Sunday, July 19, 2009

Varadarajan Muniswami Mudaliar (1926–1988)

Varadarajan Muniswami Mudaliar aka Vardhabhai (1926–1988) was a Tamil immigrant from Madurai, Tamil Nadu, who rose to be a mafia don in Bombay, India. Most active in the 1970s, he was the link in the underworld history between old time mafia men such as Haji Mastan, and the current system with the likes of Dawood Ibrahim.
Varadarajan started as a porter in Bombay's Victoria Terminus Station in the 1960s. His emergence in the underworld was largely through bootlegging and matka operations. Later, he diversified into contract killings, smuggling and dock thefts. He ruled the underworld well in to the 1980s. In the 1980s, he almost ran a parallel judiciary system, dispensing justice within his community. He organized the annual Ganesha festival, a lavish affair.
Varadarajan Mudaliar came into light after the reign of Karim Lala. At that time, Karim Lala, Varadarajan and Haji Mastan were the trio that ruled the Bombay underworld. It is said that these three had good standings with their communities and looked after their interests. However, after the collapse of the cotton mills in Bombay in the mid 1980s, their relevance was ended.
Varadarajan was very active in the Matunga and Dharavi areas of Bombay. In the mid 1980s, Varadarajan met his nemesis, police officer Y C Pawar. By the end of the 1980s, most of Varadarajan's gang members had been imprisoned or eliminated by Pawar, and Varadarajan himself had to flee to Chennai. Varadarajan died in Madras in 1988, aged 62.
In 1987, the Tamil film maker Mani Ratnam made his film Nayakan, loosely based on Varadarajan's life. Actor Kamal Hassan played the lead role.
The Hindi movie Dayavan, produced and directed by Feroz Khan (released : 21 October 1988) was based loosely on the life of Vardarajan.

Vardhabhai sought assistance from Tilak Nagar-based gangster Rajan Nair alias Baba Rajan to protect his territories and neutralise threats from rivals like Lala and Mastan. While the Pathan gang was beefed up with the entry of Samad Khan, Reshim soon made it as a leader in the docks.

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