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For the first time Gujarat mafia on celluloid: An interview with Director Sharique Minhaz
Director Sharique Minhaj hails from Burhanpur, Madhya Pradesh. In Mumbai, he directed his first movie on Gujarat's Godhra riots titles "Chand Bhuj Gaya", which was most controversial film. Now he has directed another movie with Gujarat's background. This movie is about Gujarat's Mafia King Lateef. Kewal Krishna is the producer of the film.
The movie will release along with Salman Khan's movie Kick during Eid, July 2014. Director Sharique Minhaj's first film was released when the BJP government was formed in the Center and now the second film releases after BJP government is in power in Center. Here are excerpts from the interview with Sharique Minhaj.

Question (Q): What's the story of film, "Lateef - The King of Crime?

Sharique Minhaj (SM): Movie 'Lateef- The King of Crime' based on Gujarat Mafia of the late 1980s. A small school boy falls prey to the illegal traders of liquor in slums in Ahmadabad and he grows to become the don of Gujarat. Lateef lived a royal life with the help of builders and politicians in the growing city. He forays into other businesses like kidnapping, land-grabbing and flash trade. The story is inspired form his childhood, alcohol smuggling, relations with business lobby, domination in politics, extortion racket etc. The movie has been dramatised and people will like it.

Q: Mafia is topic of several films, then why make a film on the underworld with new hero and heroine?

SM:There are many movies on dons from Mumbai, Bihar, and Uttar Pradesh etc. But this is the first ever on a mafia don from Gujarat & its first Hindi feature film which is fully shot in Gujarat. It's a new subject for audience. After Mumbai, Bihar and U.P. Mafia now Gujarat's Mafia on celluloid screen. If we had made the movie with big cast, people would come to see them and not the character of the movie. So we have new faces in the lead but supporting star cast are establish and big artists like Aryan Vaid, Raju Mawani, Mustaq Khan, Ahshan Khan Himani Shivpuri etc. We wanted the movie to run on story instead of cast. If the film story, direction, editing, etc. are all good, then the movie does well.

Q: Your first film was released when the BJP government was formed in Center and now the second film releases after BJP government is in power in Center. Don't you expect trouble?

SM: We are creative people and we want to show new things to audiences. We work on topics which are in news. The movie "Chand Bhuj Gaya" was made as people spoke about Godhra riots and it is still discussed in Gujarat. So Gujarat is the topic of my two films. It is a coincidence that two BJP governments were formed at the time of the release of the movies. You can also say that my films are lucky for BJP. When we were planning to release film BJP come to power in center. Lateef took 3 years to complete and had to defer launch due to elections as we did not want controversies. The movie is not against any party and is inspired by the Gujarat Don.

Q: Lateef is being released during Eid and Salman Khan's film "Kick" is releasing on same day. Will it not impact on your film? Aren't there business risks involved?

SM: This is a subject which is close to hearts of Muslims. Salman Khan's movie is big budget and is different. We have focused on on Eid release and rest is only a coincidence. The movie has 4 songs and one is on Poet Allama Iqbal's nazm called Lab pe aati hai dua, which is an anthem in Madrassas of India and Pakistan. What matters is subject of the movie and presentation. People will like it and our movie too will be a hit.

Q: What are the future plans?

SM: After Lateef's release, I will make a movie on Kashmir "Chinar." Aamir Khan's brother Faisal Khan will be the lead cast.

Q: You have something to say to the Audience?

SM: Viewers will like the film, "Lateef - The King of Crime". Please watch it during Eid and I wish everyone Ramzan & Eid Mubarkh in advance.


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