Ruthless and a daredevil, Abdul Latif was among the most wanted gangsters of the ’90s. The Gujarat-based gangster is back in the news because of reports alleging that Shah Rukh Khan’s character in his upcoming Raees is based on Latif. The man who started as a small-time gambler and bootlegger went on to become a fierce underworld don who would have run-ins with rival gangs both in India and abroad. This includes an attempt on the life of Dawood Ibrahim who later on became his associate. He also had a Robinhood image in the society and was known for helping the poor.
However, despite SRK playing a bootlegger in the film, the makers of Raees have said the film is not based on any real life story and is a pure work of fiction. The clarification comes in the wake of reports that Shah Rukh’s character in the film is inspired by about Gujarat-based gangster Abdul Latif.
“We are overwhelmed with the positive and encouraging response showered on the trailer of ‘Raees’ and we certainly hope that the pouring of love shall continue upon the release of the film as well,” read a joint statement issued on behalf of Shah Rukh, Ritesh Sidhwani, Farhan Akhtar and director Rahul Dholakia. The statement further read: “In view of certain media reports that claim that the film ‘Raees’ is based on a real life story and rumours to that effect being circulated, we take this opportunity to clarify that the story of the film ‘Raees’ is a pure work of fiction, Not based on any person; living or dead. All those making such claims, will realise it themselves, once they see the film. It is an imagined crime thriller set against the backdrop of Gujarat.”
Set in 1980s Gujarat, Raees tells the story of a bootlegger whose business is thwarted by a tough policeman. The film is produced by Excel Entertainment and Red Chillies Entertainment. The film also features Nawazuddin Siddiqui and marks the Bollywood debut of Pakistani actress Mahira Khan.
Watch Raees trailer here.
Who was Abdul Latif
A gambler, bootlegger, kidnapper, extortionist and a hired assassin, Abdul Latif began as a bootlegger and card sharp and went on to become a mafia don in 80s and 90s Gujarat. In fact, his name also sent shivers down the spine of people in Rajasthan, Daman, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karachi and Dubai. A Robinhood-style gangster who dabbled in all kinds of illicit trades, dabbled in politics and ruthlessly targetted his opponents, he died in a police encounter on November 29, 1997.