Like a first love that will eventually break your heart, but the flutters of which can be avoided by none, was Bollywood’s initial encounter with the underworld. To begin with the film “industry” was not eligible for legitimate commercial financing or bank credit. Movies were financed by investors from construction and trade industries, who charged interest rates as high as 60-100%. It was only in the year 2000 that the Indian government added Bollywood to the list of industries recognized by the government and eligible for bank financing.
It doesn’t take Einstein to point out that while the Indian mafia rolled in funds that needed legitimization, the film industry was in need of big ticket investors with a fair interest policy. The Bollywood underworld nexus was a match waiting to happen. It was in 2011 that a Wikileaks cable issued by the US consulate in Mumbai elaborated the connection between Bollywood and the underworld, “The industry also welcomed funds from gangsters and politicians, looking for ways to launder their ill-gotten gains, known in India as ’black money,’ said the cable.
With big money in the mix Bollywood has seen numerous assassination attempts as well as murders. Perhaps the most gruesome and glaring example of the underworlds presence in Bollywood was the assassination of Gulshan Kumar in 1997, the self made owner of T-series was gunned down in broad day light outside a temple he had built in Mumbai. It is alleged that the musical duo Nadeem-Shravan were a party to this plot. That same year producer Mukesh Duggal was shot to death, highlighting further the mafia-movies nexus.
A third example for 1997 is producer Manmohan Shetty who survived an attempt on his life. In 2000 director Rajiv Rai after the release of “Pyar Ishq aur Mohabbat” escaped a plot to kidnap and murder him, he consequently has now settled down in England.
A similar incident which was also open for the public’s view was an attempt on the life of producer-director Rakesh Roshan. We remember him for his roles in movies like “Khubsoorat” and for the numerous hits he has given us as a producer-director such as “Krish”, “Kites”, “Koi Mil Gaya” etc. The unfortunate incident occurred after his sons blockbuster debut “Kaho Na Pyar Hai”, the Roshan’s refused to supply the don Abu Salem a cut of the movies overseas earnings resulting in bullets being fired at him and injuring him severely.
The murder of actress Manisha Koirala’s secretary is also linked to the Mafioso.
While some movies such as “Chori Chori Chupke Chupke” are bankrolled by the underworld, most of the examples above are those of bollywood personalities whose fame and success independent of the mafia nexus has cost them their lives. So we may easily conclude that the economics of the film industry is handled majorly by the dons. If it is not their money that is financing a movie, it a movie that has done well independent of their involvement that shall finance their lifestyle.
One way or the other the balance scale is always tilted.