Exclusive- Bambai Meri Jaan director Shujaat Saudagar on rise of crime thrillers: 'Audiences like to see Gabbar..'
Bambai Meri Jaan director Shujaat Saudagar feels it is the social fabric of mankind to get attracted to more grey characters.
Often filmmakers have shown fascination with exploring the underworld that engulfed Bombay in the post-independence era. Films like Company, Satya, and Once Upon A Time in Mumbai have drawn inspiration from the period in the city’s history. However, the latest crime series Bambai Meri Jaan takes a quite different route to focus on the emotional turmoil of the father-son duo against the same backdrop. In an exclusive interview with show creator Shujaat Saudagar, we tried to understand the filmmakers’ inclination towards the crime genre in cinema.
Saudagar feels it is the social fabric of mankind to get attracted to more grey characters. “Not just the underworld but crime drama as a genre the world over like Peaky Blinders which is a series based on gangsters, My take on it that as a society is there is fascination towards these characters. You know, for me, they are more anti-establishment than being politically correct. Which we can't really be, you know, in our day-to-day lives, I think people like to live vicariously through characters that they see on screen, whether it is Gabbar, or Mogambo, who are, you know, as famous or probably even more popular than Jai Veeru. And of course, likewise, even for filmmakers, storytellers, writers, and actors. I mean where do you get to walk around waving a gun(he laughs), so that makes it exciting,” he said.
After Bambai Meri Jaan streamed on Amazon Prime Video on September 15, 2023, the viewers and even critics found Avinash Tiwary’s character Dara Kadri inspired by notorious gangster Dawood Ibrahim’s life. Even movie references like Once Upon A Time In Mumbai were made in the reviews. When asked Saudagar if his show is based on real-life incidents or events, he said, “Unfortunately, a lot of times, Once Upon A Time in Mumbai keeps coming up, but I have never seen that film. Personally, I've never seen it. So I do not know what that film is about. But I did, because of the curiosity of it. I watched the trailer of it. And I think it's a very, very different grammar, from what we have created. Seems like a very different film. But yes, you will find familiarity no denying that, of course, because the world comes from there.”
“And for me, personally, yes, lot of filmmakers have told the story I haven't. Even for me, it was like me telling the story, it was my take on this and creating this world. And I really wanted to I mean, it was an opportunity to create a, you know, a world which I had never delved into,” he added. Backed by Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani under the banner Excel Entertainment, the crime drama also stars Kay Kay Menon, Aditya Rawal, Saurabh Sachdeva, Kritika Kamra, Amyra Dastur among others in pivotal roles. The show is gaining traction among audiences for a fresh perspective of the underworld era of Mumbai.