“In 1990s Mumbai, a crime boss and his network wield unchecked power over the city – until the rise of ‘encounter cops’ who brazenly kill their targets.”
Title: Mumbai Mafia: Police vs The Underworld
Cast: Ravindra Angre, Puja Changoiwala, A. A. Khan
Directors: Francis Longhurst, Raaghav Dhar
During the 1990s, Mumbai was run by a powerful crime boss and his network of criminal associates, until a group of “encounter cops” emerged to take on the city’s gangsters and organized crime. At the time, Mumbai was notorious for its high level of crime and corruption, as the criminal underworld and law enforcement were in constant conflict. This period marked the peak of the Mumbai Mafia, as the city was embroiled in a battle between those who upheld the law and those who sought to evade it.
If you were a movie fan in the 1990s, it’s likely that your adolescence was filled with Bollywood films about the criminal underworld and gangsters. These movies, which were heavily influenced by real-life events in Mumbai, featured lavish production values and were popular with both audiences and the industry’s top stars and filmmakers. Some examples of these films include “Satya” and “Ab Tak Chhappan”, of which depicted excessive violence and featured characters who killed.
“Mumbai Mafia,” a true crime documentary on Netflix, revisits the past and examines the efforts of Mumbai police to combat rising gang activity in the city during the 1990s. The film, directed by Francis Longhurst and Raaghav Dhar, presents a first-person account of the experiences of those involved in the conflict between law enforcement and the criminal underworld. It features Pradeep Sharma, who was known as the country’s top “encounter specialist” and played a significant role in the fight against gang violence in Mumbai. Sharma, who is shown holding a pistol and wearing a striped shirt in the film, was arrested and charged with the alleged murder of a Mumbai businessman before the documentary’s release in 2021. His trial is still ongoing. The film relies heavily on Sharma’s narration as he has been a member of the Crime Branch since the 1990s.
“Mumbai Mafia” presents a balanced portrayal of events, showing how the actions of Pradeep Sharma led to his arrest and criminal charges for alleged “fake encounters.” The film illustrates the human consequences of the conflict between law enforcement and the criminal underworld in Mumbai, and the ways in which individual choices can have far-reaching effects. The documentary also includes insights from Hussain Zaidi, a writer and former investigative journalist who has extensively covered the police and the underworld in Mumbai. Fans of Zaidi’s work will likely enjoy his contributions to the film, as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the discussion of the city’s tumultuous history.
The film draws on the work of various journalists and writers, including Minty Tejpal, Puja Changoiwala, and Alex Perry, to provide a multifaceted view of the events that shaped the city during this time. The film also includes archival footage and music by Rishi Rich, which help to create a captivating and immersive experience for viewers. Despite being a well-known story, the film’s linear and detailed approach gives it a fresh and intriguing quality that keeps viewers engaged throughout its 87-minute runtime.
While this film was a little shorter than its other documentary counterparts I found this to be an overall great production with a lot of research and thought behind it. Not only did the narration keep me engaged, but all the technical aspects behind it gave me goosebumps for almost 1.5 hours. I give this a must watch and am excited to hear more about it this week!