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PIX: The 'Gangs' Of Bollywood

Last updated on: August 7, 2012 16:22 IST

PIX: The 'Gangs' Of Bollywood

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai
No story is complete without conflict. And in films about mafia, it's not just the police but the persisting rivalry between two evils or gangs, as they're fittingly called, brings about the much-needed spectacle and cunning.

With Gangs of Wasseypur, the first instalment of Anurag Kashyap's groovy dollop documenting the flourishing coalmine mafia, (nothing short of an epic saga), it spans through generations and guns.

It's a fairly spread-out yarn that makes indulgent a pretty word with its swaggering show of lust and altercations through three clans -- Khans, Singhs and Qureshis. While the first part provided a gloriously intricate set-up, the second and final half of Wasseypur is expected to be a no-holds barred celebration of stylised violence.

As we anticipate some hard-hitting action to hit the screens this Friday, here's looking at the various depictions of Gangs in Bollywood over the years:    

Mere Apne

The curse of unemployment can truly play on the young, anxious psyche as Gulzar succinctly articulates in his film, Mere Apne.

While the events of its story work on multiple levels, here we concentrate on the constant squabbling between  the jobless Shyam and Chainu -- Vinod Khanna and Shatrughan Sinha's rival gangs representing mild (compared to what we witness today) hooliganism, which often translate to street fights and verbal bashing.

Meena Kumari's wise, elderly lady is the only common accord between these two warring souls.

Image: Poster of Mere Apne


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Don

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In this action thriller about muddled identities and convenient lookalikes, Amitabh Bachchan plays the head of a gang, which blindly relies on his criminal farsightedness to grow from strength to strength.

But when his goofy mirror image is installed in the original Don's place, AB has a hard time convincing the gang - a parade of portly, beastly men, that it's really him.  

Think Shah Rukh Khan's version achieved this with the same zeal?

Image: A scene from Don


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Arjun

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Rahul Rawail's Arjun has more to do with youth angst towards the corrupt, indifferent governing system than the underworld.

Even so, it establishes a raw energy in a group of boys, led by Sunny Deol, willing to stand up against any injustice within their local premises and share a common motto: 'Duniya maane burra to goli maaro.'

This feisty attitude eventually guides Deol, as an oblivious pawn, in the hands of a dishonest set-up operating in the garb of do-gooders of society to finish off the noticeable perpetrators.

Image: Poster of Arjun


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Hero

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Although Subhash Ghai's Hero starring Jackie Shroff and Meenakshi Seshadri is predominantly a love story; its conflict isn't the usual rich versus poor.

Rather how the innocent interactions between a pretty hostage and a hot-headed delinquent and his equally rash brotherhood transforms a bunch of hijacking bikers into 'Ding-dong, O baby sing-a-song' crooning merry men.

Image: A scene from Hero


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Parinda

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Vidhu Vinod Chopra's acclaimed crime drama starring Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar and Madhuri Dixit continues to be one of the most stylish and stark portrayals of the underworld.

Here it is the eccentric Anna's (Patekar) gang, of which two extremely close brothers (Shroff, and subsequently Kapoor) are collaborators for entirely different reasons resulting in murky twists and tragic conclusions.

Image: A scene from Parinda


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Satya

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Even after 14 years, Ram Gopal Varma's Satya continues to be the reference point for most films of this genre. The plot unfolds from the point of view of its titular hero, his entry, rise, relationships and end within the murky underbelly of Mumbai.

The actual bleakness and cut-throat nature of it all, however, is conveyed through the complex play between numerous gangs, their games, breakable compromises and the cruel unpredictability with which  ties are altered to pursue unquestioned power.

Image: A scene from Satya


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Josh

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Shah Rukh Khan and Sharad Kapoor do the cocky gang leader routine, even break into an impromptu jig, Sailu ru saila re, in Mansoor Khan's West Side Story.

In this largely superficial, ineffective bickering that threatens to nip the romance between their younger siblings – Aishwarya Rai and Chandrachur Singh – in the bud, the only memorable bit remain Anu Malik's breezy soundtrack and Ash's ravishing Shirley.

Image: A scene from Josh


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Company

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Unlike Satya, Ram Gopal Varma's Company is decidedly bigger in scale and spread as it takes on the friends- turned-foes narrative against the underworld milieu with some inspiration from the Dawood Ibrahim and Chotta Rajan split.   

Power dictates the equation in mafia. And so, the previously thick-as-thieves Ajay Devgn and Vivek Oberoi go sore after a disagreement resulting in independent groups and bloody hostilities, of which the lawmakers are more than happy to take advantage.

Image: A scene from Company


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Vaastav

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Mahesh Manjrekar's Vaastav truly turned the tide in Sanjay Dutt's favour after a series of debacles with his effective turn as Raghu and his journey from a fun-loving pav bhaji seller to feared don.

The complex network of underworld politics, rivalry and opportunism is depicted through Raghu's various encounters with the gang he destroys, to the gang he joins, to the gang he becomes, along with his constant accomplice Dedh Footya (Sanjay Narvekar).

Image: A scene from Vaastav


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Dhoom

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Dhoom franchise has gotten bigger and better in terms of cast but it all started with a few films-old John Abraham leading a pack of pizza delivery boys zooming on their fast-racing bikes to execute high-adrenalin robberies.

Cops are obviously hot on their trail even as JA with his sleek mane and sleeker tactics hoodwinks the good guys each and every time.

Image: Poster of Dhoom


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Omkara

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Vishal Bhardwaj set his adaptation of William Shakespeare's Othello against the backdrop of UP badlands to pitch his robust, rowdy mob led by Omkara (Ajay Devgn) alongside Langda Tyagi (Saif Ali Khan) and Kesu Phirangi (Vivek Oberoi) providing muscle power to strengthen the clout of an influential political figure.  

But when the green bug bites Tyagi, he goes on a dark scheming spree that creates cracks in their group and changes everyone's fate irreversibly.

Image: A scene from Omkara


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Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai

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Set in the 1970s, Milan Luthria's Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai is a sleek study of how organised crime came into existence in the bustling city of Mumbai.

It provides a dramatised account inspired by the dreaded gangster Haji Mastan's life through 
Ajay Devgn's Sultan Mirza. The latter is a kingpin smuggler controlling an illicit empire with rules and regulations while playing Robin Hood to the poor.

The twist in the plot arrives when a trusted albeit ambitious member (Emraan Hashmi) of his own gang goes against him to introduce dirty into business.

Image: A scene from Once Upon A Time In Mumbaai


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