From Company to D-Day, 5 must-watch movies on Dawood Ibrahim’s journey

NEW DELHI | Updated: 18 December, 2023 7:58 pm IST

NEW DELHI: Movies often draw inspiration from real-life events and personalities, and one such figure who has become a significant muse for filmmakers is Dawood Ibrahim. Dawood Ibrahim, born on December 26, 1955, in Mumbai, is a notorious Indian mob boss, drug lord, and alleged mastermind behind the 1993 Mumbai bombings. His involvement in organised crime, and terrorism, and his elusive nature have made him a compelling subject for filmmakers exploring the dark underbelly of Mumbai’s underworld. Dawood’s influence extended globally through his criminal syndicate, D-Company, and his notoriety reached its peak after the Bombay bombings, leading to his designation as a global terrorist with a substantial reward on his head.

Numerous films have been crafted around characters loosely based on Dawood Ibrahim, offering audiences a glimpse into the complex world of crime, power, and intrigue. These cinematic depictions often explore the rise and fall of underworld figures, their impact on society, and the challenges faced by law enforcement in dealing with such notorious personalities. Whether portrayed as a central character or looming in the background, Dawood Ibrahim’s shadow has cast a long and enduring presence in the realm of Indian cinema.

1. Company (2002)


‘Company’ helmed by director Ram Gopal Varma, offers a gripping fictional narrative delving into the tumultuous journey of two underworld kingpins, drawing inspiration from the lives of Dawood Ibrahim and his one-time associate Chhota Rajan. The film is a compelling portrayal of the ascent and downfall of these notorious figures, with Ajay Devgn taking on the role of Malik, the character inspired by Dawood Ibrahim, and Vivek Oberoi portraying Chandu, a protégé-turned-rival. The movie adeptly captures the intricacies of the Mumbai underworld, shedding light on the complex relationships between crime, politics, and the personal and professional conflicts that define the lives of these gangsters.

Set against the backdrop of the Mumbai crime scene, ‘Company’ not only unfolds a riveting tale of power struggles and alliances but also serves as a mirror reflecting the symbiotic relationship between the criminal underworld and the political sphere. With a stellar cast and Varma’s directorial prowess, the film provides a visceral exploration of the murky underworld dynamics, offering audiences a cinematic experience that intertwines crime, ambition, and the consequences of a life immersed in the shadowy realms of power and betrayal.

2. Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)


‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ directed by Apoorva Lakhia, unfolds as a gritty and intense portrayal of the real-life encounter between the Mumbai Police and the formidable gang led by Maya Dolas, a notorious hitman associated with the D-Company, on November 16, 1991. Vivek Oberoi steps into the role of Maya Dolas, capturing the ruthless demeanour of the underworld figure, while Sanjay Dutt, Suniel Shetty, and Arbaaz Khan portray the determined police officers involved in the high-stakes operation. The film meticulously traces the events leading up to the infamous shootout, the meticulously planned police operation, and the consequential aftermath, providing audiences with a raw and unflinching narrative of this significant episode in Mumbai’s criminal history.

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In addition to its action-packed sequences, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ also features Amitabh Bachchan as a lawyer defending the gangsters in court. This adds a layer of complexity to the narrative, exploring the legal dimensions surrounding the criminal underworld. The film serves as a gripping exploration of the intricate dynamics between law enforcement and organised crime, shedding light on the challenges faced by police officers while offering a nuanced perspective on the legal system’s engagement with notorious figures like Maya Dolas and his associates.

3. Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010)


‘Once Upon a Time in Mumbai’ directed by Milan Luthria, stands as a cinematic ode to the intriguing era of the 1970s and 1980s in Mumbai, offering a fictionalised narrative inspired by the rise of two legendary underworld figures – Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim. Ajay Devgn embodies the character of Sultan Mirza, drawing inspiration from the life of Haji Mastan, a notorious smuggler-turned-don, while Emraan Hashmi portrays Shoaib Khan, loosely based on the rise of Dawood Ibrahim. The film masterfully captures the essence of this transformative period in Mumbai’s history, evolving from a city of dreams to one dominated by the shadows of organised crime. Through its compelling storyline, the movie delves into the intricacies of the gangster world, exploring the dynamics of rivalry and romance that define the lives of these notorious figures.

The film’s narrative unfolds against the backdrop of a city undergoing profound changes, reflecting the societal and cultural shifts in Mumbai during the specified decades. Ajay Devgn’s portrayal of Sultan Mirza and Emraan Hashmi’s depiction of Shoaib Khan lend depth to the characters, portraying their journey from ambitious individuals to influential underworld dons. Milan Luthria skillfully weaves together elements of crime, passion, and power, creating a cinematic canvas that not only entertains but also offers a reflective glimpse into the historical evolution of Mumbai’s underworld.

4. D-Day (2013)


‘D-Day’ (2013), directed by Nikhil Advani, emerges as a gripping spy thriller centred on a covert mission to apprehend Dawood Ibrahim portrayed as Iqbal Seth in the film. The narrative unfolds as four Indian agents, played by Arjun Rampal, Irrfan Khan, Huma Qureshi, and Shruti Haasan, undertake a daring mission to infiltrate Pakistan and capture the elusive underworld figure. Rishi Kapoor takes on the role of Iqbal Seth, adding a layer of complexity to the character as the agents navigate the challenges and risks involved in bringing down one of the most wanted men in India. The film not only captivates audiences with its suspenseful plot but also delves into the intricate web of international intelligence, showcasing the roles of the ISI and the United States in both protecting and pursuing the fugitive, further intensifying the high-stakes mission.

‘D-Day’ skillfully weaves together elements of action, espionage, and drama, offering a nuanced exploration of the complexities surrounding the pursuit of a high-profile criminal. The film not only focuses on the tactical aspects of the mission but also delves into the personal and emotional struggles faced by the agents, emphasising the sacrifices and risks associated with their quest for justice. With a stellar cast and a compelling narrative, ‘D-Day’ unfolds as a riveting cinematic experience that goes beyond the surface of a traditional action thriller, offering a thought-provoking perspective on the global dynamics at play in the pursuit of notorious figures like Dawood Ibrahim.

5. Haseena Parkar (2017)


‘Haseena Parkar’ (2017), directed by Apoorva Lakhia, unfolds as a compelling biographical drama shedding light on the remarkable life of Haseena Parkar, the sister of Dawood Ibrahim, who earned the moniker ‘Queen of Mumbai’ in the wake of her brother’s departure from the country. The film meticulously traces Haseena’s transformation from a simple housewife to a formidable and feared figure, navigating the complexities of the Mumbai underworld. Anchored by a powerful performance from Shraddha Kapoor in the titular role and Siddhanth Kapoor as Dawood Ibrahim, the movie captures the nuances of Haseena’s journey, showcasing her ascent to power and the crime empire she managed in Mumbai.

Set against the backdrop of significant historical events, this movie also delves into the impact of the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts and the 2002 Gujarat riots on Haseena’s life. These pivotal moments in India’s history serve as critical turning points, shaping the narrative and influencing Haseena’s trajectory. The film not only explores the criminal dynamics of the Mumbai underworld but also offers a poignant portrayal of the personal struggles and challenges faced by Haseena Parkar in a male-dominated and often ruthless environment. Through Shraddha Kapoor’s compelling portrayal, the audience is taken on a journey that goes beyond the headlines, providing a nuanced perspective on the life of a woman who rose to prominence in the shadow of her notorious brother.

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