Bollywood films & their love for real-life gangsters: Gangubai Kathiawadi to Haseena Parkar

Updated: Feb 25, 2022, 09:57 PM(IST)

Bollywood’s love and audience madness for gangster films is not a strange thing for anyone. Over the years, makers have shown the life and times of the most famous gangster and decoits on the silver screen. Adding one more to the list is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's latest outing 'Gangubai Kathiawadi', which is based on the real-life of the most powerful, loved and respected madams of Mumbai’s red-light area Kamathipura.

Before Gangubai Kathiawadi, here’s a list of movies based on the life of real-life mob bosses.

Gangubai Kathiawadi

Those who missed Alia Bhatt's outstanding performance in  'Gangubai Kathiawadi' in theatres, can watch the movie now. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali directorial is a biographical drama, based on chapters from the book ‘Mafia Queens Of Mumbai’ by Hussain Zaidi.

The movie is streaming on Netflix.


Once Upon a time in Mumbai

Ajay Devgn starrer gangster drama 'Once Upon a Time in Mumbai' is loosely based on the life of Haji Mastan and how he organised Mumbai's underworld under his leadership. He was active in the 1960s and 1970s. Director Milan Luthria kept the narration of the movie extremely dramatic, with the set scenes, dialogues and other things, that managed to entertain the audience.

In the movie, Ajay played the role of  Mastan and his disciple Dawood Ibrahim (Emraan Hashmi).


Haseena Parkar

The Apoorva Lakhia directorial 'Haseena Parkar' traces the life of Dawood Ibrahim's sister Haseena Parkar and her rise in Mumbai's male-dominated underworld and how she turned into the Godmother of Nagpada.The movie stars real life siblings Shraddha and Siddhanth Kapoor as Haseena and Dawood. 

The movie received lukewarm reviews from the critics and audience as well. 


Shootout at Wadala

Director Sanjay Gupta’s film 'Shootout at Wadala' follows the story of a real-life Mumbai gangster Manya Surv. The movie based on the book 'Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia' by Hussain Zaidi follows the story of gangster Surve, played by John Abraham, in real life. He was one of the educated gangsters who graduated from college and was known for his daredevilry and strategic planning. 

After his prominence rise in a short time span, he was killed in 1982 by Maharashtra Police which is regarded as Bombay's first encounter killing. The audience loved the film, which turned out to be commercially successful. 



Ram Gopal Verma made the film on one of the most wanted brigand Veerappan and his associates, who were dominant in Sathyamangalam Forest in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. The film follows the story of Veerappan, who was active for 36 years, kidnapped major politicians for ransom and covered the events leading to Operation Cocoon, a mission to capture and kill him. 

The 2017 movie received positive reviews with critics praising narration, production design, direction and performances of Sandeep Bharadwaj, and Usha Jadav.


Bandit Queen

The 1994 movie 'Bandit Queen' is based on the real-life of Phoolan Devi as covered in the book India's 'Bandit Queen: The True Story of Phoolan Devi' by the Indian author Mala Sen.

Phoolan Devi was a bandit, who surrendered to police, spent years in jail and was later elected to the Indian Parliament.



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