Shootout at Wadala combines fact and fiction. The Sanjay Gupta-directed film features John Abraham, Anil Kapoor, Tushar Kapoor and Priyanka Chopra, among others

Though Sanjay Gupta’s film Shootout at Wadala is known to be based on Hussain Zaidi’s Dongri to Dubai, lead stars John Abraham, Anil Kapoor and Tushar Kapoor say that the film is a combination of fact and fiction.

“The only two characters in sync with the book are Sheikh Munir played by Tushar and my character Manya Surve,” said John Abraham in a recent press conference at Cineapolis, Royal Meenakshi Mall. “The book is about the history of the underworld in what was known as Bombay around the 70s. During this time there was one man who was willing to take on the entire system and that man was Manya Surve. His relationship with his best friend Sheikh Munir is emphasised in the book and the man who finally finished him off was Afaque Baghraan.”

Afaque Baghraan, played by Anil Kapoor, is the man who is known to have led the city’s first police encounter against Surve. He is also one of the characters in the book. “This is the first time I play a Muslim character. He is a namazi who loves his family and his job. He happens to be with the police force at the time when gang wars were peaking and everybody was fighting with each other to gain supremacy,” explained Anil. “I have played cop in other films but they were all in the lighter vein. This time it was very real, dramatic, powerful and full of action, though I was a bit scared to fight with him, what with his body!”

“Sheikh Munir was 11 years old when he started stealing,” chips in Tushar. “He meets Manya Surve in jail and brainwashes him and they both form a gang. The movie then shows what happens after that, whether they survive or take over Bombay and what their place in the Bombay underworld scene in that era is. Shekh Munir is the one Muslim member in what you can call one of the first Hindu gangs in the late 70s and early 80s.”

As to working with Sunny Leone, Priyanka Chopra, Sophie Chowdhary and Kangana Ranaut,” Tushar said to a hooting audience, “Kaam to kaam hi hai, whether it’s Sunny or Priyanka or Sophie or Kangana.”

Talking about the name change for some characters, Anil said the filmmakers had taken creative liberties. “Since this film is a combination of fact and fiction we felt it would be better for the film not to get into unnecessary controversy. Besides it’s a commercial film, we’re not making a documentary. For instance, there is a sequence in the film where my son is kidnapped. It’s a great sequence and has been fabulously shot. But that didn’t really happen in the officer’s life. These are the kind of liberties we have taken. But Manya Surve’s and Shiekh Munir’s characters have been kept as close as possible to the book. ”

Anil also spoke about his disguise as a college student for the climax, “We had to do real fight scene and of course more than me, John was very careful. But it was hectic and intense and it was quite a serious business because we had to be very careful. When you see the sequence you’ll see how intense it was.”