Bollywood gets funds from underworld

Published: September 7, 2011
The controversy looming over Devdas intrigued Bollywood fans. PHOTO: FILE

The controversy looming over Devdas intrigued Bollywood fans. PHOTO: FILE

A leaked US cable states that Bollywood has welcomed funding from gangsters and politicians, known in India as ‘black money’, reported on Wednesday. While there is no direct reference of Dawood Ibrahim, who allegedly financed a number of movies, Bollywood still has been associated with the notorious Mumbai underworld on several occasions. reported that according to Jehil Thakkar, head of media and entertainment for KPMG – a professional firm providing Audit and tax advisory – this association stemmed from the financing needs of the industry. Until 2000, the film industry was ineligible for bank credit, private equity, and other legitimate commercial financing. “As a result, films were financed by ad hoc collections of investors, many of whom were from the construction and trade industries, who charged interest rates as high as 60 to 100 per cent.”

The cable issued by the US Consulate in Mumbai and released by WikiLeaks says that, “The film industry also welcomed funds from gangsters and politicians, because they were looking for ways to launder their ill-gotten gains (or ‘black money’).”

An article in Time Magazine states that underworld don Abu Salem called Indian reporters and boasted that he financed Shahrukh Khan starrer Devdas – which was said to be the most expensive film of its time.

According to, Chota Shakeel, another underworld big boss, is telephone buddies with many actors, directors and producers. Shakeel – whom the local police claim they have on 71 tapes of bugged calls – has Sanjay Dutt on his speed dial, the site claims Dutt has had a past littered with drugs, a love of guns and implication in a series of Bombay blasts in 1993.

The film industry, however, had to pay for this material rapport several times. Actors Hrithik Roshan, Govinda, Amrish Puri and director Karan Johar were assigned armed police protection after receiving death threats from the underworld. Superstar Aamir Khan and director Ashutosh Gowariker got threatening calls from mobs because they rejected gangland overtures after the huge success of their Oscar-nominated Lagaan. Shahrukh Khan also lodged a complaint with city police and the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) after getting calls by gangster Bunty Pandey, who was demanding a sum of Rs2 billion, states

“After the government added the film industry to the list of legitimate industries, the corporatisation of Bollywood – and the wider entertainment industry – began,” the cable says.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 8th, 2011.


Facebook Conversations

Reader Comments (9)

  • Rock
    Sep 7, 2011 - 9:13PM

    Old story. Black money and underworld. Tell us something which we don’t know.


  • Kinza
    Sep 8, 2011 - 2:17AM

    It is worrying to see that the biggest democracy in the world is so ever helpful to terrorists and money launderers. And the US is just putting sanctions on those ‘Hawala’ guys who rely on poor people sending $100/$200 to their families.

    Considering the size of Bollywood, one can easily see that magnitude of support to Terrorists. The UN should take serious notice of this!


  • Maroof
    Sep 8, 2011 - 11:41AM

    @Kinza: Well said, but the fact is that the UN is another face of the CIA. What the US can’t do directly the UN does it on its behalf. The bottom line being the UN may take notice but will certainly not take any action.


  • tacit
    Sep 8, 2011 - 12:05PM

    Wikileaks Decaf! What next, Amitabh Bachchan dyes his hair? Groundbreaking stuff.


  • malik
    Sep 8, 2011 - 1:54PM

    Nothing new.


  • Incredible
    Sep 8, 2011 - 6:43PM

    @Kinza: You do not have to go so far to UN. Pakistan can take action against Darwood who they are shielding.


  • Ali Tanoli
    Sep 8, 2011 - 9:45PM

    why underworld dons dont write any book its gonna be very papular name like this
    king of bombay, raja shanty town, pandey slum wala, kalu genday naley wala, juman paan
    wala, cheeku road ke perlay side wala hahaha.


  • Lateef Khan
    Sep 8, 2011 - 10:53PM

    I agree with Kinza.

    We should take action on this and write to authorities in whichever country we are to put pressure on rogue elements in Indian government to stop millions going into the hands of terrorists. Why not make an online petition based on this?

    @ Incredible

    you are incredulous! what is Dar-wood?


  • Lateef Khan
    Sep 8, 2011 - 10:55PM

    When its a news against Pakistan, everyone get hyped up. When its against their own country, ‘nothing new’! This ‘nothing new’ is in itself admission of guilt!


More in Film