Daddy is based on the true story of Arun Gulab Gawli, once the feared mobster of Mumbai’s underworld and Dawood Ibrahim’s arch rival, and now a politician. The film seems to come from the heart of south Mumbai’s streets, Dagdi Chawl in Byculla, where Gawli’s gang operated from. Rampal, with his searing intensity, seems like the perfect fit to essay the role of a brooding gangster.
Son of an unemployed working class man who shed his origins to become one of Mumbai’s most dreaded dons – there is a lot in Arun Gawli’s story to intrigue and interest. His writ ran large in the city’s Dagdi slum and he went on to wield political power too. But Ashim Ahluwalia’s (of Miss Lovely fame) Daddy is not about that Arun Gawli. His hero (played by Arjun Rampal) may be a mob boss but he is not portrayed as a cold blooded killer.
The first half touches on Gawli’s growth as a don and the second half attempts to stay with his life as a family man and politician. Married to a Muslim girl, Zubeida (Aishwarya), his secular streak is subtely touched. Though he converts his wife to Asha, he is large-hearted enough to play a benefactor to both communities during the Mumbai riots. In fact, the maximum drama here is depicted through the protagonist Arjun’s own performance graph.
Besides obviously altering his features to match Gawli’s prominent forehead and nose, the actor cleverly imbibes his grunt and soft-spoken singsong manner, lending complete credibility to what is a first-rate act from the actor. If you like crime drama, Daddy is bound to fuel your imagination. Gawli is a part of India’s crime-history. And this is the closest you will come to encountering him.