We last heard of it—the Bollywood-underworld nexus—when high-profile witnesses from the industry started turning hostile in the Bharat Shah case. But after an almost month-long lull, the wires have started crackling once again. This time the unholy marriage has made it to the news with the Mumbai police arresting a small-time film producer, suspected of having links with the Abu Salem gang, for allegedly coercing three tinseltown biggies to star in his film Tum. The police say Mohammed Adil Farooq alias Guddu literally bullied Jackie Shroff, Saif Ali Khan and Aftab Shivdasani to act in his film for a pittance. That apart, his casting list also included Bipasha Basu’s name. The cops say they had been keeping a watch on Farooq because he had arrived in Mumbai just a few months ago, managed to turn a film producer and pull off a casting coup. They suspect that Farooq’s company Faisal Kamal Films was being financed by the Abu Salem gang through his Dubai-based aide Kamal Rashid and his wife Ayesha.
Things became murkier when some junior artistes from the film industry reportedly contacted the Mumbai police, claiming they too had got threat messages from the mob. The cops are serious about pursuing the case to its logical conclusion and they have already begun interrogating Farooq in right earnest.