Chhota Shakeel’s long shadow over Salman-starrer ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’

Chhota Shakeel has a long shadow over Salman-starrer ‘Chori Chori Chupke Chupke’ (Photo Credits – IMDb; IANS)

Salman Khan has been in discussion about his personal life, his enmity, his friendship and his personal life. Time and again his films remain the talk of the town. One such film was Chori Chori Chupke Chupke which starred the cast of Salman Khan, Rani Mukerji and Preity Zinta. The story of the film revolves around surrogacy.

Chori Chori Chupke Chupke saw a childless couple using the services of a prostitute to become the surrogate mother of their child), and the hit producer-director duo of Abbas-Mustan, and it was also a commercial success, yet it made headlines. wrong reason.

Mumbai Police arrested the film’s producer, Nazim Rizvi, a few days before its December 22, 2000 release date, and charged him under various sections of the IPC and the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA). The main allegation against the producer, who had made two C-grade films before appearing in ‘Chori Chori…’, was that they were being funded by D-Company’s feared operative, Chhota Shakeel, and he Pressured Salman Khan to sign up. for the film.

On 8 January 2001, a month after Rizvi’s arrest, the financier of the film, Bharat Shah, a respected diamond merchant, was also arrested. The Mumbai Police had hours of tape-recorded conversations between Rizvi and Shah and between the producer and Chhota Shakeel to support their charges against the two. The CBI also swung into action – it confiscated the prints of the film and handed them over to the receiver of the court.

The respect with which Shah was held in his community became evident when diamond traders went on strike on January 10 to protest his arrest. Ironically, Shah was provided police protection in 1997 after he complained about extortion.

The matter became famous due to the number of film personalities including Shahrukh Khan, Salman Khan And Sanjay Dutt, and even Rakesh Roshan, a mafia hit by a job escapee, had turned back and went back on statements made to the police. The only exception was Preity Zinta.

In a closed-door session conducted in the court of then Sessions Judge, AP Bhangale, Preeti admitted that she had received threats of extortion from a member of the Chhota Shakeel gang, but dismissed it as a crank call.

The actress also said that Sanjay Dutt and she shared a general secretary, Pankaj Kharbanda, to whom she disclosed the threats she received. He may have told Dutt about this. Whatever it is, he said, the whole of Bollywood came to know about it.

Talking about it years later, Preity said at India Today Conclave East 2018: “For the record, if I had known everyone was going to back down, I would have too. It was a scary time in my life. I should have been protected. Whatever I said in court was on TV 10 minutes later.”

Recalling the fear prevailing in the industry, Preeti said: “Definitely the fear was swirling around. Because Rakesh ji (Roshan) was shot. Everyone was crazy. People kept their phones switched off, worried that they would get a call. ,

Preeti remembered how everyone was upset with her. “They all said ‘Why did you have to be the one doing all this?’ But I had a different way of thinking. I had no family, no children.”

Bharat Shah applied for bail seven times in the lower courts and then in the Bombay High Court, but it was rejected each time. Finally, he approached the Supreme Court, which granted him bail.

His defense lawyers argued that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that Shah’s voice was in the conversation tapes recorded by the police. He said the transcripts of the conversation were not acceptable as evidence as the interception process was not legally correct.

However, Judge Bhangale found Shah guilty of concealing information from the police, which is charged under section 118 of the IPC and not under any of the more stringent MCOCA provisions.

Shah was given a one-year prison sentence, which he was not to serve as he had already spent 14 months in prison. Rizvi and his assistant Abdul Rahim Allahbakhsh Khan were both sentenced to six years’ rigorous imprisonment (by then, they have already spent 32 months in jail). The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 5,00,000 each on Rizvi and Khan.

Both were found guilty of having an affair with Chhota Shakeel under MCOCA to target film personalities for personal gain.

The arrest and conviction of Bharat Shah proved how deep and complicated Bollywood’s relationship with the underworld was, and it set off warning bells for those in the film industry to clean up their act. Bharat Shah received punishment at the same time as the arrest of gangster Abu Salem in Lisbon (2004) and his subsequent extradition (2004). This was the curtain for Bollywood’s warm relationship with the goons and their henchmen.

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