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Dons, Mob Bosses and Gangsters: Is Bollywood Only Concerned About Capital and Claps?

Dons, Mob Bosses and Gangsters: Is Bollywood Only Concerned About Capital and Claps?

Nowadays, we find the underworld as the most recurring theme in Bollywood. Also, in the past we find many movies sprouting the gangster genre. Screenwriters Salim-Javed made the gangster genre quite popular in Bollywood through movies Don and Deewar. It was at that time when the filmmakers realised the value and tried to pull out such characters at the box-office.

Then we come across movies like Parinda by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Vaastav by Mahesh Manjrekar which showed us the real potential of gangster movies. Later, we find Ram Gopal Varma establishing the gangster genre movies as the prominent one. In fact, we find that Satya and Company have disturbed all the actual norms and theories of anti-heroes or villains. The cameras in these movies moved through dull back streets and even darker mob bosses.


And now we have Ashim Ahluwalia presenting with his latest movie Daddy starring Arjun Rampal. This movie is based on the life of Arun Gawli, who was the don of Mumbai city and the King of Dagdi Chawl.  

Again we are going to witness a movie with gangster genre who will later turned into a politician and even selected as an MLA from Mumbai’s Chinchpokli area.

But the question arises why filmmakers are so fascinated with these people? Kushan Nandy who recently directed the gangster genre Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, uncovers what actually goes inside the filmmaker’s mind. Kushan says, “These are the people who are on the wrong side. There is a thin line driven by people’s morality. What is right for A might not be right for B. They tread on that morally ambiguous line. These are the people with more colour.” And continues, “Somewhere deep down they’re human. They are like you and me. They get scared, fall in love, like everything we do. These so-called powerful people become very vulnerable in different situation. That makes it really interesting.”

 Babumoshai Bandookbaaz

Saying, there is a chance of showing sympathy towards these criminal though and elaborates as, “Even in my film, a gruesome killer does silly things in love. Or two killers discuss about the rate of their crime and inflation. How basic is this!”

When asked, isn’t showing gangsters as normal people a kind of acceptance? Nandy opposed the idea, “In Babumoshai Bandookbaaz, we say that if you do wrong then the same will happen to you as well. But there is some good even in a criminal, so we try to explore that.”

Further, we find S Hussain Zaidi who is the author of bestsellers like Dongri To Dubai, Black Friday and Byculla To Bangkok saying that the reality is usually far apart from what we observe in the movies.

And he criticised the star system for such discrepancies, “A unique situation arises when a Bollywood filmmaker decides to make a film on underworld. They take stars and then try to not hurt their ego, so they end up moulding their characters as per the star’s wish. Eventually they end up glorifying the gangsters. Otherwise they’ll have to show a very cruel, manipulative character that these gangsters are in reality.”

Mainstream filmmakers often refrain from the realistic portrayal. He continues, “There is a dearth of original scripts. There are some genuine filmmakers who consult the experts for their subject, but some of them have stolen from my books. They don’t research properly for their films.”

The mob bosses and gangsters live a powerful and extra influenced life who are beaten up by the system but at the end.  And till then their power trip live in people’s mind who haven’t even met them in real life.

Talking about Pankaj Tripathi who was the sultan in Gangs of Wasseypur has left a deep impression in people’s minds. He says, “See, crime is directly related to layered human behaviour. Most of us don’t know about the exact situation or the person. We read about a crime in the newspapers. Be it a gang war or a murder, there’s a build up to such things, and it’s very mysterious. People want to decipher this mystery.”

He speaks more about the mystery part. “When you’re writing a criminal’s character then you also try to see it from a different perspective. The psychology of such characters inspires the writers to come up with new twists and plots.”  

This makes a great sense because we find sometimes different television shows and Movies telling about the same gangster and is still receive takers as they focus on various aspects for the same gangster’s personality. And Dawood Ibrahim is among those characters who are portrayed differently in different movies.

Pankaj Tripathi

When was asked, doesn’t glorification of law breakers create a spot of doubt on the minds of the filmmakers?  Pankaj Tripathi says, “Sometimes films and media do glorify the criminals. We make heroes out of the gangsters. That’s why I try to keep my villainous characters very human, some actors and filmmakers forget it. Even in Gangs Of Wasseypur, Sultan sits on the ground in front of Ramadhir Singh that shows how the power structure works in real life.”

After a long question and answer round Tripathi comes to a crucial conclusion that can heavily impact the market who are developing gangster gener. He says, “After working for so many years, I get to understand that capturing the market is the prime motive behind making a film. Now, it’s up to us to see whether you can also fit in good content in it or not?”

However, Kushan says, “The kind of acceptance (for Babumoshai Bandookbaaz) I got was overwhelming, but I don’t think it’s a sure shot formula. It’s a popular genre because we have grown up watching films by Scorsese and other directors.”

It appears that glorification is always an issue while portraying such characters but producers can limit its effect on the viewers. But are they ready to observe their characters in a different way or just considering it as an another way to receive more claps and capital?

So What Do You Think?

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