For years,Dawood Ibrahim has gripped Bollywood’s imagination.

When actor Sonu Sood was offered the role of Dilawar — a character inspired by Dawood Ibrahim — in Shootout at Wadala,he was excited and nervous at the same time. “It was a role which needed mental and physical preparation. At the same time,it was a role most actors would give their right arm for,” says Sood. He grew a moustache,explored the bylanes of Mumbai and watched the few footages of the don that were available.

The makers,however,are now claiming this to be a work of fiction. This does not come as a surprise. In the past,too,filmmakers have steered clear of using the name Dawood on screen. Ram Gopal Varma’s Company saw Ajay Devgn as Dawood playing mentor to Vivek Oberoi as Chhota Rajan. It’s prequel D,directed by Vishram Sawant,dealt with the formation of the “D company”,again keeping the don’s name away from the film. Just two years ago,Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai,showcased the story of Haji Mastan and Dawood Ibrahim,but the makers denied any such resemblance. One of the filmmakers,who has made a movie inspired by the underworld don,says,“There are a lot of legalities involved. It is best not to use real names and,instead,spin a fictional story around real-life incidents.”

Despite the nitty-gritty involved,Bollywood continues to be enamoured by Dawood. This year alone,there are as many as five films that have taken inspiration from the life and times of the gangster-in-hiding. Besides,Shootout At Wadala,which is a story of Dawood and his arch-rival Manya Surve,Nikhil Advani’s D-Day will have Rishi Kapoor play a role inspired by the gangster. Milan Luthria returns with the sequel to Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai. The sequel will take the story of Dawood forward. This time,however,Akshay Kumar will replace Emraan Hashmi.

Two other movies,The Bhai and Lakeer Ka Fakeer,will take a look at Dawood’s early life. Thomas Jacob,who has directed The Bhai,however,denied any reference to the underworld don. He says,“The film is a contemporary retelling based on the lives of dons who ruled the Mumbai underworld. It is the journey of Aamir,a character played by Abhimanyu Singh,and his brothers from being young hoodlums to dangerous gangsters.”


Lakeer Ka Fakeer,which is directed by Dawood’s relative Zubair Khan,is said to be the untold story of Dawood’s early life. Ajaz Khan,who essays the role of the young Dawood says,“No one is born to be a gangster nor does one intend to. There are circumstances which force one to become one. Through this film,we have tried to put together the life of Dawood before he became a gangster.”

Over the years,Dawood’s stories have fascinated the audience. Sood says,“Crime and glamour go hand in hand. Dawood is someone we have read so much about,but not seen. When films are based on him,it triggers curiosity.” Khan agrees with him. “There is a certain enigma associated with the man. And makers try to unravel it in various ways,which keeps the audience hooked,” he says.