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Bollywood's famous prisoners

Last updated on: November 5, 2009 15:19 IST

Bollywood's famous prisoners

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Sukanya Verma in Mumbai

Going to prison can be quite daunting. Especially when not guilty. Hindi films, however, thrive on escalating emotions.

And on screen, a convict's life provides the ultimate, dramatic twist wherein a protagonist's moral fibre is put to test. Or it gives the screenwriter to feature a thrilling escape sequence. Filmmakers with a contemplative bend of mind prefer to weave a yarn around the dark psyche of those imprisoned and the workings of a jail.

From Nutan in Bandini to Amitabh Bachchan in half-a-dozen capers (Sholay, Kaalia, Deewar, Khuda Gawah, Aakhree Raasta), quite a few actors have demonstrated their range of histrionics behind bars.

Up next Neil Nitin Mukesh prepares to reveal his experiences of confinement in Madhur Bhandarkar's Jail, set to hit the marquee on November 6. Meanwhile, here's a list of actors who have served time on celluloid in recent years.

John Abraham, New York

John Abraham, Neil's co-star in Kabir Khan's take on ethnic discrimination, New York, faces a grueling experience after he is detained and brutally tortured by the FBI as a suspected terrorist in 9/11 for nine months. The incident leaves him scarred and resentful. For one of the most talked-about scenes, Abraham appears in buff. New York opened to mixed reviews but went on to do reasonable business at the box-office.


Image: A scene from New York

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Urmila Matondkar, Ek Hasina Thi

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Loosely inspired by Sidney Sheldon's If Tomorrow Comes, Ek Hasina Thi marks the directorial debut of Sriram Raghavan.

In what went out to become one of Urmila's finest performances, the actress plays an independent-living, gullible girl who falls for a criminal in a smooth-operator's garb (played by Saif Ali Khan).

He tricks her into looking after a mysterious luggage. Only it turns out to contain illegal firearms and she gets arrested. 

How her rough experiences as a convict transform her from a starry-eyed dreamer to an avenging angel is what the critically-acclaimed Ek Hasina Thi is all about.


Image: A scene from Ek Hasina Thi

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Sanjay Dutt, Khalnayak

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Subhash Ghai's Khalnayak revolves around a most-wanted terrorist Ballu, played by a ferocious-looking Sanjay Dutt with a loopy smile.

After a lot of hue and cry, the man is finally captured and thrown in jail with the mandatory iron chains and all. He's relentlessly questioned about his bosses but to no avail.

Next, there's a breakout and Ballu's out. While remainder of the caper gets busy in getting him back behind bars, Dutt delivers an over the top, amusing performance.

Unfortunately for the actor, the movie got too real for comfort after he was arrested immediately after, for his alleged links with the underworld and as an accused in the 1993 bomb blast case.


Image: A scene from Khalnayak

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Ajay Devgan, The Legend of Bhagat Singh

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Ajay Devgan gets a taste of a freedom fighter's life both outside and inside a prison in Rajkumar Santoshi's compelling The Legend of Bhagat Singh.

The solidarity of inmates, their collective integrity towards a common cause-independence through soul-stirring belief is what makes the struggle a hard-hitting one.

Released on the same day as Guddu Dhanoa's similarly themed, 23rd March 1931: Shaheed starring Bobby Deol, Santoshi's film went on to draw accolades including two National awards for Best Film and Actor.


Image: A scene from The Legend of Bhagat Singh

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Akshay Kumar, Sangharsh

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Tanuja Chandra's desi mishmash of The Silence of the Lambs provided a welcome change for Akshay Kumar.

As the clairvoyant Professor confined in a cell giving out case-solving tips to a phobia-ridden she-cop, Kumar takes a break from his trademark stuntman image.

While he's no Anthony Hopkins for sure, it certainly helped him score with critics who dubbed him wooden. The film itself was a non-starter though.


Image: A scene from Sangharsh

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Jackie Shroff, Teen Deewarein

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A documentary filmmaker (Juhi Chawla) chronicles the life of three prison inmates with death penalty, whilst examining her own in Nagesh Kukunoor's slow-moving inspiration of The Shawshank Redemption.

Jackie Shroff and Kukunoor play husbands accused of killing their respective wives -- while one accepts the blame owing to her infidelity, the other argues it was an accident.

The third convict, Naseeruddin Shah a former robber, is the liveliest of the lot despite being responsible for shooting down a banker.

Heralded for its intricate performances, Teen Deewarein went on to grab a Best Story Filmfare for Kukunoor.


Image: A scene from Teen Deewarein

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Madhuri Dixit, Anjaam

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After Sridevi's startling encounters and constant persecution as a falsely-accused prisoner in Mahesh Bhatt's Gumrah, a remake of Nicole Kidman-starrer, Bangkok Hilton, arch-rival Madhuri Dixit decided to follow her footsteps in the incredibly gory, Anjaam.

Owing to Shah Rukh Khan's unrequited obsession, Dixit finds herself at the receiving end of his malicious moves, resulting in her husband's death for which she gets the blame and sentence.

Expectedly a psychotic warden makes life hell for her and lots of bloody afflictions (including a gruesome miscarriage) follow.

Anjaam, easily, goes down as one the most ghastly films of the leading cast's career.


Image: A scene from Anjaam

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Sunny Deol, Ghayal

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Who can forget Sunny Deol's rippling muscles as he tries to rip those iron bars in frustration even as he screams out profanities at a certain Balwant Rai in Rajkumar Santoshi's Ghayal?

A budding boxing career goes for a toss after Deol discovers his elder brother has gone mysteriously missing only to discover his dead body.

Falsely charged with his murder, Deol teams up with a bunch of fellow convicts and plans a thrilling escape and a fool-proof payback.

Ghayal proved to be a breakthrough film in the genre of action as well as Deol and Santoshi's career, which collaborated with further success in the woman-centric Damini.


Image: A scene from Ghayal

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