Mafia Queens of Mumbai – Stories of women from the ganglands

Crime and its brewing places have always been of interest but when it is scrutinized from the point of reality rather than being hypothetically explored, with exaggerated plans it thrills you even more. This book was written by crime journalist Hussain Zaidi (whose earlier book Black Friday
was made into a movie) hence lending authenticity and credibility to the stories. Imagine reading a book which moves at the pace of a movie. Imagine an underworld where instead of ‘bhais’ or ‘goondas’ ,‘ammas’, ‘behens’ and ‘didis’ call the shots. This book explores the feminine side of the underworld.

With Zaidi’s simple writing style the book carries you through thirteen stories of women who challenged our myths about underworld being a man’s world. Their lives overwhelm you with emotions as their innocence fades and they don the role of tough taskmasters to merge with the underworld. These stories thrill you with the sheer brilliance of these femme fatales to evade arrest, but you also feel sorry for them as this was not their chosen career option. Jenaben’s influence, Sapna didi’s resolve, Mahalakshmi Pampani’s mystery and many others’ crafty manipulations shows underworld in an entirely different light. Monica Bedi’s story of a naïve small town girl, though deserves mention, but not among the female Mafiosi. Similarly Gangubai is not a Mafiosi only has some connections with the underworld. While writing about the mafia it seems Zaidi has digressed and has written about the powerful women even with remote links to the mafia. These Mafiosi are behind murders, smuggling and other brutal inhuman acts but the picture that is painted is that of heroines. Some of the information provided leaves you unsatisfied as the story seems incomplete. But all in all it is a good read and repository of information.

An underworld novel, it is a must read.

Akshita Manocha