Friday, March 18

Mafia Queens of Mumbai- A book review

I just finished reading "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" - a book by S Hussain Zaidi and Jane Borges.
S Hussain Zaidi is a crime reporter who has been associated with newspapers like Indian Express, Mid-day and Mumbai Mirror and has also authored the book Black Friday- already made into a movie by Anurag Kashyap. Jane Borges is a senior sub editor with Asian Age-Mumbai.

The book as the name suggests talks about the little known, but highly influential females, who have directly or indirectly ruled the Mumbai underworld over a long a period of time. The men in underworld have been written about and immortalized in movies many a times; however, hardly any light has ever been thrown on the female brigade who have sometimes had an overpowering influence on the activities of the darker world.

The author has chosen 13 such females, from Jenabai -the godmother of the likes of Haji Mastan and Vardarajan Mudaliar; the reigning kings of Mumbai underworld in the 70s and 80s to women like Asha Gawli (w/0 Arun Gawli) and Sujata Nikhalje (w/0 Chota Rajan)..who handled not only the money earned by their husbands but also acted as their proxies at times to extend their empires....
The author has picked up the stories of these females and gone through the highlights and lowlights of their "careers" during their life span. The book has been written in a very methodical manner with a fact based approach. All the stories come across as very well researched, though some of them do not have the adequate amount of masaala one might expect while reading something on women in underworld; the good thing is that nowhere in the book one feels that the authors have added any events/ incidents deliberately to affect the glamor quotient of the book. The authors have done a great job in ensuring that the book does not come across as sensational piece of work on underworld. All the narrations are very simple, straight at the same time ensuring that one does not feel the urge to keep down the book to pick up something else.
The book talks about females like Jenabai Daaruwaala and Mahalakshmi Papamani who resorted to the world of crime as there was no other alternative to fight poverty and feed a family of 6-8. And at the same time it also tells stories of well educated women like Neeta Naik and Mrs Paul who opted for the easier way to power, fame and money.
Among all the stories the one which i found most interesting was the one of Sapna Didi alias Ashraf. Widow of an underworld ally, who is not aware of what her husband works as till the time she sees him being shot by Dawood's men at Mumbai Airport where she has gone to receive him. How she gets in touch with another Dawood enemy in whom she sees a trainer to train her on self defense and shooting, who falls for her madly and hence is unable to explain to her the dire consequences of her revengeful dream of killing Dawood by forming a small army of men from the Mumbai underworld. The story has a sad end when Sapna didi is brutally murdered by Dawood's men outside her home as he comes to know of her plan to kill him in a cricket stadium in Sharjah, where he is VVIP spectator every year during the Sharjah cup.

The book has a foreword by Vishal Bharadwaj, where he says that after reading the book its difficult for him to decide which plot should be picked up for making a movie. I would surely recommend Sapna Didi's story.

The book also has a chapter on Monica Bedi, which reveals some lesser known facts about the saga the bollywood starlet went through during the last decade.

Overall, a nice book, one can read on a Saturday afternoon...

Author: S Hussain Zaidi and Janes Borges
Price: INR 250 (INR 175 on flipkart)
Rating: 3/5

5 people have something to say...:

Prats said...

Will pick this one up... Should be fun to read :-)

Shilpi Srivastava said...

Nice :)

Jane Borges said...

Hi Deepti,
Couldn't resist posting a comment, especially because this is one of the first reviews I've read from a blogger.
I am glad you liked the book.
But you let out the whole story of Sapnadidi... leave some for the readers :)
Jane B

Mirza Ghalib said...

after seeing this movie police officers will become rowdies n molest gals of any age.common man will give more bribe to police officers.

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