Appetite For Destruction: Exploring Bollywood’s Relationship With The Underworld
With Daddy releasing this week, we are excited out of our senses and can’t wait to watch Arjun Rampal deliver a performance of a lifetime with his portrayal of Arun Gawli. In fact, even without having watched the film, we’ll go ahead and say that he is probably the most sinister looking gangster ever in Bollywood. Better than Gangs Of Wasseypur 2‘s Nawazuddin Siddiqui, better than Company‘s Vivek Oberoi, better than Satya‘s Manoj Bajpai and probably better than Sarkar‘s Amitabh Bachchan.
All of the above mentioned films have been successful in exploring the dark underbelly of the mafia world. Where relationships end with a gun shot, the main concern that people have is to stay alive and take revenge – but even with such stressful lives, these gangsters do have a little bit of good and a lot of love in them. The relationship between Company‘s Chandu (Vivek Oberoi) and Kannu (Antara Mali). Then, you have the extremely endearing chemistry that Faizal Khan (Nawazuddin Siddiqui) shared with Mohsina (Huma Qureshi).
In terms of combat or confrontation scenes too, several Bollywood directors have been able to do things with elan on several occasions.
Sample this great scene from Company, where Chandu (Vivek Oberoi’s debut performance) stares Malik (Ajay Devgn), a big time gangster straight in the eye and says in chaste Mumbai tapori lingo, “We make so much money just like that. What’s the point of working with you then?”
Then, there are scenes like this one from Black Friday, where you see how gangsters react when they know they are going to have to run for their lives if they want to protect themselves.
Even in real life, gangsters have been involved romantically with heroines. Probably the most famous link-up being between Monica Bedi and Abu Salem. Mandakini of Ram Teri Ganga Maili fame was involved with the big daddy of all gangsters Dawood Ibrahim.
In terms of funding too, the underworld has often been linked with financing movies like Salman Khan starrer Chori Chori Chupke Chupke. You’ll even find photos of Dawood Ibrahim rubbing shoulders with Bollywood’s top guns like Salman and Anil Kapoor.
Coming back to films, it’s not like the underworld has always been portrayed well. Like all genres, even the mafia films have its share of bad apples. Films like Shootout at Wadala, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai Dobaara, Plan and Satya 2 are some examples where the makers got it all wrong.
But that doesn’t seem to be the case with Daddy. Arjun Rampal and Ashim Ahluwalia, have gone to great lengths to shoot the film in realistic locations. “I am in the middle of Kamathipura and a brothel, and it’s Eid. There are 10,000 people outside because they know there’s a shoot. There’s a real gangster downstairs who is shouting and calling Arjun down, and saying, ‘Main kaat daalega tere ko,’ (I will cut you down!)” director Ashim Ahluwalia said in an interview.
This level of dedication to shoot something so realistic, must be appreciated and hopefully, we won’t be disappointed when we see this film in theaters this week.