Guess what Bollywood movies like Don, Company, Vastav, Sarkar, Shootout At Lokhandwala, Shootout At Wadala, Black Friday, D Day, Once Upon A Time In Mumbai and Raees have in common? All these Bollywood movies have criminals as main protagonist.
WHY CRIMINALS & GANGSTERS?
You see normal life is boring. Many Bollywood directors who bank upon masala movies don’t see normal life as a perfect plot for a box office hit movie. On the other hand, a criminal character and his unlawful life have many colours. He has money, power, guns, bodyguards, real state, gold chains and girls. Pretty much everything for a real Bollywood masala movie.
IS IT ETHICAL?
Well, that’s a tough question. In India, where people look up to Bollywood for daily inspiration, it may not be a good idea to portray a criminal as a hero of society. Ideally, someone who indulges in illegal trade, keeps weapons and shoots at people without thinking twice, should not be shown as a hero to the masses. But then many Bollywood directors say that cinema is the reflection of the society and they show what people want to see.
WHY SO MUCH OF FUSS NOW?
Latest Bollywood release Raees starring Shahrukh Khan and Pakistani actress Mahira Khan is new buzz in Bollywood town. Raees Alam i.e. Shahrukh Khan’s character in Raees is a gangster in Gujarat who starts his criminal empire by dealing in prohibited liquor. The character, though not confirmed by the film’s makers, is alleged to be based on real-life gangster Abdul Latif who was a terror throughout Gujarat. Some sections of society are raising voice against glorification of a criminal’s life. Are they right to say so?
WHO WAS ABDUL LATIF?
Abdul Latif in his childhood served liquor at gambling points. And from there his journey to dark trades started. From small crimes to monopolizing illegal liquor trade in Gujarat, his stature grew multiple times. Soon, his ambitions started to grow unrealistically and because of his endless thirst for money and power, he got involved in hawala, contract killings and land dealings. He allegedly smuggled arms and ammunition through the villages of Gujarat western coast.
A MESSIAH TO MUSLIMS!
As you talk to people of Gujarat, Abdul Latif had an image of messiah among local Muslims. According to rumours and anecdotes, Abdul Latif took many poor and backward Muslim youth and got them jobs and shelter. Hindu section of Gujarat raised their voice against Abdul Latif for being communal.
CONNECTION WITH DAWOOD IBRAHIM
Abdul Latif was said to have contacts with Dawood Ibrahim, the most wanted terrorist in India. During one investigation, Abdul Latif revealed to investigators that during his 15 month stay in Karachi between August 1993 and December 1994, he met Dawood Ibrahim almost daily.
Abdul Latif was killed in an illegal ‘encounter’ with Gujarat Police in Ahmedabad in 1997. After his arrest, that time Gujarat Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel became popular in Hindu community. Latif, was kept in Sabarmati Central Jail. Latif allegedly escaped from jail but he was arrested back to his jail following an investigation. Police shot him dead in encounter.
ABDUL LATIF’S FAMILY ON RAEES
Mustak, son of Abdul Latif had issues with Rahul Dholakia, the director Shahrukh Khan movie Raees. Latif’s family lawyer Harsh Gajjar told Indian Express, “There were 97 cases against Latif in his life time. These cases were for bootlegging and serious offences under TADA, however, at no point he ran a brothel or used women for delivering liquor. By attributing such false claims in the movie trailer, the respondents have defamed the family’s image in the society.”
SO IT IS CONTROVERSIAL. BUT WILL YOU WATCH RAEES?
You have to decide this for yourself. In our view, criminals are definitely not our heroes. Anything which glorifies criminals and gangsters, should be condemned. But we live in a free society. You have to take call keeping its impact on your kids.