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Ritesh Sidhwani stresses Bambai Meri Jaan is a ‘fiction story’, reflects on audiences’ love for ‘crime dramas’ on OTT

Ever since Bambai Meri Jaan was announced, there has been a loud buzz about the show being a take on Dawood Ibrahim’s life. The show based in the 60s was said to explore not just the rise of the Mumbai underworld but also touch upon his rivalry with other dons, be it Haji Mastan, Karim Lala and Manya Surve. However, as the trailer dropped, the makers, including co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani, assured that it’s a fictional tale of the rise of crime in the underbelly of ‘Bambai’. They even debunked the buzz that it’s based on Hussain Zaidi’s book Dongri to Dubai, and said that the writer came up with a fiction story based on all his experience while covering many crime stories.

As sat down with the team to talk about the web show, we quizzed Ritesh about the ‘fiction’ claims. We wondered if that was used to avoid any controversy or unnecessary comparisons. “I don’t know what controversy can be there,” he shot back. The producer then said that the show is written by Hussain Zaidi and is completely fictional. He added that he might have been influenced by the amount of work he’s done in that era.

“So obviously there is a very very strong… I don’t know whether it’s an influence or inspiration, but it’s from that time. So you’re taking a little bit of everything that happened and making it into a story with a thread that is completely new,” the co-founder of Excel Entertainment said.

Watch | Bambai Meri Jaan trailer: Kay Kay Menon, Avinash Tiwary series drops us into Mumbai underworld of the 70s

He also added that Bambai Meri Jaan seemed familiar because it takes a lot from reality. Ritesh Sidhwani said, “Now that’s the magic you have to do which they’ve done in the writing room. There are going to be [comparisons]. You’re talking about the birth of a free nation and in that background the birth of the underworld. And you’re taking references from what existed at that point and weaving that into our own storyline. So there is nothing to stay away from [the controversy].”

‘Audiences enjoy this escapism genre’

We also got the filmmaker to discuss the popularity of crime-based drama on OTT. Given they almost started the trend with Mirzapur, we asked Ritesh to reflect on what led people to latch on the genre. He smiled to say, “I mean you know it’s my favourite genre for sure. It’s kind of escapist in a certain way. I am not going to say it’s inspiring but it lets you forget about your daily life routine, and indulge in an unknown territory.”

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Ritesh Sidhwani further said that everyone wants to just have a great time while they consume content. He mentioned whether it’s theatrical or on streaming, people enjoy that more, as most big projects today are based on the backdrop of crime or gangsters. The filmmaker added that the audience loves the genre, and it’s not just the men but also women.

“If it can distract you, if it can just keep you glued, to me that is a winner hands down. Also I think people like the [drama]. Right now you are seeing that even on social media. You put a really nice positive message, and you get no feedback. And if you put something negative, then see how it goes viral. So I think that’s the thing. It’s just that people like that and it works,” he added.

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Bambai Meri Jaan stars Kay Kay Menon, Avinash Tiwari, Kritika Kamra and Amyra Dastur among others. It’s streaming on Amaozon Prime Video.

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