Apoorva Lakhia believes Daddy will pave the way for Haseena Parkar

You might have expected director Apoorva Lakhia to be bitter at the way his underworld thriller Haseena Parkar has had to shift its release date in order to avoid clashes at the box-office with other big ticket Bollywood films. But no, the filmmaker is upbeat and downright cheerful.

Haseena Parkar, a biopic on fugitive underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister by the same name who conducted his criminal empire in Mumbai, was set for release on July 14. But it made way for Anurag Basu’s much-anticipated Jagga Jasoos. Lakhia shifted to August 18, only to realise he was in competition with Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal next. Since no filmmaker wants a run-in with Shah Rukh Khan at the box-office, he moved his film’s release to September 22. Now Lakhia finds his Haseena Parkar in competition with Omung Kumar’s Bhoomi on that date. Since this is Sanjay Dutt’s return vehicle to Bollywood, the focus is more on Bhoomi than Haseena Parkar.

What might have further discouraged Lakhia is that two weeks before Haseena Parkar hits the screens finally, Arjun Rampal’s biopic Daddy on that other Mumbai gang lord Arun Gawli releases this Friday. The Mumbai underworld was ruled by Dawood and Gawli during the 1980s and 90s. And after seeing Daddy, viewers might experience a sense of déjà vu with Haseena Parkar two weeks later. But Lakhia is happy at the turn of events.

Cheerfully, the director has said that Bollywood has always had a fascination for gangster films. The gangster-turned-politician Arun Gawli of Daddy plays a big role in Haseena Parkar as well because it was Gawli who got Haseena’s husband Ibrahim Parkar murdered in real life. “The films are interrelated because Daddy kills Haseena’s husband. It’s a good thing that Arjun’s film is releasing before mine because audiences will know more about Gawli and his character and be familiar with his role in the gang war against Dawood. I think Daddy will be good homework for the audience who will see Haseena Parkar,” Lakhia has optimistically said.

Trade pundits are not so certain, however. While Arjun Rampal is certain to bring a powerful presence on the screen as the underworld don Arun Gawli, sources say that debutant Siddhant Kapoor (Shraddha Kapoor’s brother) might appear as a weak Dawood Ibrahim in comparison. Audiences are not going to be seeing Lakhia’s film because Shraddha and Siddhant play the real Haseena-Dawood siblings in the biopic. So, the filmmaker should be less jubilant in his anticipation.