Despite being an unethical means of livelihood, Underworld Mafia has always excited the people all across the world. Indians are not spared either from being smitten by the underworld mafia. And, this is the main reason why so many films in India, especially in the Bollywood, have centred on the mafia world and sometimes even real life mafia criminals.
While most of the movies are based on the same old Good vs. Bad theme, there are a few exceptions that try to show us how corruption and misuse of the power can misdirect a common into becoming a gangster. However, whatever is the cause of the character becoming an underworld gangster, the fate of the character in the film is either death or a jail sentence, hence, sustaining our faith in justice.
Also, if you try to keep the unethical profession out of the equation here, there’s so much to learn and get inspired from about passion, focus and determination, of course only in ethical means.
So, if you are a big Godfather fan, then try these Bollywood films based on Underworld Mafia or Gangsters in particular.
Top Bollywood Films on Underworld Mafia and Gangsters
One of Amitabh Bachchan’s classic hits, Don is on the top of our list among the best Bollywood films on underworld mafia and gangsters. Directed by Chandra Barot, the film is not a typical gangster film that we see now a days. The entire theme of the mafia in the film is derived from the likes of the Italian or Russian mafia, where the Don is highly sophisticated personnel instead of a rogue gangster. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Don to the perfection and develops a whole new image for mafia Don in Bollywood.
The 1990 action thriller film Shiva takes the 2nd spot on our list. The film is from an era when RGV was considered not a joke but a brilliant filmmaker. The film also marks the debut of Telugu superstar Nagarjuna in the Hindi film industry. Also, this 1990 film is actually the remake of RGV’s own 1989 Telugu film Siva with the same actors. Although a box office hit, Nagarjuna didn’t make it long in the Hindi film industry.
Dayavan is a Hindi remake of Kamal Haasan’s epic 1987 film Nayagan. In the Hindi remake, Vinod Khanna plays the role of Shakti Velu, which was donned by Haasan in the original film. Alongside Khanna, the film also stars Madhuri Dixit and Feroz Khan in important roles. The film follows the story of a slum dweller Shakti Velu and his journey of becoming a Don in the city of Mumbai, then Bombay.
Well, Amitabh Bachchan is one of the icons that the world of cinema has ever seen in the last millennium. With a number of hits since the 70s, this Shahanshah of Bollywood has been entertaining us for almost 5 decades with an array of versatile characters. However, of all these characters he played, the role of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in the 1990 film Agneepath stands out as the best mainly because of the attitude he carries throughout the film. The epic dialogue where he introduces himself at the police station steals the show entirely and is one of the best dialogues in the Indian film industry.
Black Friday (2004)
Black Friday is one of the best film based on Real life story, directed by Anurag Kashyap. Black Friday is all about 1993 Bombay bomb Blast investigation. The film shares complete story and planning of Mumbai underworld for 1993 Bomb Blast. Anurag Kashyap made this film so real that he didn’t even change any name. He used real names of all characters even Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and all other terrorists.
Parinda is a 1989 crime film starring the likes of Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar, and Madhuri Dixit. Directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the film tries to showcase the life of real-life underworld gangsters and their impact on the residents in the city of Mumbai. The film was recently remade in Hollywood as Broken Horses by Vidhu Vinod Chopra himself.
Another RGV marvel, Satya is also based on the Mumbai underworld and focuses on the life of a common man who visits the city of opportunities to try his fortune but gets sucked into the dark life of the Mumbai underworld. This 1998 film was the first film of the Indian Gangster trilogy by Ram Gopal Varma. J.D. Chakravarthy was cast in the titular role as Satya alongside other talented actors like Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Saurabh Shukla, and Shefali Shah.
Despite so many good gangster films on the list, I considered the 1999 crime drama Vaastav to be the best among the lot. Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the film follows the life of Raghu, played by Sanjay Dutt, and his journey of becoming the most notorious gangster in the Mumbai underworld. The film basically tells us the rise and downfall of a gangster, which was quite common at a time in the Mumbai underworld society.
The second film of the Indian Gangster trilogy created by RGV, the 2002 crime drama Company mainly focuses on the lives of Chandu, played by Vivek Oberoi, and Malik, played by Ajay Devgn. Primarily based on Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company, this RGV film also imitates the real-life rivalry between Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan through the characters of Malik and Chandu. Besides Oberoi and Devgn, the film also has Manisha Koirala, Mohanlal, Seema Biswas, and Antra Mali in important roles.
Maqbool is an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth through the eyes of Vishal Bharadwaj. Although the film is an adaption of Macbeth, the characters, and theme of the film is slightly changed to suit the Indian audience. Just like the play, the story of the film follows the life of Maqbool, who is the right-hand man of Jahangir Khan, an underworld don. Things start getting ugly when Nimmi, Khan’s mistress, and Maqbool get romantically involved and ploy to kill Jahangir Khan, so Maqbool could take over the reins from Khan as the new don.
If there’s one man who could reprise the role of Marlon Brando as Godfather in India, then it is without a doubt, Amitabh Bachchan. Hence, Ram Gopal Varma roped in Mr. Bachchan to play the Godfathersque role inspired by Bal Thackrey as Subhash Nagre in the 2005 film Sarkar. With this film, RGV tries to display the world of Marathi politics and crime through the family of Subhash Nagre that includes his two sons; Shankar Nagre, played by Abhishek Bachchan, and Vishnu Nagre, played by Kay Kay Menon.
Gangaajal is a 2003 crime drama film directed by Prakash Jha. Starring the likes of Ajay Devgn, Gracy Singh, Mohan Joshi and Mukesh Tiwari in important roles, the film follows the story of an honest police officer SP Amit Kumar taking charge of a fictitious town in Bihar that is highly dominated by the local don Sadhu Yadav and his goons. From there, starts the fight between the good and the evil, at the end of which the good triumphs. The film also dramatizes the real-life blinding incident at Bhagalpur.
While most of the films on the list are centred upon the crime and the Indian underworld society, the 1991 film Sadak is different as the theme of the film is romance. Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film tells us the story of a budding romance between a taxi-driver Ravi, played by Sanjay Dutt, and a young girl Pooja, played by Pooja Bhatt, who is locked up in a brothel run by a eunuch Maharani, played by Sadashiv Amrapurkar. After freeing Pooja from Maharani, Ravi must fight for the protection of not only himself but also his friends.