For a generation that has grown up reading about the deadly gangsters that operated out of Mumbai and the subsequent police crackdown on them, the one person who evokes maximum interest is Dawood Ibrahim, for obvious reasons. Over the last three decades, not just the 1993 Mumbai blasts mastermind but even his siblings have been investigated by the police for their involvement in cases like extortion, murder, smuggling and even terror attacks. While all filmmakers have taken creative liberties to project Dawood Ibrahim in their movies according to their limited understanding of him, how different is the man and his family in reality?
The onscreen image is always a magnification or the amplified image of the real person. When they cast a star, they have to ensure that they pander to the ego of the star and they have to glorify him. So, even if the real character doesn’t have those positive traits or redeeming features, they will ensure that the person onscreen has those features. They compromise on the reality. Movies need to work on the projection of these gangsters.Hussain Zaidi, Author
While writing his books Black Friday and Dongri to Dubai, author Hussain Zaidi interviewed Dawood Ibrahim, his sister Haseena Parkar and their other siblings to verify their back story. Although he is yet to watch the latest biopic on the don’s sister, Mr Zaidi’s interactions with Haseena Parkar are still imprinted in his mind. ‘Enigmatic’ and ‘inscrutable’ are the two words that best describe her according to him.
I met her a couple of times, interacted with her and realised that she is like any other average Muslim woman. What I found strange about her was that she was still a grieving widow even 20 years after the death of her husband. She was not able to recover from that traumatic incident and her eyes used to become moist when she used to talk about her husband. She wanted to keep her children safe from the mafia attacks.Hussain Zaidi, Author
Despite being in the spotlight for allegedly running a proxy business for her brother Dawood, Haseena had no serious offence apart from extortion charges registered against her. Despite the Mumbai police’s investigation into her alleged involvement in hawala rackets, real estate deals and extortion, the lack of evidence for these crimes weakened any case against her.
She cannot be the mafia queen because a mafia queen is someone who should have a list of cases against them and these must be serious offences like murder, attempt to murder, extortion, etc but Haseena never had such cases against her. Just because she was Dawood’s sister doesn’t make her a bad or an evil woman. I met her a couple of times, interacted with her and realised that she is like any other average Muslim woman.Hussain Zaidi, Author
Mr Zaidi says, while initially Haseena Parkar was hesitant to answer tough questions that involved her brother, she later opened up during the interview. Revealing that her family still held Dawood in high esteem.
I asked her, ‘Tell me are you talking to your brother regularly on the phone?’ She said No, I don’t talk to my brother regularly. Then I asked her, do you greet each other on Eid and other festive occasions? She just looked at me and said, ‘What do you want me to answer?’ I told her I want her honest answer. She said that, ‘If I say yes to that question then the cops will start tapping my phone more, if I say I don’t, then there will be other kind of queries and curiosity around that question. It’s better that I keep quiet.’
With the recent arrest of Dawood’s younger brother, Iqbal Kaskar in an extortion case, the whereabouts of the gangster is once again being questioned. Kaskar allegedly told the Intelligence Bureau officials that Dawood is still in Pakistan but he has been wary of calling his family. But Mr Zaidi says this isn’t new information.
It is not the first time that Iqbal or anyone has told Indian agencies that Dawood is in Karachi. Indian Government is well aware about where Dawood lives in Karachi. They are also aware that he has properties in Lahore, Islamabad and other places. They are absolutely aware about Dawood’s business interests, properties in Pakistan and Iqbal Kaskar has not added anything to the knowledge as such by saying that he is in Pakistan.Hussain Zaidi, Author