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Mumbai Chawls, through the Bollywood lens

Last updated on: January 27, 2012 16:50 IST

Mumbai Chawls, through the Bollywood lens

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The Mumbai chawl serves as the humble abode of Agneepath's lager-than-life hero Vijay Dinanath Chavan. We look at other Hindi films set in the chawls.

T
he overpopulated city of Mumbai makes the most of its space, people spilling into whatever space they might find.

And while the city might have infamously large slums, it also has highly organised and tremendously tightly packed tenements called chawls, places of shelter and of democratisation.

Several Hindi films have naturally been set in chawls. We look at some of them:

Agneepath

Karan Malhotra's new Agneepath sees Hrithik Roshan's Vijay Dinanath Chauhan living in a chawl, which is where stunners like Priyanka Chopra live and people are frequently bathed in blood.


Image: A scene from Agneepath


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Vaastav

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Mahesh Manjrekar's gangster film sees Sanjay Dutt's Raghunath Namdev Shivalkar staying in chawls and living the life of a pav bhaji seller before he turns into the city's most feared gangster.


Image: A scene from Vaastav


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Katha

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In Sai Paranjpe's masterful Katha -- without a doubt the finest film on this list -- we see the inner turmoil of a chawl through the eyes of relatable inhabitants.

Leading man Naseeruddin Shah works in an advertising agency, but living in a chawl just makes Bombay-style sense.


Image: A scene from Katha


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Dharavi

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In Sudhir Mishra's Dharavi, Om Puri and his wife Shabana Azmi live in a one-room tenement that finally drives Puri, a cabbie, into dubious schemes that eventually collapse under the weight of their own flawed ambitions.


Image: A scene from Dharavi


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Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman

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"It isn't a cold, it isn't a cough, it's love-aria."

Who can forget Nana Patekar and the gang singing about Shah Rukh Khan's helplessly smitten Raju in this Saeed Mirza film about a starry-eyed youth who bites off more than he can chew?


Image: A scene from Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman


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Striker

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Set in Mumbai of the 1980s, Chandan Arora's Striker is based around street-corner games of carrom that eventually go from casual to extremely competitive indeed.

Siddharth's Surya is a clear carrom star, but things change when he's introduced to the carrom hustling scene.


Image: A scene from Striker


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Satya

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In Ram Gopal Varma's underworld masterpiece, Satya (Chakravarthy) comes to Mumbai and cluelessly starts living in a chawl -- before, that is, he starts making it up the rungs of the organised-crime ladder.


Image: A scene from Satya


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Chalbaaz

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In Pankaj Parashar's take on Seeta Aur Geeta, the one and only Rajnikanth plays a beer-loving cabdriver called Jaggu who lives in a chawl.

A good friend of the boisterous Manju, he's surprised and smitten by her twin, Anju (both played by Sridevi).


Image: A scene from Chalbaaz


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Naseeb

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In Manmohan Desai's bonds-across-class-boundaries entertainer, Amitabh Bachchan's Johnny lived in a chawl, as did Reena Roy's Julie.

Much brouhaha ensues when Shatrughan Sinha, in love with Julie, imagines that she and Johnny are together, so to speak.


Image: A scene from Naseeb


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Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho

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In Saeed Mirza's Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho, a couple (Bhisham Sahni and Dina Pathak) sues their landlord (Amjad Khan) for not maintaining their building.

Lawyers on both sides of the case (Naseer, Satish Shah, Rohini Hattangadi) bleed the clients dry while Sahni's Joshi eventually falls with the chawl.

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Image: A scene from Mohan Joshi Haazir Ho


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