Search This Blog

Monday, August 16, 2010

mumbai's golden era of mafia

Mumbai's first recorded bank robbery was committed by a man with a fake name,'Anokhelal'. He came to Mumbai from Delhi after seeing the American movie Highway 301 (1950). He formed a gang of local criminals and committed the robbery after doing two rehearsals at the bank which were not noticed by the staff. The movie was later banned in Mumbai. The bank attacked was The Lloyds Bank at Fort in Mumbai. Rs 16 lakhs were stolen and the security guard was killed. The police solved the robbery based on information about a Rs 10,000 worth "Chaddar" that was laid at HajiAli durgah.
The first of mafia elements, or syndicates, perhaps had their origins in the gambling and bootleg liquor dens set up by a criminal named Karim Lala[1] in the 1940s.there was also a don named rama naik who hailed from byculla a close associate of bada rajan and mentor of arun gavli. he reigned from 70 to 1987 when he was encountered on the behest of dawood.Bada Rajan 1970-83. Currently the biggest such underworld leader is Dawood Ibrahim, who is probably living in Karachi, Pakistan.
In the illegal opium trade, the earliest dated mafia family was the Thane-based (Mumbai) Thanevale gang that was responsible for over 80% of the opium and heroin traficking in the 1860s according to an article by Harkisondas Thanawala (1965).                                          Crime films revolving around the Indian mafia, particularly the Mumbai underworld, have been common in Indian cinema since the 1950s, evolving into a distinct genre known as Mumbai noir in the late 1990s.[4] The genre has its origins in the 1950s, with the Raj Kapoor films Awaara (1951) and Shree 420 (1955) being some of the earliest films involving the Mumbai underworld. In the 1960s, Shakti Samanta's China Town (1962), starring Shammi Kapoor and Helen, dealt with the criminal underworld that existed in Chinatown, Kolkata, at the time. It was the earliest film to introduce the plot element of a look-alike working as an undercover agent impersonating a gangster, an idea that was used again Don (1978) and many later films inspired by it.[5]

In the 1970s and early 1980s, many of the most well-known classic Bollywood movies were based around themes of fighting criminals and corruption at a time when crime was rising and authorities were powerless. Classic Amitabh Bachchan films depicted the underworld and the protagonists attempting to overcome it, including Prakash Mehra's Zanjeer (1972), Yash Chopra's Deewar (1975),Manmohan Desai's Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Chandra Barot's Don (1978) and Vijay Anand's Ram Balram (1980). In particular, Deewar, which Danny Boyle described as being “absolutely key toIndian cinema”, was a crime film pitting "a policeman against his brother, a gang leader based on real-life smuggler Haji Mastan", portrayed by Bachchan.[6] Most Bollywood crime movies at the time were fairly unrealistic with the masala style of action and plots. In Parallel Cinema on the other hand, the Calcutta trilogies of Bengali film directors Mrinal Sen and Satyajit Ray, particularly the 1976 filmJana Aranya (The Middleman), dealt with the Calcutta underworld in a more realistic manner.
In the late 1980s, Parallel Cinema filmmakers began producing more realistic Bombay underworld films, with an early example being Mani Ratnam's Tamil filmNayagan (1987), based on the life of the Bombay donVaradarajan Mudaliar, portrayed by Kamal HaasanNayagan was included in Time Magazine's "All-Time 100 Best Films" list, issued in 2005.[7] In Malayalam AbhimanyuAaryan directed by priyadarshan and Indrajaalam directed by Thambi kannamthanam depicts story or Munmbai underworld. The Bombay underworld was also depicted in Mira Nair's Academy Award nominated Hindi film Salaam Bombay! (1988). The underworld was also depicted in several other National Film Award winning films, including Vidhu Vinod Chopra's Parinda (1989) starring Anil KapoorMukul S. Anand's Agneepath (1990) starring Bachchan, and Sudhir Mishra's Dharavi (1991) also starring Om Puri.

Movie poster for Ram Gopal Varma'sSatya (1998), considered the beginning of the Mumbai noir genre.
In the late 1990s, Ram Gopal Varma's Satya (1998) marked the introduction of a new genre of film making, Mumbai noir, of which he is the acknowledged master.[4] The critical and commercial success of Satya led to an increased emphasis on realism in later Mumbai underworld films. Varma's next Mumbai noirfilm was Company (2002), based on the D-Company, a real-life criminal organization. Satya and Company both gave "slick, often mesmerizing portrayals of the Mumbai underworld", and displayed realistic "brutality and urban violence."[6] Satya won six Filmfare Awards, including the Critics Award for Best Film, while Company won seven Filmfare Awards. A prequel to Company was released in 2005, entitled D (2005), produced by Varma and directed by Vishram Sawant. Varma's three films SatyaCompany and D are together considered an "Indian Gangster Trilogy".[8] Varma also directed an Indian adaptation of The Godfather novel in a Mumbai underworld setting, called Sarkar (2005), and has more recently filmed an original sequel called Sarkar Raj (2008).
Mahesh Manjrekar's Vaastav: The Reality (1999) is another film that depicts the Indian mafia. Anurag Kashyap's Black Friday (2004) is based on S. Hussein Zaidi's book of the same name about the 1993 Bombay bombings, which involved the underworld organization, the D-Company.[6] Vishal Bharadwaj's Maqbool(2004) and Omkara (2006) are modern-day Indian mafia interpretations of the William Shakespeare plays Macbeth and Othello, respectively. Farhan Akhtar'sDon - The Chase Begins Again (2006) is a remake of Barot's original 1978 Don with Shahrukh Khan taking Bachchan's place in the title role. Apoorva Lakhia'sShootout at Lokhandwala (2007) is based on a real-life 1991 incident involving Commissioner Aftab Ahmed Khan and the Lokhandwala ComplexWaaris(2008) is an Indian television series on Zee TV with the Indian mafia as its background. The Mumbai underworld has also been depicted in Madhur Bhandarkar's Traffic Signal (2007) and Rajeev Khandelwal's Aamir (2008).
Danny Boyle's Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), based on Vikas Swarup's Boeke Prize winning novel Q & A (2005), has also portrayed the Indian mafia, under the influence of earlier Mumbai noir films.[9] Boyle has cited previous Bollywood portrayals of the Mumbai underworld inDeewarSatyaCompany and Black Friday as direct influences on the film.[6][10] The Hollywood film Shantaram, based on Gregory David Roberts'sShantaram novel, also features the Indian mafia in its storyline. The film is being directed by Mira Nair and stars Johnny Depp in the lead role.
Indian mafia was widely potrayed in 2009 Bollywood's 2009 critically acclaimed film Kaminey.

[edit]Bollywood connections                                                                                   


D-Company is a term coined by the media for the criminal organization headed by wanted terrorist Dawood Ibrahim. Other prominent members of the gang include Chhota ShakeelTiger Memon andAbu Salem, who is now in the custody of Indian police. It is closely linked to a range of organized criminal and terrorist activities in South Asia, especially in MumbaiIndia, and the Persian Gulf region. Several members of the gang are on the "wanted list" of Interpol and Indian police. The reference to "company" in the name of the organization does not signify that it has a separate corporate identity. The organization has a history of rivalry with the Mumbai Police (see Mumbai Encounter Squad) and other underworld dons such as Chota RajanEjaz Lakdawala and Arun Gawli.
There are a number of allegations against the organization, such as that it generates billions of US dollars from illegal business activities around the globe, especially in India. The Indian governmentalso believes that Dawood Ibrahim and his associates fund and support terrorist activities in the country. According to Indian intelligence agencies, such as the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) andCentral Bureau of Investigation, D-Company financed the terrorist bombings in Mumbai which killed 257 people in 1993. It is also alleged that D-Company planned further terrorist attacks in Gujaratfollowing the extensive riots and violence which occurred there in 2002. D-Company is also alleged to run the largest underground business in South Asia. Its operations include arms dealings, drug trafficking, hawala, organized crime and funding of terrorist organizations.

Gang wars between Chota Rajan and Dawood Ibrahim

Rajendra Sadashiv Nikhalje (Chotta Rajan's real name), was the sword arm of don Dawood Ibrahim till the two parted ways over the latter’s role in the Bombay blasts. Differences had arisen in 1992 itself after Dawood henchman Subhash Thakur killed three Chhota Rajan groupies. But after the blasts, they fell out completely, with Rajan positioning himself as a ‘patriotic don’ not wanting to betray his country, and challenging the hegemony of Dawood as a “people’s gangster”. Over a hundred men have been eliminated in five years since the inter-gang rivalry started in Mumbai. Some top D Company sharp shooters like Mohan Kuttian, Sadhu Shetty and Jaspal Singh too abandoned ship along with Chhota Rajan, who fled Dubai, Dawood’s stronghold, after the bitter parting of ways. Turf battles in Mumbai took the shape of tit-for-tat killings. In June 1995, the D Company killed hotelier Ramanath Payyade, who paid protection money to Chhota Rajan. Earlier, they killed film producerMukesh Duggal, who was reportedly an associate of Chhota Rajan. The latter served notice of his challenge to Dawood’s supremacy by killing ace sharp-shooter Sunil Sawant in August. Dawood’s retribution was swift and brutal. He got builder O P Kukreja, Chhota Rajan’s friend, gunned down. The challenger responded by getting East West Airlines managing director, Thakiyuddin Wahid, bumped off by hired killers in November 1995. But the most sensational killing was that of Mirza Dilshad Beg, Nepal MP and one time minister, who was reportedly a point man for Dawood in Nepal. In triumphant interviews to the media, Rajan claimed the scalp and said that the Indian intelligence agencies were aware of the plan to kill Beg, who was wanted by India for subversive activity.
Chota Rajan is believed to have assisted intelligence agencies in getting a low down on the activities of the D Company and its members using his intimate knowledge of the gang and its operations. To demonstrate his claims of being a Hindu don, Rajan threatened to kill those accused of engineering the Bombay bomb blasts. The most prominent accused to be killed was Saleem Kurla in April 1998, followed by Mohammad Jindran in June 1998 and Majid Khan on March 1, 1999. The D Company retaliated by killing Shiv Sena pramukh Mohammad Saleem. The Shiv Sena, which ruled Maharashtra along with the BJP from 1994 to 1999, is believed to have a soft corner for the ‘Hindu Don’. It is alleged that selective police action against the Dawood gangsters during the Shiv Sena regime and their elimination in encounters helped strengthen Rajan’s position, just as Dawood himself had benefitted in the 1980s. The Sena laid bare its affection for Chota Rajan in an editorial in Saamna, its mouthpiece, edited by Bal Thackeray. The editorial heaved a sigh of relief, attributing Chota rajan’s survival to “good fortune’’. Saamna alleges that Pakistani ISI was behind the move to kill Chota Rajan.[1]
In February 2010, Chotta Rajan gang assasinated Jamim Shah, a third-generation Nepali media baron of muslim Kashmiri origin. Shah allegedly had links with Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and was the kingpin of a racket producing fake Indian money in the Himalayan nation. His anti-India activities had rankled New Delhi for more than a decade and half.[

Haji Mastan

Haji Mastan Mirza popularly known as Haji Mastan or Bawa was a Bombay (Mumbai) gangster and smuggler in the 1960s and 70s. Mastan became the first celebrity gangster of the city, expanding his clout in the Indian film industry. As Mastan's influence in Bollywood grew, he began to produce films. He was also known for his links with the legendary actor Dilip Kumar.[2][3] During the Indian Emergency (1975 - 77) he was imprisoned. In prison he learnedHindi. Haji Mastan became a Muslim leader in 1984. He formed Dalit Muslim Surakhsha Maha Sangh in 1985, Which had Doulatram Kawle as a corporator. Aslam Kiratpuri a well known journalist, gave him ideas how to speak in public meetings after which he became a good speaker. He died in Mumbai in 1994.
Mastan Haider Mirza as born on 1 March 1926 into a farmer’s family in Panaikulam, a small village 20km from CuddaloreTamil Nadu.[4]. His father, Haider Mirza, was a hard-working but impoverished farmer, who came to Mumbai after failing to make ends meet in his village.Father and son reached the city in 1934. After trying their hand at odd jobs, they managed to set up a small shop where they repaired cycles and two-wheelers in Bengali Pura, near Crawford Market. Mastan soon realized that even after all the toil he could only make a meagre Indian Rupee symbol.svg5 a day.
As he would walk home to his basti from Crawford Market, he would see the grand theatres, Alfred ad Novelty, on south Mumbai’s Grant Road. He would stare at the cars of Mumbai’s rich and famous, their Malabar Hill bungalows, and dream. He wanted to be rich and famous
In 1944, Mastan joined the Bombay docks as a coolie[4]. His job was to unload huge boxes and containers of ships coming from AdenDubaiHong Kong and other cities. Here Mastan learnt a few tricks. The British levied import duty on the goods that came in and there was a good margin to be made if this could be evaded. In those days, Philips transistors and imported watches were a rage in Mumbai. Around that time, he met a man named Shaikh Mohammed Al Ghalib, an Arab by descent. Ghalib was looking for someone who was willing to help and support him do exactly the same.
Soon after independence, smuggling on a big scale was unheard of. There were petty smugglers dabbling in permissible quantities, which back then used to be six watches, two gold biscuits, four Philips transistors, and so on. The Arab told Mastan that being a coolie, it would be easy for him to tuck a couple of biscuits in his headband, stash a few watches in his underwear or a couple of transistors in his jhola. The Arab promised a good reward, and they were in business.
In 1950, Morarji Desai, chief minister of the then Bombay Presidency, imposed prohibition on liquor and other items. With such impositions in the state, the mafia of the time saw an opportunity to rake in more profits through smuggling.
The windfall came in 1956 when Mastan came in contact with Sukur Narayan Bakhia a resident of Daman and the biggest smuggler in Gujarat[4]. Bakhia and Mastan became partners and divided certain territories among themselves. Mastan handled the Bombay port and Bakhia the Daman port. The smuggled items would come to Daman port from the UAE and to Mumbai from Aden. Mastan took care of Bakhia’s consignments.
His rise was phenomenal. But Emergency took the wind out of his sails. The smuggler was incarcerated. The man who came out after 18 months in jail was reformed and surprisingly emerged a hero. During his jail term, he studied Hindi, the prominent language in Mumbai. Mastan Mirza began to introduce himself as Haji Mastan and began using the prefix of Haji, which refers to devout Muslims who have been on a pilgrimage to Mecca, before his name.
Haji Mastan planned his own foray into films with a project titled Mere Garib Nawaz and followed by other movies. He was a successful distributor and excelled in cinema business.
Haji Mastan with Dilip KumarSaira Banu in a function
Contrary to the general belief, Haji Mastan Mirza was never an underworld don or even a goon for that matter. He was a smuggler and a shrewd man who rubbed shoulders with the high and mighty of his era. Be it Karim Lala or Varadarajan MudaliarDilip Kumar or Shashi Kapoor. He had excellent relationship with DharmendraFeroz KhanRaj Kapoor and Sanjeev Kumar[5]. Salim and Amitabh often visited him while Deewar was in the pipeline. He also had friends from the world of politics. To an extent, he was a simple man at home, with bare minimum needs and facilities. Though a notorious smuggler he was apprehended and jailed by agencies many time around. Though he possessed a huge mansion in a posh locality off Peddar Road, opposite Sophia College, he virtually lived his life in a small room built on the terrace of his bungalow. He worshipped the sea and had a clear view of the ocean from his terrace abode.
But once out of his home, Haji Mastan was a man of style. Always clad in pure white designer wear, a pack of imported cigarettes in hand, Mastan used to travel in a chauffeur driven white Mercedes-Benz, a status symbol in those days.
His room used to be full of Tamil newspapers, specially flown in from Chennai as that was the only language that Mastan knew to read.
He made millions through smuggling gold, silver and electronic goods and was once arrested and detained under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities (COFEPOSA) Act during Emergency.
After all the cases against him were disposed off, Haji Mastan never indulged in smuggling again. He floated a political party and devoted time in holding periodic meetings with the poor and the needy in the minority community-dominated localities of south Mumbai and held public rallies at Mastan Talao near Nagpada police station. He also joined hands with anti-drug abuse activists like Dr Yusuf Merchant and implored the youth to stay away from killer drugs.
In the meantime, he courted a few Bollywood starlets and even tied the knot with a starlet called Sona.[5] He financed a few films for her. He gifted her a bungalow situated near actor Dev Anand's house at Juhu. He was a lonely man and had few but staunch friends. No wonder that when don Vardabhai (Varadarajan Mudaliar) died in Madras, Mastan chartered an Indian Airlines plane and brought his friend's body to Mumbai for last rites as was wished by Vardabhai.
In 1994, he died due to cardiac arrest.