Savvy Online ::: In Focus - Sleeping with the Enemy: "Sleeping with the Enemy
Sumita Chakraborty on why gangsters attract some of our actresses.
From casting couches, ‘roll in the hay for roles’, to dancing to the beck and call of producers and top heroes … many Bollywood actresses have been known to walk the edge, to grab their slice of name, fame and success. In fact, in their bid to climb the steep rungs of the ladder to make it, they have knowingly flirted closely with danger by ‘wining and dining’ even the dreaded underworld.
In fact, with the arrest of actress Monica Bedi who was recently deported to India from Portugal, along with ‘husband’ mafia don Abu Salem, who is the prime accused in the 1993 bomb blast case in Mumbai, the underworld-Bollywood nexus is back in the spotlight.
Guns & Roses
Indeed, reams have been written about certain actresses and their fascination for the badlands of Mumbai’s mafiosi. It started way back in the ‘70s when yesteryear smuggler Haji Mastan became the first homespun don to marry a small-time actress Sona (Heena Kauser) who, then used her husband’s connections to get more films. Years later, hushed whispers also told torrid tales of Bollywood actresses like Mandakini, Mamta Kulkarni, Nagma and Anita Ayub, to other small-time heroines like Sonika Gill and their underworld paramours.
‘Ram Teri Ganga Maili’ actress Mandakini was rumoured to be Dawood’s brother Anees Ibrahim’s pet squeeze at one time, and has supposedly, even had a son through him. Pakistani actress Anita Ayub’s close connections with the mafia had, allegedly, got producer Javed Siddique killed by a Dawood hitman because of his refusal to give her a role in his film. According to the police, Ayub is believed to have been close to Dawood.
Furthermore, starlet Sonika Gill, who played a plum role in Subhash Ghai’s blockbuster ‘Ram Lakhan’, is currently said to be a hostess in a Dubai-based hotel rumoured to be run by Dawood. Likewise, Mamta Kulkarni, known for her bare dare act, has supposedly married a narcotics smuggler Vicky Goswami. Actress Nagma too has recently come in the line of fire. While investigating the gutkha case, police sources have revealed that Anees Ibrahim had sent her Rs 10 lakh in hawala money, though Nagma vehemently refutes these claims. In fact, she has also been named by Abu Salem as “Anees’ girlfriend”, which also she strongly rebuts.
Divulges a top police source, “We know of several starlets and well-known Bollywood actresses who have been close to underworld gangsters.” Producer and director Mahesh Bhatt says, “There is no denying the fact that there are people (men and women) in Bollywood who have social relations — and at times, have even crossed them with the underworld.” He, however, demands a clearer picture and says, “Please investigate and tell us who amongst us are the bad boys or girls.”
Bhatt’s wish was granted with the deportation of Monica Bedi and Abu Salem. Said to be a ‘limited’ actress, Monica had never made a mark in the Bollywood vista. Her alliance with Abu Salem, however, yielded lead roles with top heroes in films like ‘Jodi No 1’ and ‘Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabat’. Therein too lies a tale. Supposedly, during one of the shooting schedules of ‘Jodi No 1’ director David Dhawan was shooting scenes with his heroes Sanjay Dutt and Govinda, while the heroines, Twinkle Khanna and Monica Bedi, were cooling their heels in their makeup rooms. One call from Monica to Abu Salem and supposedly, David Dhawan did a volte face and shot lengthy scenes with Monica then after. Producer Rajiv Rai, if you recall, was shot at by Abu Salem’s men, so it was definitely remarkable when for his very next film ‘Pyaar Ishq Aur Mohabat’, Monica Bedi was signed on for a meaty role.