March 30 2020
Bollywood in bad company
13 February 2018

The Mumbai underworld has been a source of inspiration for Bollywood, particularly after Dawood Ibrahim became a household name.

A slew of films featuring multiple characters from the underworld have hit the screens over the years, with the latest being a movie on Sapna Didi by Vishal Bhardwaj starring Deepika Padukone.

Here, we take a look at recent movies, big and small, which have used Mumbai's dark underbelly to tell a story.

Ram Gopal Varma’s Gangster series

The murder of music producer Gulshan Kumar led Ram Gopal Varma to explore the underworld and make three movies (and a fourth barely-known one) — SatyaCompany and D. Actor Saurabh Shukla and director Anurag Kashyap co-wrote Satya, while Company was written by Chak De! India writer Jaideep Sahni. D, though not directed by Ram Gopal Varma, was written by him.

Black Friday

Based on the 1993 Mumbai blasts, this Anurag Kashyap film explored the background to the bombings. The movie had an international release first and an Indian release two years later as it was held back until the TADA court gave its verdict on the blasts case.


Though critically acclaimed, D-Day did not make a mark on the public consciousness. This Arjun Rampal-starrer had a strong cast consisting Huma Qureshi, Irrfan Khan, Rishi Kapoor and Nassar, and was directed by Nikhil Advani.

Once Upon a Time in Mumbai

Based on the lives of Dawood Ibrahim and his consigliere Haji Mastan, this Ajay Devgn and Emraan Hashmi movie was critically acclaimed and it depicts the growth of the two criminal masterminds.

Shootout at Wadala and Shootout at Lokhandwala

Shootout at Lokhandwala directed by Apoorva Lakhia is based on the 1991 Lokhhandwala complex gunbattle between the police and Mumbai gangsters. The film has an ensemble cast of Vivek Oberoi, Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjay Dutt, Sunil Shetty among others. Shootout at Wadala, pegged as a prequel, was released in 2013. Starring John abraham, Anil Kapoor, Kangana Ranaut and Manoj Bajpayee, the film is adapted from Hussain Zaidi’s book Dongri to Dubai. The movie follows the encounter of Mumbai police in which gangster Manya Surve was shot dead.


This Shah Rukh Khan-starrer made waves even before its release. Said to be based on the life story of criminal Abdul Latif, Raees follows an underworld don who takes to bootlegging but also has a Robin Hood streak. The film had an insipid run at the box office. However, according to a study, Raees was shared by 62 lakh users in the online world.


Written and directed by Ashim Ahluwalia, Daddy is a 2017 gangster flick that stars Arjum Rampal, Aishwarya Rajesh and Farhan Akhtar among others. The story, based on the life of gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli, is narrated from multiple points of view and focuses on the transition of the gangster to a politician who went on to be called ‘Daddy.’

Haseena Parkar

This biographical crime flick is directed by Apoorva Lakhia and is based on the life of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena Parkar. While Shraddha Kapoor plays the role of Haseena, Siddhanth Kapoor is Dawood in the film. The story follows the life and times of Haseena who goes on to become the Aapa or the Godmother who rules the world of crime from Nagpada in the absence of her brother.



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