Mumbai is the land where Bollywood triumphs, the underworld rules while the common man stares on as a mere spectator. The underworld goons have taken it on them to afflict filmmakers and top stars for money.
Extortion calls are made; some are threatened for life while the others are threatened for the life of their family. Either ways, celebrities are troubled and worried. It’s definitely not a first time for them and surely won’t be the last.
Among the long list of celebs who have been troubled, Sajid Nadiadwala has been the latest bakra (read scapegoat) in the program. Buzz is that Sajid Nadiadwala whose production Housefull which is in the line-up for this month would be a sure shot money spinner.
Underworld haunts Sajid Nadiadwala (Reuters)
Taking advantage of the situation, some goons barged into the compound of Nadiadwala's office and left a number, allegedly linked to the so-called gangster, Ejaz Lakdawala. Although, this has affected Sajid, taking it in his stride he has taken necessary precautions and protection.
Earlier last year, UTV head Ronnie Screwvala had got a similar threat by the Pujari gang. They forced themselves into his office and were trying to hunt him down for his so-called support to gangster Dawood.
Some years ago, Rakesh Roshan and Hrithik Roshan were facing the horrors of another popular mafia gang. The situation was much worse as Rakesh Roshan was not only threatened but was also shot at. Papa Roshan was hospitalised and underwent an operation to remove the bullet that had hit his left arm. This was said to be the work of Abu Salem splinter group of Dawood Ibrahim. In spite of registering complaints with the police the filmmaker kept getting threatening calls.
Shah Rukh Khan has always had controversies circulating him. This however was scarier than the aftermath of any controversy. Apparently, SRK was approached by Nazim Rizvi for a film which he refused to do. On account of that he got threatening calls from Chotta Shakeel and Abu Salem. Buzz is that Shah Rukh was also called demanding a sum of Rs 2 crore by gangster Bunty Pandey. The actor lodged a complaint with city police and the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS).
Around this time, Preity Zinta was also subjected to this trauma. She received extortion calls to pay Rs 50 lakh or face the consequences. She confided in Nazim Rizvi and Sanjay Dutt. Zinta claims that she was not threatened to work in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke but had in fact received Rs 25 lakh for the film.
The hot headed man Mahesh Bhatt has also faced his share of scare fare from the underworld. In 2007 an unknown group entered his office in juhu and fired a bullet randomly. However, no one was hurt in the process. This was mainly done to scare Bhatt from releasing his film Dhokha which dealt with a sensitive issue. But Bhatt did not cow down that easy.
Surely there are a lot more names in the list and a lot more to come as crime in Mumbai is a never ending racket. But there are some who fight back. Hoping to see more rebels in Bollywood.
By Letty Mariam Abraham