Title: Dongri to Dubai
Author: S. Hussain Zaidi
Rating: 4 out of 5
Mumbai gangsters have been epitomized and glamorised by the Indian film industry for many years now. We’ve seen their rise and fall on the celluloid. But the title of the most famous Indian gangster goes to Dawood Ibrahim. Today there are many cases slapped on him by the Indian courts, the most famous of them being the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts. He is known to have properties in the middle east, Pakistan and is now known to be residing in Karachi. He also has links with al-Qaeda and late Osama Bin Laden and was declared a “global terrorist” in 2003 by the United States.
Who was this Dawood Ibrahim? How did a small time don from Dongri become a world famous terrorist? All this and more is answered by the “black Friday” fame journalist Mr S.Hussain zaidi. Mr. Zaidi has been working on the crime beat for many decades now and in this book he describes the rise and lives of not only Dawood Ibrahim but also the ones that came before him. The knowledge of gangsters like Karim Lala, Hazi Mastan, Varadarajan Mudaliar and the Pathans are important as we come to know how Mumbai came to be known as a world of Gangsters.
“The history of the mafia in Bombay is dotted with challenges and fraught with stories of young boys who grew to become giants. It was common practice to see young upstarts challenging the old brigade and eventually replacing them.”
This is basically the gist of how young boys and men were introduced into the trade, either by poverty or the want of Power and how the world of the gangsters flourished.
When I read “Black Friday” which is based on 1993 serial bomb blasts in Bombay, I noticed the writing was very dry. There was way too much information, too many names and not enough breathing space. But “Dongri to Dubai” is the exact opposite. It glamorises the lives of these gangsters which might make some weak minds look up to these people and not see what they really were – scums of this earth. It also fictionalises certain things like ‘what the gangsters were thinking etc…’ but it does make for a very entertaining read. I breezed through it and although there were many names and many stories, I wasn’t confused at any point.
If you are interested to read about “six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia” As the tagline says, DO NOT skip this book.
Note: The right hand corner of the book says ‘Soon to be a major motion picture Shootout at Wadala’. Well, it seems a little stretched. The movie was horrible, the story of Manya Surve takes up only a single chapter in this book and even that is 10 times better than the movie.