Here are some interesting movies in Bollywood that showcase the world of gangsters, the mafia and organised crime syndicates.
India remains a country with a diverse socio-cultural milieu. In places such as Mumbai, the capital of western Indian state of Maharashtra, parts of central Indian states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, organised crime is a reality that cannot be ignored. The mainstream cinema in India, Bollywood, has showcased a number of movies that have adapted from real life situations and characters, touching upon the complex social realities of the underworld where even criminals in the eyes of authorities are otherwise respected characters in their communities. Here are four movies released after 2010 that have brought to the screen the underworld.
A visually delightful film by director Anurag Kashyap, ‘Bombay Velvet’ starred Ranbir Kapoor in the lead role. It was released in 2015 with moderate box-office success. Revolving around the journey of Balraj’s (Kapoor) desire to ascend to higher ranks in the Mumbai underworld, this film is set in the historical context of a freshly independent India. Based on a book by Gyan Prakash, titled ‘Mumbai Fables’, this movie showcased the bustling Mumbai with its docks, jazz clubs and fascinating underworld with major themes of greed, love and ambition.
Gangs of Wasseypur
A masterpiece by Anurag Kashyap, the ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ duology has attained a cult status of sorts in India. The first part of the film was released in 2012 and the second in 2014.With a storyline spanning decades, the films are loosely inspired by real life events of organised crime in Dhanbad, Jharkhand in central India and showcases a family drama against a mafia backdrop. ‘Gangs of Wasseypur’ has a brilliant cast and an engaging soundtrack that is bound to keep a viewer interested.
Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster
‘Saheb, Biwi Aur Gangster’ or ‘The Master, Wife and Gangster’ was a 2011 film followed by a sequel in 2013 that traces the life of a couple and the rivalries of a political engagement with the underworld. Directed by Timangshu Dhulia, the story is situated in Uttar Pradesh, with Mahie Gill and Jimmy Shergill as the couple in question. Belonging to a royal family, they face struggles both among and within themselves and the film is said to revisit the classic tragic love story of ‘Sahib Bibi aur Ghulam’, starring Guru Dutt, with a criminal twist.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai
Released in 2010 followed by a 2013 sequel, ‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbai’ is a brilliant example of gangster-cinema in India post 2010. With characters such as Shoaib Khan and Sultan Mirza in the backdrop of a 1970s, Mumbai where smuggling is highlighted, the film is said to have taken inspiration from the true life story of Haji Mastan and his protégé Dawood Ibrahim. Gang wars, bombs and an entry into a violent criminal underworld is showcased in this film that shows the decline of Mirza, who both in this adaptation and his real life character was considered a benevolent figure among many.