Rangbaaz Phirse: Tracing The History Of Illegal Liquor Trade In India
Alcohol is perhaps the most widely abused drug in India. During India’s independence movement, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi identified alcohol consumption as a social evil and asked for a prohibition on the substance. A powerful anti-alcohol lobby, too, threw its weight behind Gandhi’s ideologies. To accommodate the opinion of the Father of the Nation and those alike, the Indian Government included a section into the Constitution intending to enforce a liquor ban. However, despite strict laws, the liquor industry continues to boom till date and now enjoys a special place in the world of crime. Notably, several states in the country observe a complete and/or phased ban, but the underground business of bootleg refuses to die down.
From 1949 to 1963, Maharashtra observed a total ban on manufacture, purchase, sale, transport and consumption of alcohol in the state. What was seen as a great measure to curb the ‘social evil’ from the society made way for small-time thugs and smugglers pouncing on opportunities to make easy money. The swampy suburbs of Dharavi, Goregaon and other parts of Bombay, turned into part-time hooch units producing truckloads of liquor. Gujarat and Nagaland have been a dry state since 1960 and 1989, respectively. But the reality remains that a bottle reaches a doorstep in these states faster than a pizza. All three of these states and many more like Rajasthan, Kerala, West Bengal, Jharkhand, are proof that alcohol ban has only strengthened corruption and crime. The moolah raked in by the trade of illegal liquor is further used to expand prostitution, gambling, cinema and, even, terrorism, in India.
Dongri to Dubai, Byculla to Bangkok, all these mafia success stories started with the smuggling of liquor. Gangs, alliances, mob bosses like Varadarajan Mudaliar, aka Vardhabhai or Vardha, Haji Mastan and others were all the by product of liquor ban. And, so is Amarpal Singh in Rangbaaz Phirse. The ZEE5 Original shows the rise of the Rajasthani gangster through illegal liquor trade, finding inroads into other pathways of crime and corruption. The recently released trailer of the upcoming web series shows how Amarpal is wronged by the system and takes to the bottle to hit back. Slowly, his tentacles develop a strong grip over the political scenario of the state as he makes more enemies than friends.
In the video, we see Amarpal mouthing a dialogue that says, “Jab jab Rajasthan mein aag lagti hai, aap logo ko Amarpal ki yaad aati hai.” But what the power-hungry criminal doesn’t realise is that there is more than what meets his eye. How a gold-medalist Amarpal Singh turns into the most wanted gangster forms the rest of the narrative. Seen the trailer yet? Watch it here:
Rangbaaz Phirse also stars Gul Panag, Sharad Kelkar, Sushant Singh, Spruha Joshi amongst others. The web series shall start streaming on ZEE5 from 20 December 2019.
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