A poster of Gopal Tiwari’s film
Shoot would have meant a signal to pull the trigger in his heyday as an alleged hitman. Gopal Tiwari still shoots but insists it’s only on set.
Tiwari, convicted by a sessions court for conspiracy to murder along with Haldiram’s owner Prabhu Shankar Agarwal, has turned screenwriter and producer since appealing against the judgment and getting bail from the Supreme Court.
His rumoured life story Encounter:The Power of Bullet, directed by Suman Mukherjee, is releasing this month with Bangladeshi actor Ferdous playing the character that is supposedly modelled on him.
Tiwari is projecting his first Bengali film as an attempt to purge his life of the stigma of crime.
“I am a changed man. I have bid goodbye to the world of crime. Now I want to give a dignified life to my wife and children,” he told Metro.
The man Haldiram’s owner Agarwal had allegedly hired in 2005 to kill a Burrabazar tea stall owner for refusing to vacate a plot has woven his maiden film script around two criminals who meet in jail, become sworn enemies and later the best of friends.
After they come out of jail, the duo are shown entering into a pact with the police to help them wipe out other criminals in return for being allowed to lead a life in crime without the fear of being caught. “The nexus falls apart when the friends become a threat to the police. The cops then try to pitch the two friends against each other,” a source in the film unit said.
The market gossip is that the film is based on the life of Tiwari and Sheikh Dinesh, who he had met in jail. The character said to be modelled on Tiwari is a sidekick while that of Dinesh, essayed by newcomer Dhiraj, is the main protagonist. “He may have done this to divert unwanted attention,” a former associate said.
Tiwari denies that the film has any similarity with his life. “The story has nothing to do with my life. I have written the script and produced the film. That’s all.”
Shantilal Mukherjee, who played a sleuth in Sujoy Ghosh’s Kahaani, essays the role of an IPS officer who uses the two characters for “fake encounters”. Rajesh Sharma plays the officer-in-charge of a police station in the film, shot mostly in Burrabazar.
“Sixty per cent of the movie was shot in various locations in Burrabazar. Belghoria Expressway and Prinsep Ghat also figure in the movie,” Tiwary said. “We also have an item number. We are expecting it to be a chartbuster.”
Tiwari, who lives in an apartment at Malapara in Burrabazar with wife Kamini, daughter Bhavna, son Harsh and his pet Alsatian Tyson, used to be a footballer and a television mechanic before crime allegedly beckoned. He now has a construction business and is said to be close to some political leaders.
His decision to produce a film was taken last year, after the Supreme Court granted bail. Kamini Movies is named after his wife.
Tiwari’s appeal against the sessions court’s verdict of life imprisonment — Agarwal and three others got the same — is pending in Calcutta High Court.