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Cutesy for Sanju to hurl ‘ma-behen ki’ at journalists. But it can’t rewrite evil 1993 plot

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Just how diabolical, read here. 71 AKs, 500 grenades, 3.5 tonne RDX were hidden in “safe” places for when ‘riots started’ after serial blasts. Just that Bombay saved India, and failed ISI.

You remember the mayhem just 10 AK rifles caused in Mumbai on 26 November 2008. But do you also remember how many AK rifles were recovered in Mumbai following the serial blasts of 1993? We aren’t even counting the one found with Sanjay Dutt and destroyed by his “friend” Kersi Adjania in his foundry. Adjania, by the way, spent two years in jail in his mid-eighties for destruction of evidence.

Okay, you Googled. Yes, it was 71 AK rifles. What havoc would 71 have wreaked in 1993? Mind you, that in 1993, Mumbai (then Bombay) Police didn’t have a single AK, or any other assault rifle.

Second, do you recall how much RDX was recovered in Mumbai following those blasts? It was 3.5 tonne. Employed well, as you’d trust ISI-trained terrorists to do, this is enough to blow up every high rise in South Bombay, or Bandra-Kurla Complex, India’s financial capital.

Third, how many grenades were recovered? It was a full 500. Nobody in Bombay Police had ever seen a grenade go off.

Fourth, would you know why Bombay Police officers called ISI’s first operation outside Kashmir and Punjab a failure even though it killed 257 persons in the blasts?

To understand the plot, first sequence three sets of events.

The first round of riots broke out on 6 December, 1992, as the Babri Masjid fell in Ayodhya. Angry Muslims hit the streets first, but were quickly overwhelmed by Shiv Sainiks, and the rest by an openly partisan Bombay Police. By the third week of December, uneasy calm returned.

The second round began in the first week of January. A few significant things had happened in the interim.

* A large consignment of arms, ammunition and RDX landed at a place called Dighi on the Konkan coast in the first week of January.

* In the run-up to the second round of riots, the police discovered an intriguing pattern.

Bodies of very poor, Hindu, mathadi (head-load) workers from the Maharashtra hinterland were being found early mornings on pavements where they slept, slit at the throat with a small knife, as if in ritualistic jibah style. These were mostly found around Dongri, a communally sensitive area. The conjecture was: Someone was trying to provoke a second round of riots. That plot succeeded and Bombay burnt again. This time, it was even more one-sided against Muslims.

* Please note that armaments were being delivered at Dighi at the same time and were to be distributed in “sensitive” areas. Dutt got his consignment, for example, on 16 January, when the second round of riots was ebbing. So the weapons coming in from Pakistan and distributed to sensitive places for safe-keeping were not for “self-defence” during those riots. The riots had, by now, ended.

The second consignment landed at Shekhadi in the first week of February. There was peace in Bombay from mid-January. The serial bombings happened on 12 March, five weeks after the second landing at Shekhadi.

The plot to burn all of India

Focus harder on these dates and events.

The mathadis, who are a large, poor but well-knit population, were killed ritually in sensitive areas to provoke fresh riots. Since the Sainiks were now prepared and reinforced by a partisan police, this created greater justification for bombings (by Muslims) in retaliation. These also inspired, for the ISI masterminds, what the Supreme Court later described as the foot-soldiers within the furious and insecure local Muslim population.

It was after this second round of much more one-sided riots that the bombings were planned and weapons pre-stocked in sensitive localities. The plot was simple: The bombings will again unleash killer Hindu hordes, escorted by police. And they will be greeted by AKs and grenades, leading to mayhem India could never imagine. With a few hundred, even thousands butchered by AKs and grenades in Bombay, the fires will spread all over India.

After the Supreme Court order in March 2013, to refresh my memory, I read up our April 1993 stories, and also spoke again to some of the key figures in that investigation.

M.N. Singh, who led the investigation as joint commissioner (crime) then, and who you often see as a sensible TV talking head, recalls what a horror Bombay had saved itself by not coming up to the ISI’s expectations of reviving the cycle of reprisals. While investigating the conspiracy as a reporter in 1993 I had met Singh in his police housing cooperative apartment on Worli Sea Face, and first heard the story of the mathadis with throats slit. One of my key colleagues was sceptical then. So I checked again with Singh’s then boss and Maharashtra DGP, S. Ramamurthy, whom I had known as an Intelligence Bureau veteran. He was more familiar with the methods of the ISI and vouched for the story.

From 1993 to 2008 – the same ISI playbook for Mumbai

And how did his police crack the case within two days?

Alongside the blasts, one band of gangsters had been driving to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) headquarters at Victoria Terminus in a car loaded with AKs and grenades. It was just their luck that the Century Bazar bomb, the biggest of all, went off while they were still crossing Worli. They fled in panic, abandoning the car. This car was found, along with 7 AK rifles and grenades. The police traced its registration to the Memon (Tiger and Yakub) family. The case had been cracked.

And why was the car headed for the BMC headquarters?

Singh tells me the terrorists were headed there to break in to kill as many corporators (many of them from the Sena) as possible. This, eight years before the Parliament attack and 15 years before 26/11. See the common ISI playbook with all three?

The blasts, the massacre of corporators, and then the largescale killings of Hindu reprisal-seekers and policemen, with AKs and grenades already positioned. You get the picture?

Singh has one regret even today. “Arms were delivered to Sanjay Dutt on 16 January. Instead of concealing them, if he had only told his patriotic father, who in turn would have surely informed us, we would have prevented the bombings and saved so many lives.”

You also understand now why Singh and his many colleagues see the bombings of 1993 as an essentially failed operation. It killed many people, but failed in its strategic objective of setting India on fire. I also called Ramamurthy again in 2013. He lives in the same modest (for a former state police chief) personal apartment in the narrow Sohrab Bharucha Road (off Colaba Causeway) where I had met him in late March 1993. The old cop only said: “See, this Bombay Police, good, bad, ugly, whatever you call it, it has cracked every single case of terror attacks so fast. Something works for it.”

Not only was it the ISI’s first major operation in mainland India, it was also the most audacious to date. Much more ambitious than even 26/11. So ambitious and audacious, in fact, that they risked their most important asset in India, Dawood Ibrahim, and his underworld army. The ISI would have known that irrespective of how this ended, they would have to evacuate the whole lot, and find them safe harbour in their own country. Now you know why they pamper and protect Dawood and the Memons the way they do. They were key to their most sinister and brutal conspiracy in India to date. Also, they knew simply too much.

ISI has since been obsessed with targeting Mumbai. In the many rounds of bombings since then, including 26/11, there’s a common pattern: Multiple bombings or attacks, but hit one key point in South Mumbai first, get the government distracted thus, and then have trouble radiate outwards. Even in 26/11, a bomb was left in a taxi timed to go off after a while to cause confusion in an entirely different area. What this tells you is that except the instruments and methods, the ‘masterminds’ work on the same formula for 25 years.

The most dangerous and diabolical of the many lies and half-truths Sanju tells you is that bombings were carried out by Tiger Memon because his office had been burnt in the riots. It is a criminal rewriting of history. The Memons might have had their own grievances but here they were Dawood’s pawns. Who, in turn, was an ISI kingpin.

Dutt was but a bit player in this. His home was a safe place to keep weapons. It could be that he was a gullible man-child, fearful for his family. Never mind also that his father already had three licensed weapons. We have no evidence to doubt his intentions. But that question from M.N. Singh remains: If only he had told his father.

When a Rajkumar Hirani-Vidhu Vinod Chopra film begins by thanking Raj Thackeray, abusing journalists

History, not cinema, definitely not of the cutesy, comedic, hagiographic genre, determines whether Dutt was a victim of the ‘system’ and media, or a beneficiary. It is correct that the TADA trial court acquitted him of terror charges. But it is curious that the CBI chose not to appeal this in the higher court. Do any other terror accused get such benevolence? Never, unless the ‘system’ and the media conspire to help, not target him. His late, Congress minister and MP father begged before everybody for help, even Balasaheb Thackeray.

Stars or star-makers do not send anybody thank-you cards. Nobody sends them to journalists anyway. But to blame journalists for Dutt’s travails is shockingly and arrogantly dishonest.

Reflect now on the state of Indian cinema, on the quality of our popular culture. This was a movie made by two of our most talented and successful filmmakers, Vidhu Vinod Chopra and Rajkumar Hirani. It begins by thanking Raj Thackeray in the opening credits. And it ends with Sanjay Dutt (the real one, not Ranbir Kapoor’s Sanju) addressing all journalists with “teri ma ki…”

I presume we are supposed to find it endearing.

This isn’t just a most dishonest Sanjay Dutt biopic as at least one brave critic, Anna Vetticad, called it. It’s a funnily dark, endoscopic peek into the entrails of Bollywood, and shows you exactly what’s rotten there.

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  1. answer to this article is in the end of the movie sanju..

    kuch to log kahenge .. logo ka kaam hai kehna..

    so you do what have to do..

  2. Forget Sanjay Dutt. The court convicted him. But what about those journalists and news channels spreading lies, pursuing hidden agendas in the name of freedom of press ?

  3. You hit the nail on the head.

    A terrorist sympathizer gets a ‘biopic’ made on him to clean away all his sons. And now suddenly, Sanjay Dutt is to be seen as the patron saint of Mumbai?

    Hogwash. I don’t want to see a poster of the movie, leave alone the actual movie. I I was given a free ticket to the movie, I’d substitute my toilet paper with the free ticket.

  4. Raju hirani did what he had to,as does media. He showed half truth, so does media covers the stories with conjectures and propaganda. Hirani wanted to create sensationalism to be sold out of dutt’s life, and the news channels are torch bearers of “sensational” and “breaking” news. He wanted to please sanjay dutt (as they say) or for the matter the masses who give their hearts out for so called “heroic” (filmy) criminals, my dear mr gupta, so does media pleases its political bosses.
    So its easy to infer for you about the rottenness of the film industry so much so as is easy for the film industry to abuse the media and highlight its dirty and even more rotten coverage.
    And moreover, do not take ‘teri maa ki…” personal. It wasnt for you, but for those who create and manufacture headlines like
    “बाबा ने फिर किया शराब पीकर झगड़ा”
    “संजू अब तो सुधर जाओ”
    “सलमान और कटरीना का पूरा सच”
    “अमिताभ का दिल आज भी रेखा के लिए धड़कता है”
    I can go and on but i think you get the gist. Try improving your industry first, before hurling mud at the film industry.

  5. What about the killing of prominent citizens in Karnataka by the pro Hindutva mercenaries….

    “One of the people we are looking for is Nihal alias Dada. At least three of the four men are being shielded by these organisation which is funding them while they remain underground,” the SIT source added.

    Gauri Lankesh was shot dead outside her home in Bengaluru on September 5 last year.

    Here is the ground reality of Hindutva India…
    A new book curiously titled Who Killed Karkare? says a nationwide network of Hindutva terror that has its tentacles spread up to Nepal and Israel is out to destroy the India most Indians have known for ages and to remould it into some kind of Afghanistan under the Taliban.

    The writer, a former IG Police of Maharashtra, SM Mushrif, has reconstructed a fearsome picture out of former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare’s chargesheet against alleged Hindutva terrorists like Lt. Col. Purohit, Sadhvi Pragyasingh Thakur and others.

    The chargesheet pointed towards a mind-boggling nationwide conspiracy with international support to destabilise the constitutional order and the secular democratic Indian state that upholds it, to be replaced by a Hindutva state run according to a new Constitution. For that the conspirators were prepared for a massive bloodbath, using bomb attacks on religious places to trigger an anti-Muslim holocaust.
    Mushrif, who has over three decades of diligent policing behind him and whose feats include exposing the Telgi scam, has made an elaborate case out of nearly a dozen blasts over a large area of the country conducted by Hindutva terror groups of different stripes. His case: a section of India’s intelligence services, a miniscule group in the armed forces and a section of different state police forces have been compromised and infiltrated by these elements, a development that bodes ill for the future of the country.

    In Hemant Karkare’s net (of investigations, of course) many big and small fishes of VHP, RSS, Bajrang Dal and Sanatan Sanstha (which has been found to be involved in Diwali-eve blasts in Goa last week) had been trapped. Serving and retired army officers, academics, serving and retired officials of India’s premier intelligence service were ensnared in Karkare’s fishing net. The menacing power of the latter groups, inspired by sustained anti-Muslim hate campaigns of the last six decades, gave the plot a sinister and highly destructive character.

    Among the plans unearthed by Karkare was a blueprint for the assassination of 70 prominent Indians who could by a hindrance to the project of Hindutva. Interestingly, most of the persons marked for elimination would, naturally, be Hindus because it is they who primarily run the dispensation. The conspirators were also unhappy with organisations whose Hindutva they suspected to be less virulent than desired.

  6. Mr. Gupta spends pages describing how evil was the blasts plot. But does
    not have ONE PROOF to link Sanjay Dutt with it. Makes vague accusations. Clever, manipulative, cynical.

  7. Great perspective and very well researched, do not totally agree with this but something to think about.

  8. Mr. Shekhar Gupta, fact of media has come out. Y didn’t media take action against the police office and politician when dawood Ibrahim was suppose to come to India. Sanjay dutt has taken arms for reasons and he is wrong in it and he has served term too. U media the judicial took 25 yrs to solve case still tiger and dawood is not caught. What is media and Mumbai police doing. U r still behind a person who has served for his mistake. Pls stop supporting media people. Today u all r also culprits. Sanju movie if u want all aspects to be covered the movie will reach to six hrs my friend. Even if it’s glorifying Sanjay dutt what’s the harm, there is so many politicians and businessmen are criminals still ur media is glorifying them after so many mistakes. R u sleeping at that time. Pls find some new stories my friend don’t get upset when u and ur team are at fault

    Just see how he greets Sanjay Dutt on the show, how he conveniently looks away [at 23.20] when Sanjay is talking about the gun, how he talks about the “charm”
    and “disarming” nature of Sanjay Dutt. It is an exercise in brazen
    chamchagiri. And today, when the media has been shown the mirror by
    the film, the same man jumps to attack Sanjay as if he is a traitor
    and he himself is a noble patriot. Where was this patriotism when he
    needed Sanjay for his show? Girgit bhi itna jaldi rang nahee badalta.

    • Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Not that I ever trust media sources. I am amazed with how they can’t figure out why this generation doesn’t read newspaper. After all, 80% news is written by egoistic pieces of shits.

  10. I think the movie was made not just for commercial reasons but also as an obligatory part by Hirani and Chopra. Certainly, the movie hides the darker side of Sanjay Dutt which this article writes about/ But i think the whole purpose of the movie is to highlight that Sanjay Dutt was a circumstantial criminal and was destined to have so many negative things in life. here is a lost man, very emotional to the core who gets wayward but has a good part deep inside,, thanks to the genes from his father.
    So i would say go n enjoy the movie. Law has taken its course and one should not forget that he has been put to jail for a gd number of days. Journos will remain journos, flipping side conveniently, but stll thanks to the author for bringing some things to light.

  11. Obviously RAJKUMAR HARAMI is doing Dawood’s work! As are too many others including the khans monkeyrukh and Aamir! When will we stop being naive and forgiving of our politicians press and SECULARIST? They are traitors kept by powers outside our borders!

  12. SHEKHAR GUPTA, I must appreciate your spirit of thinking ONLY you know these details and you are determined to connect it to the film plot. It is not a documentary and the focus of the film was to say Sanjay Dutt had possessed an illegal weapon but he was not a terrorist. The court did say the same. He served his sentence for the crime he committed. To bring all this in a film review is nothing but vindictive bashing and to boast how smart you are and pretending the rest of the world is stupid. Grow up man.

    • Well written. This piece of shit journalist is just a stray dog hungry for money via clicks. We should just start ignoring them.

  13. The director has gone on record saying that this movie doesn’t glorify Sanjay Dutt but showcases the struggles he went during his younger days which most of us buy it. Although post watching the movie, I can say Ranbir is beyond brilliant so we’re vicky Kaushal and Paresh Rawal. It’s better to watch the movie for the amazing talent rather than watching it as a biopic for someone who never is or will he remembered for bad deeds.

  14. I found If Sanju was A Bigda hua Nawab, He always got a Second Chance and He stood back, Whatever and However he managed, That is why he is a Hero and We Normal people Who Dont Get Second Chances, Where are We after Debacle in every sphere of life, it may be of business, education, Love or anything, Lets Learn From it, Truely Ranbir Has Come Back… He worth the Nam3 and Fame, But should’t get Lost in the midest of the Great Carrier Unlike Sanju…The Flim is Actual Lesson to both the Addicts Sanju and Ranbir.

  15. Sanju might be wrong in real life.. Movie might be hiding the truth.. Ok we agree .. But even bigger criminals are media people.. U tell something and later turns out something.. And then very cleverly hide the news by putting another new sensational story.. If u want to have a reality check.. Then go and do independent survey about urself.. 99% of population laugh at u… Bcz everybody knows that biggest liers are u ppl.. U dont do any survey on ur performance, how people feel about u.. Kindly do one such survey and then post similar article like this one about urself..

  16. Excellent piece…spot on…
    What is wrong with us….. we seem to live in small hermetically wells of ignorance. and make belief ……a very poorly informed people.

  17. After watching ‘Sanju’ I have come to some conclusions: It is perfectly all right to become a drug addict if you have problems with your family or work. Which means that if your mom is dying of cancer and if your dad is a bit strict with you and wants you to put in some hard work to build a career, go ahead and find relief in drugs. Forget the fact that you have been born with a silver spoon. When the tension becomes a bit too much, snort some powder! And further, if your dad is being threatened, contact the underworld and buy some gums. It’s the best way to protect your family. And meanwhile, it’s perfectly all right to screw around, get drunk, behave like a juvenile and treat your future father-in-law like a piece of shit. In short, you can be a perfect turd in life because there will always be a Vidhu Vinod Chopra or a Raj Kumar Hirani to do some waxing and polishing for you to turn you into a saint. This isn’t a film. It’s a commercial for a second-hand piece of machinery that is being passed off as new. It’s also an example of what happens when filmmakers sell their soul.

  18. This is so criminal n shocking! Thank you for putting together the pieces so well for a refresher for all those who were born in the 90s. The makers should be sued – By the police first of all. And then taken to the cleaners – By the media.

  19. You cannot deny the fact that the state of the media in India is extremely bizzare. It is shadowed by sensationalism and breaking news. While I completely agree that the Sanju movie gave half truths, I cannot agree that the journalists covering the blasts did their job honestly and with dedication.

  20. I think that the Indian media is the worst…How anyone can forget the live coverage of 26/11 Mumbai attack which was helping the terrorists…And still 24×7 just bjp v congress news and debates…

  21. Excellent piece !! The kind of stuff we look forward to from you, incisive, researched, engaging and thought provoking ! Another comment from a right wing came to my mind though. He said Sudhir Date, the famous Marathi singer had struggled to get a movie on Veer Sawarkar released. He compared the embracing of Sanju by virtually everyone in India, a film on a convicted killer, as he put it. Contrast that with the opposition to Veer Sawarkar’s movie, to him, made a statement on the lop-sided liberal attitute we have hre to Freedom of Expression.

  22. Did you read the movie title wrong? The movie is “SANJU” a biopic on Sanjay Dutt. It’s not 1993 Mumbai riots!. The focus was on Sanjay Dutt’s life story, there was no need to exaggerate the 1993 riots. The riots were like 2% of the movie and they showed it right. Look, the article is well written. But it’s no where related to the movie Sanju. Oh now I get it! The mention of ‘sanju’ in the title or your article was a clickbait?!?? Wow! Sanju couldn’t have been more right on journalism ?

    • 2% really? Half the movie was about his drug phase and half about his gun case. It wasn’t even a biopic as it only mentions these two incidents of his life and it doesn’t tell us anything that we already didn’t know. Most of his family members and friends were missed out. And most characters in the movie were fictional kamli Ruby etc none of them exist in real life

  23. U all who r commenting on a person…do u knw him personally??….hw dare u judge a person by his past mistakes?…. he din get into drugs with choice it was to come our of fear… this can happen to any1… live a life of a celebrity n see the pressure …we r common ppl no mafia calls us to grace there occasions… we don’t get extortion calls so we don’t und there choices…n the article is only anti Muslim n anti Sanjay dutt …for no reason aft years to create hatred…

  24. This is exactly what was expected of the media. I’m a graduate in BMM (Bachelor of Mass Media). This is nothing but a propaganda article. The media was all praises for Raju Hirani when he bashed spiritual gurus (and rightly so) , but when the balme is on you doesn’t feel very good does it.

  25. He shameless when telling his story and what an irony for Sunil Dutt when he again uses his name to get rid of guilt (of knowing by the nation about his deed). In doing so he gets deeper in shit he was always in.

  26. Why canj’t I share this article on Face Book and Twitter? Links provided are not working!!

  27. it’s a story like no other. Truth is hidden under a lot of drama. But, we see it. Yes. Sanjay Dutt could have saved many lives. The atmosphere after Babri Masjid was so volatile that any thing could have happened. That’s why Indians have voted for a person like Modi to set things right. Right? Everyone should do their bit in this to save the country from hate. The Muslims should forget Babri Masjid, there are so many mosques in India to pray in. And the HIndus should move on and save India from the economic crisis that we are hurtling towards now.. No religion please. Keep it at home. I am sure everyone has learnt their lessons, most of all Sanjay Dutt. The media has been punished too. All Indians have suffered and are suffering because of this Hindu-Muslim hate. Enough is enough. Let’s talk about roti, kapda and makan and a little ice cream for my children.

  28. Before or after sanju biopic we believes Indian media are most currupted and law class industries where you can make propegendas for only only makes money…. bloody i would call you presstitute…

  29. The calumnist has not mentioned very clearly whay was involvement of Sanjay Dutta and how he was aquinted from TADA. Sanjay correctly told, that question mark ruined the family. The columnist once again trying to put that question mark. He should revel, if he has direct proof which was managed not to put in front of judge. Do not write this type of history irrelivently against a film. Correctly media is now deserve that ‘teri ma ki..’ for half truth stories.

    • Any family is very prone to the cancer that has been brought by a member of that family by doing this kind of act which leads to mass murder

  30. we a country of fools? otherwise how come such a film makes a box office hit. a biopic on a drug addict and a confident of to terrorists who married thrice and slept with 300 plus women, as per a report, is simply tells the intellectual bankruptcy of bollywood

  31. Excellent piece! Sanjay is a product of that city, a heady mix of glamour & crime, guilt and gore….shameful how he uses his father’s name yet again to salvage his image…perhaps to qualify for Raju Hirani’s next Gandhigiri film!

  32. Right on the dot! Sanju movie is great only for rebirth of Ranbir, a sensitive actor who had lost his way due to wrong choice of movies and personal problems. Even as very transparent Dutt Saab toiled hard, Sanajay was hand-in-glove with underworld thanks to his penchant for drugs and underworld. We went thro’ hell then amidst blasts. He could have saved mumbaikars in hundreds, but he chose to remain a coward. But to end the movie with choicest gaalis – why are you folks taking this nonsense! What’s the director trying to tell the media and Press?

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