Free Press Journal

5 Bollywood films on real-life dons that stand out

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Bollywood seems to be obsessed with making movies on gangsters, the underworld and dons in general. The list of movies in this category is endless, so let’s focus on films based on the real life of gangsters. Here are top five don movies in Bollywood, which take inspiration from real life.

Nayagan (1987)/ Dayavan (1988)
Varadarajan Mudaliar was like a Robin Hood to people from South India living in Mumbai during the 1980s. Director Mani Ratnam roped in Kamal Hassan to portray Sakthi Velu aka Velu Nayakan, inspired by the don. The film went on to win several awards, and Kamal Hassan won plaudits for his portrayal of an unsophisticated don. Later, Feroz Khan remade it in Bollywood as Dayavan. Here, Vinod Khanna portrayed Varadarajan

Company (2002)
Ram Gopal Verma directed this movie, which was a huge hit in 2002. It was based on the relationship between mob bosses Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan, who were very close to each other before the 1993 bomb blasts.


Black Friday (2007)
Based on a true event, Anurag Kashyap’s movie which probed the 1993 Mumbai blasts, saw Dawood and Tiger Memon being portrayed on screen. The 1993 blasts in Mumbai killed 257 people and the riots that occurred after the bombings. The movie had to face many troubles before it release. It was banned for many years, and was eventually released after a number of cuts.

Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai (2010)
One of the best movies on the life of gangster Haji Mastan, the film depicts how Mastan shot to fame in Mumbai and how he conquered the city. 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).

Shootout At Wadala (2013)
Director Snjay 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.