MUMBAI: From India's Most Wanted on the small screen to a "wanted person" being chased by legal enforcers to a feature film called Wanted No 1 - Suhaib Ilyasi has come a long way.
The maker of India's first reality show on crime (India's Most Wanted on Zee TV), Ilyasi is back in his new avatar as a Bollywood director-actor-producer after nearly three years in hibernation. Ilyasi's new reality based feature film Wanted No 1 is based one of the stories he had previously shown on the small screen - that of the underworld hit man Shivprakash Shukla.
On Saturday, Ilyasi invited Bollywood film financer Bharat Shah, veteran artistes Manoj Puri, Amrish Puri for the mahurat shot. Also present were other artistes who would co-star with Ilyasi in the film - Sayaji Shinde, Govind Namdeo and Ashima Bhalla. Needless to say, Ilyasi is portraying the character of sharpshooter Shukla.
The main protagonist is something of a crime legend in the northern belt of India and is alleged to have accepted Rs 60 million to "eliminate" former Uttar Pradesh BJP chief minister Kalyan Singh. The police finally killed him in an encounter. The film will highlight various aspects of Shukla's life including the fact that he was a man of "integrity" in his early life before turning a criminal after being subjected to humiliation and injustice.
"My aim is to expose the system in a reality based film. I want to claim that a criminal is not so by birth but is merely a victim of this society and nurtured by the system. Shukla is more of a victim himself rather than a criminal," says Ilyasi.
Ilyasi also claims that his show on Zee helped the police nab Shukla. He also adds that there would be commercial elements in the film such as songs - but not the 'dancing around the tree' variety. The screenplay for the film is penned by Deepak Mishra, a senior IPS officer and the dialogues are penned by renowned literary figure Farhat Ehsaas.
Meanwhile, industry sources say that police investigations against Ilyasi have been completed and the case could soon come up for hearing. Seems like Ilyasi will have to alternate between the courts and the sets.