Tuesday, October 15, 2002

The Role of the Underworld in Indian Film

Interesting article in TIME asia about the intertwining roles of the mafia and the Bollywood film Industry. Among the interesting tidbits:

"The top star on Shakeel's speed-dial list is Sanjay Dutt, son of actor-politician Sunil Dutt and the luminous Nargis (the two starred in 1957's Mother India, the Hindi Gone With the Wind). Bollywood's alltime bad boy, Sanjay has a past littered with drugs, a love of guns and implication in a series of bomb blasts in Bombay in 1993. His alleged taped conversation with Shakeel sounds innocuous; it would put anyone but a government eavesdropper to sleep. Dutt asks about a promised mobile phone connection (which he could well afford on his own). He complains about the chronic tardiness of fellow star Govinda, who appeared with Dutt—and Bedi—in the 2001 film Jodi No. 1. The tape is pure verbal gargle, but dicey for Dutt: Shakeel is a wanted criminal who had been sheltered by India's archenemy, Pakistan.

Or consider the plight of Bharat Shah, the producer who corralled megastars Shahrukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai and Madhuri Dixit for Devdas. Shah has more troubles than a screenwriter could dream up. First, the police claim he was one of Shakeel's long-distance phone chums. Then rival don Abu Salem boasted of his investment in Devdas. Shah was arrested in January 2001, accused of being a front man for the Mob, and was jailed for months before getting bail. Now he's caught between two sets of gangsters. That raises, as they say, loyalty issues; it's like playing the Bosnians against the Serbs. Either group could kill Shah for being a traitor."

I wonder why more is not being done on the Indian police end to stop this. It is almost a "wink wink, nod nod" situation, where everyone knows this is happenning, but nothing is being done to stop it. People like Abu Salem, Chota Shakeel, and Dawood Ibrahim are all wanted in India, yet, they continue to finance movies and be at large. Salem and Ibrahim are both thought to be involved with the 93 blasts, and all three are regularly being blamed for causing chaos through shootouts, extorsion, and murder in Mumbai.


Post a Comment

<< Home