Underworld has been lurking in the shadows of the glamorous Bollywood glitterati, haunting and hunting Indian cinema since ages. Recently it claimed another victim; Ronnie Screwala head honcho of UTV has been targeted by the underworld.
On July 11, six people, alleged associates of Pujari gang barged into UTV’s office seeking the whereabouts of Screwala. Bangalore police has been in search of Pujari gang for various extortion cases in the city.
The incident came as an alarm to them after the attack on Ronnie. Pujari seems to be chasing Ronnie for his alleged support to Dawood.
Taking a walk down the memory lane we take a look at some of the stars who were threatened to be dragged down by the slew of underworld.
Rakesh Roshan- This filmmaker not only received the calls but also felt the terror of mafia. He was shot at while leaving from his office at Santa Cruz on January 21, 2000. Roshan had a narrow escape as he was shot in the left arm and thus underwent a surgery. The then Chief minister Chhagan Bhujbal had suspected the involvement of Abu Salem faction of Dawood Ibrahim.
Despite, filing a case, Roshan continued to get extortion calls from underworld. And then during the release of Krrish Roshan’s anti-piracy campaign gave another reason to underworld for extortion. Not just that even junior Roshan the heartthrob of Nation was on target, if we go by the telephonic conversation between Sanjay Dutt and Chotta Shakeel on November 2000.
Shahrukh Khan- Although he turned hostile to Bharat Shah case but the Super Star truly broke his silence in 2002 narrating the story that has taken shape in 1997-98 for working in the film that brought SRK in the hit-list of underworld dons. First, Chotta Shakeel compelled him to work to which SRK sort of gave a nod. Things somehow did not work and he later got threatening calls from Abu Salem himself. The story has not changed though characters on the other end might have.
Preity Zinta- She was the second one in a long list of celebrities who did not deny the claims of getting calls from underworld during the Bharat Shah case. It was during Chori Chori Chupke Chupke in 2000 during the shoot that she got an extortion call referring to Bhai ka Aadmi for an amount of 50 lakhs. In a statement to police she had agreed to pay 25 lakhs as remuneration for acting in Chori Chori Chupke Chupke. Later, she also admitted her willingness to act in the film despite all that drama.
Mahesh Bhatt- The filmmaker had been targeted when an unknown gunman entered his office at Juhu. The gunman fired two rounds in the office after he got aware of Bhatt’s absence. Ravi Pujari again was suspected in this case by Ashok Pandit; who happened to visit Bhatt’s office, and take Pujari’s call threatening Bhatt. Similar call was attended by Bhatt later. Strangely, Bhatt had not been warned of this attack before.
Aishwarya Bachchan- She although did not get the direct calls from underworld. However, the conversation between her and Salman Khan made it clear that Salman would threaten her in the name of underworld don. Central forensic report with the help of the samples of their respective voices through audiocassettes proved Salman having connections with underworld.
Apart from these top-notch stars, there were others such as Govinda, Raj Kumar Santoshi, Himesh Reshamiya, Abbas-Mustan and Mahesh Manjrekar who have become the soft-targets of extortion by underworld dons.