31 May 2013 | By: Writing Buddha

Mafia Queens of Mumbai by S. Hussain Zaidi with Jane Borges (Book Review)!!!

851st BLOG POST -->>

 Recently, Shootout at Wadala released and earned approximately 60 crore+. Everyone felt that the movie had potential except that the acting of John Abraham didn't go well with the role. I had a big problem with the movie because I was expecting it to be just as the novel "Dongri to Dubai" was from which it has been adapted. Over this, in the movie, the main protagonist is Mania Surve instead of Dawood Ibrahim, the protagonist in the book. But while reading Dongri to Dubai, a huge respect for S Hussain Zaidi grew in my heart. And it was an honour to converse with him later on. After that, I picked up his book "Mafia Queens of Mumbai" which also has the tagline "stories of women from the ganglands" this morning. While the DTD covered the male gangsters, this book covers the females. And after finishing this book in a day time, I am so impressed that I am soon going to read Black Friday, his first novel on which Anurag Kashyap also made a movie that got huge critical accolades. :-)

About the Authors:-

S. Hussain Zaidi is a journalist, a veteran crime reporter, and an author.

Other books by Zaidi include Dongri To Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia, and Black Friday: The True Story Of The Bombay Bomb Blasts.
His books are mainly about crime and the Mumbai underworld.

S. Hussain Zaidi has worked in various publications like Indian Express, Mid-Day etc. He is currently the editor of Asian Age, Mumbai.

Jane Borges is a journalist.

She has co-authored Mafia Queens of Mumbai with S. Hussain Zaidi.

Jane Borges studied at the SNDT University and is currently a journalist with Asian Age, Mumbai.

The synopsis of the book says:-

The Mumbai underworld, or the Mumbai Mafia is as much a part of the city as Bollywood is, and as much a stuff of legends. The well known stories from this murky world are all male-centric. Haji Mastan, Dawood Ibrahim, Varadarajan Mudaliar, and Karim Lala, to name a few.

But, there were women who ruled the roost there too, women who remained in the background and pulled the strings, women who acted as mentors and advisers to the famous dons, women who were wives of the dons and then took over when their husbands were killed, women who assumed leadership to try and bring down rival leaders who had harmed their family.

Their stories are varied and just as intriguing, and hitherto untold. But these stories are well known in the ganglands of Mumbai. This book now brings together a set of stories about interesting and powerful female leaders of the Mumbai underworld.

There is the story of Gangubhai, a girl who ran away from a small village and ended up in Mumbai streets and eventually became the powerful matriarch of Kamathipura, Mumbai’s red light area.

Ashraf, who learnt of her husband’s underworld connection only after he was killed, transformed herself into the powerful Sapna Didi, to try and take down her husband’s killer.

Mrs. Paul and Rubina Sayyed, associates of Chota Shakeel, Tarannum Khan, a bar dancer who became rich through cricket betting, and more such stories.

But, the most intriguing story is probably about the very powerful Jenabhai, who was closely associated with many underworld dons like Haji Mastan, Varadarajan Mudaliar, Dawood Ibrahim etc, and advised them on various matters and helped in shaping important events in the underworld.

           Coming to the review of the book, S Hussain Zaidi is a great writer for the main reason that even when he writes on the same topic again and again- the crimes and criminals of Mumbai, still he does not bore us. Every time he writes, he gives a fresh touch to the book. He knows how to keep his readers interested in these real tales of Mumbai. While reading him, you will always want to know if his new book is releasing soon or not. :-) You just don't want him to stop releasing books as you don't want to read anything else than the real stories being narrated by him in a style that it seems all fiction and imaginary. Sometimes, I distrust that if the incident is real or fake but there's no question of latter doubt arising as all the incidents are well covered by media. S Hussain Zaidi, I respect you like anything. 

             I was not sure initially if the women gangsters would have done something so incredible that Mr. Zaidi will get a chance to deliver a phenomenal performance through this book but I am amazed to know through this book about how powerful, witty, determinant a lady can be. Jenabhai's story about wit and convincing power is something that every reader will become fan of. The way she handles all the rival gangsters of Mumbai, police force and politicians simultaneously is something that made me believe that a whole book dedicated to her would be less. Gangubai's story tells about how respectful a woman can be even if she heads a brothel and business of prostitution. Her conversation with Nehru made me laugh. :-) Ashraf urf Sapna didi's story tells about the determination a woman has. Her story is the most reflective one. I totally got submerged in it. 

           Laxmibai Papamani's story is quite boring and I just wanted to finish it off soon as it wasn't giving me any reason to jump off my bed like other tales. Monica Bedi's tale in her own voice makes us feel pity for her. The way she gets caught in this trapping life of gangster even when her career just took off makes us ask God as to why did he make her go through hell. But then this is all about being in a wrong place in life because of the wrong and sudden decision that one takes. In the latter part of the book, author, in short, has described about the life of few wives of gangsters who played a prominent part in the gangsters' life. And the last part tells about few ladies who acted charmer in the lives of gangsters. The last part is also totally intriguing. The Acknowledgement in the end itself shows how humble S Hussain Zaidi is. In all, I would say that this book is as good as Dongri to Dubai and I give this one 4.75 stars out of 5. YES!!! Go Get It!!!


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