Haseena Parker- Heroine or Criminal

Movies just like literature are a mirror of the society. Whatever is happening around us is reflected upon in movies. If the movies of the 1950s, the period immediately after independence reflected the social realist, 1960s was more about the romantic movies based on upper-middle-class Indians with plush houses, grand pianos in the drawing rooms and foreign locales. The 1970s was a politically troubled period and so the rise of angry young man as the hero and action packed movies became relevant. The action continued in the 1980s too. The 1990s saw the globalization of Hindi movies with the makers like Aaditya Chopra and Karan Johar making all ‘feel good’ movies. Till then the protagonists were all gentle, large-hearted and good human beings. Even the action heroes always fought for social injustices, sometimes taking law in their hands but the end was always a victory of good over evil, truth over falsehood and honesty over corruption.

21st century suddenly saw a spurt in the movies based on the underworld, gangsters, and terrorists. Anti-heroes became heroes. A few movies like Don, Dayavan, Agneepath, Prinda, Satya on the lives of underworld mafias and dogs were made earlier too. Despite showing the corruption and injustice as the main cause of the making of a gangster, in the end, these movies mostly restored the faith in the establishment, society, humanity, and law. But things have changed in the recent past. Suddenly there is a trend of making movies glorifying underworld mafias, dons, extortionists and terrorists. The purpose is to show them as victims, eulogize their misadventures and explore the hero-like qualities in them.

Recently Raees, a Shahrukh Khan movie was said to be based on the life of ruthless gangster- Abdul Latif. He started as a small time gambler and bootlegger and later on became the associate of Dawood Ibrahim, the most wanted international terrorist. Can a hero like Shahrukh Khan, whom millions look up to as a role model, portraying a gangster, inspire the youth of the country to contribute to nation building?

As if it was not enough, upcoming movie Haseena Parker is all set to become a new role model for the youth. The movie is based on the life of Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena, popularly known as ‘Aapa’ and whose name only was enough to send shivers down the spine of people of Mumbai. After Dawood went absconding, Haseena represented him in the world of crime. Haseena had risen to the crime world after her husband Ismail Parker was shot dead by the Arun Gawli gang in 1991. Dawood retaliated by taking revenge and killing the murderers of his brother in law at the famous J.J. Hospital shootout. Here it would be interesting to mention that movie on the life of Arun Gawli, ‘Daddy’ is ready for release next month.

After the death of her husband, Haseena shifted to her new house in Nagpada, from where she headed the crime syndicate. According to a report, she liked the Nagpada house so much that she merely broke into it and no one dared complain. It is said that in South Mumbai, nothing moved without her ‘permission’. She got her cut in every shady transaction. Haseena had much clout in the construction world. Builders contacted her to grab the land from slum dwellers to develop their plot. All construction and property disputes went into the court of ‘Aapa’. Her role in negotiating overseas rights of Bollywood films, especially of films to be released in Central Russia and the Gulf, is quite important to understand the connection of underworld with Bollywood. In 2007, Haseena was declared absconding. The tagline of the movie is – 80 cases registered yet she appeared in the court only once. Is this not the mockery of our legal system?

Apoorva Lakhia’s ‘Haseena Parker’ has Shraddha Kapoor in the title role. The movie said to be a glance on the life of Haseena as a sister, mother, daughter and a gangster. Why this focus on showing the human side of a crime lord that too someone who was not only related to international terrorist Dawood Ibrahim but filled with his shoes in his absence. Gaining sympathy for criminals and projecting them as role models for the youth?

 Why should our youth get inspiration from the lives of underworld criminals and terrorists? Shouldn’t the intelligence agencies probe if there is an investment of money from the underworld in such movies? Is this a part of some international conspiracy? Answers to these questions may lie in oblivion, but the decision to watch such movies lies with us.

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