Real life gangsters have always been prominent inspiration for the Indian filmmakers. Infact, Shah Rukh Khan’s upcoming Raess is also said to be inspired by the real underworld Gujrati Don, Abdul Latif.
Here’s a list of films that portrayed the life and times of the most notorious mob-bosses on the silver screen.
Nayakan (1987)/Dayavan (1988)
Varadarajan Mudaliar was like a Robin Hood to people from South India living in Mumbai during the 1980s. His life was straight out of the movies and master director Mani Ratnam took on the task of portraying it on the silver screen in Nayakan. Kamal Haasan played the lead role of Sakthi Velu aka Velu Nayakan and went on to win several awards for his portrayal of an unsophisticated don. Later, Feroze Khan made Dayavan, which was based on the same story, with Vinod Khanna in the lead. Both films met with phenomenal commercial success.
Parinda is an award-winning 1989 Indian crime film directed and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It is considered by many to be the turning point in reality in the hindi gangster flicks of Indian cinema. The film discusses the real life of Indian underworld gangsters and the general life of residents in the city of Mumbai. The film stars Nana Patekar, Jackie Shroff, Anil Kapoorand Madhuri Dixit in the lead roles.
A young man named Satya (J.D Chakravarthy) comes to Mumbai from South India in search of a job. Jailed for something he did not do. Satya that brought back the genre of gangster films into fashion. Satya was Ram Gopal Varma’s first in a series of films like Company and D. It was supposed to be have been inspired by the friends-turned-foes gangster Arun Gawli and politician Mohan Rawle. Manoj Bajpai played Arun Gawli and Govind Namdeo played Mohan Rawle.
Ram Gopal Varma’s film was loosely based on the relationship between mob bosses Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, who were once very close before falling out over the 1993 bomb blasts in Mumbai that were masterminded by Ibrahim with the backing of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence. “Company” put on display the modus operandi of the Maximum City’s top gangsters and Varma’s genius painted the world of crime on celluloid. Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi impressed the audience and critics alike with their performance in the main roles and the film showed the huge canvas on which modern day gangsters work.
Black Friday (2007)
Based on S Hussain Zaidi’s book of the same name, this is the most authentic film to date on Mumbai’s gangsters and the links of some mob bosses to Pakistan’s intelligence set-up. Director Anurag Kashyap’s docu-drama probed the 1993 blasts in Mumbai that killed 257 people and the riots that occurred after the bombings. It shows how Dawood Ibrahim and Tiger Memon planned and executed the serial blasts. Pawan Malhotra is still remembered for his role in Black Friday, which used footage from TV interviews to drive home its point.
Shoot out at lokhandwala (2007)
Directed by Apoorva Lakhia, the film is based on the real life encounter of gangster Maya Dolas at the hands of ACP A.A. Khan in November 1991, this movie showed the cornering of the criminal in the Lokhandwala complex by a team of 400 policeman, and then eventual death.
Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010)
This film throws light on an era when Mumbai’s underworld was slowly getting organised under the leadership of Haji Mastan, who was active in the 1960s and 1970s. Though director Milan Luthria kept the narration extremely dramatic, it managed to remind the audience about that era with characters that were clearly based on Mastan (Ajay Devgn) and his disciple Dawood Ibrahim (Emraan Hashmi). Whistle-worthy dialogues made it an interesting watch and it was an instant hit at the ticket window. This was not the first time Mastan’s life inspired a celluloid character – Amitabh Bachchan’s role in Deewaar (1975) was loosely based on the smuggler.
D Day (2013)
Rishi Kapoor played Iqbal Seth aka Goldman, a Pakistan-based gangster in this Nikhil Advani film. Some Indian spies are on a mission to kidnap Iqbal, who is wanted in many cases in India. Kapoor’s clothes clearly indicated his character was based on a certain Mumbai gangster. The film also took a dig at the media frenzy surrounding the lives of gangsters and was a moderate box-office success.
Shootout At Wadala (2013)
Director Sanjay Gupta’s film is said to be based on the life of Mumbai gangster Manya Surve, who was active at a time when criminal gangs were trying to spread their influence beyond the financial hub. Surve, who was played on screen by John Abraham, was an educated criminal who knew how to plan robberies like an expert. Later, the police killed Surve in Mumbai’s first recorded “encounter” or staged gun fight. The audience liked the film, which turned out to be a commercially successful venture for Gupta.