S. Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai-Six Decades of the Mumbai Mafia comes after the bestseller cum critically acclaimed Mafia Queens of Mumbai.
First things first Zaidi doesn’t disappoint us. Dongri to Dubai is the story of not just India’s but the world’s most wanted man-Dawood Ibrahim. Immense research has been done into the weaving of the events in this book. Its written in a dramatic style with a culmination of newspaper reports, police records and journalists experiences. The remarkable thing about the book is that, Zaidi has not only given footage to just Dawood but also to many other gangsters less known but in fact rattled the erstwhile Bombay.
Manya Surve, Abdul Kunju, Sabir and many others. Manya Surve’s story will now be on celluloid with John Abraham playing the slain don’s role. Interestingly most of Part 1 shows Dawood in good light which really makes me wonder the genuineness of Zaidi until he opens the can of worms. Zaidi throws light on Dawood’s growing up years, his relation with his family members, the turning point which made him do the wrong. He makes the readers realize the plight of not just a Muslim family but any household who has to take care of more than half a dozen children with just one working member.
Mumbai is extensively covered throughout the book hence as a reader I felt disappointed of not exploring this city. Unlike The Mafia Queens, Zaidi failed to capture the nitty-gritty’s of Mumbai, hence the by lanes were surely missed. With most of the coverage shifted to Dawood, as a young criminal, a judge, a Messiah, a listener, all of the others were just his disciples. Zaidi, by bringing a collection of facts together, will certainly be able to open an eye or two of the top bosses from the government. He significantly points out that although Dawood is a billionaire, whose life is shown on celluloid every year through a Bollywood film, has in fact failed to impress majority of the Indian working class. Comments from the common people directly to Dawood have been well knit in the book.
As it just took about two to three sittings to complete the book, its fast paced and builds up an engaging read. For me, The Mafia Queens of Mumbai still stands out. Zaidi definitely can be regarded as one of India’s finest storytellers when it comes to the underworld.
The one thing which needs to be highlighted is that investigative journalism is at its best.
Although the life of every don has been restricted to a chapter or two in the book, Dawood lives throughout it. Probably because he might die a dog’s death if deported to India or die like a king if he continues to stay in Pakistan. Ghosts of the 1993 Bombay bomb blasts victims will continue to haunt him.