Despite being an unethical means of livelihood, Underworld Mafia has always excited the people all across the world.
Indians are not spared either from being smitten by the underworld mafia. And, this is the main reason why so many films in India, especially in the Bollywood, have centred on the mafia world and sometimes even real life mafia criminals.
While most of the movies are based on the same old Good vs. Bad theme, there are a few exceptions that try to show us how corruption and misuse of the power can misdirect a common into becoming a gangster. However, whatever is the cause of the character becoming an underworld gangster, the fate of the character in the film is either death or a jail sentence, hence, sustaining our faith in justice.
Also, if you try to keep the unethical profession out of the equation here, there’s so much to learn and get inspired from about passion, focus and determination, of course only in ethical means.
So, if you are a big Godfather fan, then try these Bollywood films based on Underworld Mafia or Gangsters in particular.
Best Bollywood Movies on Underworld Mafia and Gangsters
We have plenty of movies based on the life of Underworld dons and their gangs, but we are sharing the top 25 films on Underworld Mafia in Hindi.
Old Hindi Movies on Underworld and Mafia
One of Amitabh Bachchan’s classic hits, Don is on the top of our list among the best Bollywood films on underworld mafia and gangsters. Directed by Chandra Barot, the film is not a typical gangster film that we see now a days.
The entire theme of the mafia in the film is derived from the likes of the Italian or Russian mafia, where the Don is highly sophisticated personnel instead of a rogue gangster. Amitabh Bachchan plays the role of Don to the perfection and develops a whole new image for mafia Don in Bollywood.
Parinda is a 1989 crime film starring the likes of Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Nana Patekar, and Madhuri Dixit. Directed by Vidhu Vinod Chopra, the film tries to showcase the life of real-life underworld gangsters and their impact on the residents in the city of Mumbai. The film was recently remade in Hollywood as Broken Horses by Vidhu Vinod Chopra himself.
The 1990 action thriller film Shiva takes the 2nd spot on our list. The film is from an era when RGV was considered not a joke but a brilliant filmmaker. The film also marks the debut of Telugu superstar Nagarjuna in the Hindi film industry.
Also, this 1990 film is actually the remake of RGV’s own 1989 Telugu film Siva with the same actors. Although a box office hit, Nagarjuna didn’t make it long in the Hindi film industry.
Dayavan is a Hindi remake of Kamal Haasan’s epic 1987 film Nayagan. In the Hindi remake, Vinod Khanna plays the role of Shakti Velu, which was donned by Haasan in the original film.
Alongside Khanna, the film also stars Madhuri Dixit and Feroz Khan in important roles. The film follows the story of a slum dweller Shakti Velu and his journey of becoming a Don in the city of Mumbai, then Bombay.
While most of the films on the list are centred upon the crime and the Indian underworld society, the 1991 film Sadak is different as the theme of the film is romance.
Directed by Mahesh Bhatt, the film tells us the story of a budding romance between a taxi-driver Ravi, played by Sanjay Dutt, and a young girl Pooja, played by Pooja Bhatt, who is locked up in a brothel run by a eunuch Maharani, played by Sadashiv Amrapurkar. After freeing Pooja from Maharani, Ravi must fight for the protection of not only himself but also his friends.
Despite so many good gangster films on the list, I considered the 1999 crime drama Vaastav to be the best among the lot.
Directed by Mahesh Manjrekar, the film follows the life of Raghu, played by Sanjay Dutt, and his journey of becoming the most notorious gangster in the Mumbai underworld. The film basically tells us the rise and downfall of a gangster, which was quite common at a time in the Mumbai underworld society.
The second film of the Indian Gangster trilogy created by RGV, the 2002 crime drama Company mainly focuses on the lives of Chandu, played by Vivek Oberoi, and Malik, played by Ajay Devgn. Primarily based on Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company, this RGV film also imitates the real-life rivalry between Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan through the characters of Malik and Chandu. Besides Oberoi and Devgn, the film also has Manisha Koirala, Mohanlal, Seema Biswas, and Antra Mali in important roles.
Maqbool is an Indian adaptation of Shakespeare’s famous play Macbeth through the eyes of Vishal Bharadwaj. Although the film is an adaption of Macbeth, the characters, and theme of the film is slightly changed to suit the Indian audience.
Just like the play, the story of the film follows the life of Maqbool, who is the right-hand man of Jahangir Khan, an underworld don. Things start getting ugly when Nimmi, Khan’s mistress, and Maqbool get romantically involved and ploy to kill Jahangir Khan, so Maqbool could take over the reins from Khan as the new don.
Black Friday (2004)
Black Friday is one of the best film based on Real life story, directed by Anurag Kashyap. Black Friday is all about 1993 Bombay bomb Blast investigation. The film shares complete story and planning of Mumbai underworld for 1993 Bomb Blast. Anurag Kashyap made this film so real that he didn’t even change any name. He used real names of all characters even Dawood Ibrahim, Tiger Memon and all other terrorists.
Gangaajal is a 2003 crime drama film directed by Prakash Jha. Starring the likes of Ajay Devgn, Gracy Singh, Mohan Joshi and Mukesh Tiwari in important roles, the film follows the story of an honest police officer SP Amit Kumar taking charge of a fictitious town in Bihar that is highly dominated by the local don Sadhu Yadav and his goons.
From there, starts the fight between the good and the evil, at the end of which the good triumphs. The film also dramatizes the real-life blinding incident at Bhagalpur.
If there’s one man who could reprise the role of Marlon Brando as Godfather in India, then it is without a doubt, Amitabh Bachchan. Hence, Ram Gopal Varma roped in Mr. Bachchan to play the Godfathersque role inspired by Bal Thackrey as Subhash Nagre in the 2005 film Sarkar.
With this film, RGV tries to display the world of Marathi politics and crime through the family of Subhash Nagre that includes his two sons; Shankar Nagre, played by Abhishek Bachchan, and Vishnu Nagre, played by Kay Kay Menon.
Best Bollywood Films on Underworld in Recent Times
Kaminey is another magnificent creation of Vishal Bharadwaj. The film stars Shahid Kapoor, Priyanka Chopra, and Amol Gupte in the lead roles, whereas follows the rivalry of a pair of twins, one with a lisp and the other with a stutter, both of whom are trying to survive in the Mumbai underworld. Surprisingly, the whole movie is about the events of a single day and hence, keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout the film.
Once Upon a Time in Mumbaai (2010)
Once Upon a Time in Mumbai is a 2010 action thriller film directed by Milan Luthria. The film stars Ajay Devgn, Emraan Hashmi, Kangana Ranaut, and Prachi Desai in the lead roles. Through this film, Milan Luthria tries to reflect on the lives of real-life crime lord Haji Mastan through Ajay Devgn’s character and Dawood Ibrahim’s rise through Emraan Hashmi’s character.
Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007)
Here’s another underworld mafia film based on the true events of the Mumbai underworld. Shootout at Lokhandwala, as the title of the film suggests, is a 2007 crime action film based on the real-life Lokhandwala Complex shootout between the Mumbai Police and Maya Dolas’s gangsters. The film basically dramatizes the overall incident in which the character of the lead officer A.A. Khan is played by Sanjay Dutt, while Vivek Oberoi dons the role of Maya Dolas.
Don 2 (2011)
Shah Rukh Khan Starrer 2006 film Don is the official remake of Amitabh Bachchan starer 1978 film Don. Although SRK’s Don was a tribute to the original Don, the film set the trend for a whole new Don franchise giving us a second film in the series.
Yes, Don 2 is the 2nd instalment of the Don franchise with Shah Rukh Khan reprising the role of Don from the previous film. With Don 2, SRK steps in again into his anti-hero image that got him the superstar status in the early 90s. Directed by Farhan Akhtar, this action thriller film tries to challenge the likes of Hollywood film franchise Mission Impossible and James Bond.
Yet another Prakash Jha film, Apaharan is a 2005 crime drama film starring Ajay Devgn and Nana Patekar in the lead roles. With this film, Jha tries to draw our attention towards the budding kidnapping industry in Bihar.
The film follows the story of Ajay Shastri, a young unemployed and honest graduate dreaming of becoming a police officer. When his Gandhian father denies the money to bribe higher officials to get onto the police force’s merit list and discloses the corruption scandal to the media, things go awry for Ajay. In order to save himself from the creditors, Ajay becomes a kidnapper but gets on the wrong side with the underworld don Tabrez Alam, played by Nana Patekar.
The rest of the film is about Ajay’s rise in the dirty world of kidnapping racket with the help of Tabrez Alam and his downfall.
Ab Tak Chappan (2004)
Ab Tak Chappan is yet another crime thriller film directed by Shimit Amin. The film is inspired from the real-life encounter specialist Daya Nayak.
Basically, the film follows the life of Sadhu Agashe, played by Nana Patekar, who is from the Mumbai Encounter Squad and is famous for having killed a total of 56 gangsters in police encounters, hence justifying the title of the film. A sequel to the film Ab Tak Chappan 2 was released in 2015 directed by Aejaz Gulab with Nane Patekar reprising the role of Sadhu Agashe.
Gangster is a 2006 romantic crime drama film directed by Anurag Basu. The film follows the life of a bar girl, who falls in love with a common man and a gangster at the same time.
It was also rumoured that Gangster is a film based on the life romance of the real-life gangster Abu Salem and former actress Monica Bedi. However, Anurag Basu cleared all the rumours saying the film is not based on any real characters or incidents. Gangster also marked the debut of Kangana Ranaut.
Shootout at Wadala (2013)
Shootout at Wadala is another crime thriller film centred upon a real-life shootout by the Mumbai Police to take down the emerging crime lord and a notorious gangster Manya Surve.
The film follows the life of Manya Surve, played by John Abraham, showing his journey from being a bright young student to becoming a notorious gangster of the Mumbai underworld.
Although dramatized throughout the film, Shootout at Wadala tries to place the pieces together that led to the ultimate encounter of one of the fearsome gangsters in Indian history.
D is a 2005 crime thriller film that completes the Indian Gangster trilogy by Ram Gopal Varma.
The film follows the life of Deshu, who returns to India from Dubai after his mother’s death. Unfortunately, he finds himself in a tug of war between the police and the gangsters, eventually siding with the gangsters. From there begins the new journey of Deshu becoming the underworld king after eliminating his rivals and predecessors one by one.
The film stars Randeep Hooda as Deshu, which also becomes his first lead appearance in Bollywood films.
Footpath is a crime thriller film directed by Vikram Bhatt. The film marked the debut of serial kisser Emraan Hashmi and also had the likes of Aftab Shivdasani, Bipasha Basu, Rahul Dev in different roles.
The story of the film is inspired by Hollywood flick State of Grace and was produced by the Mahesh Bhatt and Mukesh Bhatt. Mahesh Bhatt also directed Angaaray, which was also inspired by the similar storyline as the State of Grace.
The film basically tells us the story of a noble man, who reunites with his childhood friends discovering that all of them are on the wrong side of the law. In the film, he makes attempts to reform them and lead them to a good life.
D-Day is a fictionalized story of kidnapping the leader of the D-Company, Goldman (based on Dawood Ibrahim) from his residence in Pakistan and bring him back to India for trials for his crimes and justice for the people of the nation.
The film has an ensemble cast consisting of actors like Rishi Kapoor, Irrfan Khan, Arjun Rampal, Huma Qureshi, and Shruti Haasan. Although a fiction, the film hatches a very interesting and long coveted plan to get the most wanted underworld don back on Indian shores to pay for his crimes.
Best Hindi Films on Underworld (FK’s Personal Favorite List)
Gangs of Wasseypur Series (2012)
Gangs of Wasseypur is considered the best works of Anurag Kashyap with the film series gaining a cult status among the youth.
The film reflects on the coal mafia of Dhanbad and features the lives of three families focusing on the underlying power struggles, politics, and rivalry among them. Originally, the two-part film series was shot as a single movie but owing to the limited time allowed for show times in India, the producers decided to divide the film into a two-part series.
Because of the huge success of the theme and characters of the film, a third sequel is already in the making. The film also became a stepping stone towards success for the talented actor Nawzuddin Siddiqui as Faizal Khan.
Shagird is a 2011 crime thriller film directed by Tigmanshu Dhulia. As the title of the film suggests, the film is about an apprentice or disciple (shagird in Hindi), played by Mohit Ahlawat, of Hanumant Singh, played by Nana Patekar.
He is a corrupt police officer, who extorts money from the politicians and goons on one side, and later executes them by faking it as an encounter. It is hard to tell whether he is an evil or a saint but at the end of the film, fate settles the score for everyone.
Another RGV marvel, Satya is also based on the Mumbai underworld and focuses on the life of a common man who visits the city of opportunities to try his fortune but gets sucked into the dark life of the Mumbai underworld. This 1998 film was the first film of the Indian Gangster trilogy by Ram Gopal Varma.
J.D. Chakravarthy was cast in the titular role as Satya alongside other talented actors like Urmila Matondkar, Manoj Bajpayee, Saurabh Shukla, and Shefali Shah. Satya is one of the Best Hindi Films directed by Ram Gopal Varma.
Well, Amitabh Bachchan is one of the icons that the world of cinema has ever seen in the last millennium. With a number of hits since the 70s, this Shahanshah of Bollywood has been entertaining us for almost 5 decades with an array of versatile characters.
However, of all these characters he played, the role of Vijay Deenanath Chauhan in the 1990 film Agneepath stands out as the best mainly because of the attitude he carries throughout the film. The epic dialogue where he introduces himself at the police station steals the show entirely and is one of the best dialogues in the Indian film industry.
Share, Your favorite film based on Underworld and Mafia.