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Vaastav: The Reality

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Vaastav: The Reality
Vaastav The Reality.jpg
Directed byMahesh Manjrekar
Produced byDeepak Nikalje
Written byImtiyaz Husain
Screenplay byMahesh Manjrekar
Story byMahesh Manjrekar
StarringSanjay Dutt
Namrata Shirodkar
Mohnish Bahl
Shivaji Satam
Reema Lagoo
Paresh Rawal
Sanjay Narvekar
Narrated byReema Lagoo
Music byJatin-Lalit
Rahul Ranade
CinematographyVijay Aroraa
Edited byV.N. Mayekar
Distributed byAdishakti Films
Release date
  • 7 October 1999 (1999-10-07)
Running time
144 minutes
Budget5.3 crore (equivalent to 18 crore or US$2.6 million in 2019)
Box office41.3 crore (equivalent to 143 crore or US$20 million in 2019)

Vaastav: The Reality is a 1999 Indian Hindi-language action crime film written and directed by Mahesh Manjrekar and starring Sanjay Dutt and Namrata Shirodkar. It also features Sanjay Narvekar, Mohnish Behl, Paresh Rawal, Reema Lagoo and Shivaji Satam in supporting roles.

"The Reality" as described by the film's tagline, refers to the harsh realities of life in the Mumbai underworld. The film is said to be loosely based on the life of Mumbai underworld gangster Chhota Rajan.[2]

Sanjay Dutt was nominated for the Filmfare best actor category for the fourth time in his then 18-year-old film career and finally winning it, regarded by critics unanimously amongst being one of Indian cinema's most memorable onscreen characters.[3] The film was very well received by both critics and audiences, and it was extremely successful both in India and overseas.[4] It was nominated for and won many awards. Over the years, it has become a cult film.[5] The film was remade into Tamil language as Don Chera (2006).[6] It was followed by the 2002 sequel Hathyar.


Vaastav opens with a family performing the funeral rites of a person on a river bank. When the young son of the deceased asks his grandmother all about the deceased, she begins to narrate the story.

As the film opens, Raghunath Namdev Shivalkar or "Raghu" (Sanjay Dutt) and his best friend Dedh Footiya (Sanjay Narvekar) (literally meaning "One and a half feet tall" in Hindi) struggle to find work in Mumbai. Raghu lives in a Mumbai Chawl with his retired father (Shivaji Satham), mother (Reema Lagoo) and a graduate but unemployed brother (Mohnish Behl). They decide to run a pav bhaji stall. They work diligently and are earning good profits. The business seems to be working out very well, before the brother of a local goon (Fracture Bandya) (Jack Gaud) and his men start visiting their stall. Continuously for somedays Fracture Bandya's men visit the stall in a drunken state and abuse Dedh Footiya. Raghu tells dedh footiya to not get involved in any argument with them. But one day fracture bandya's men beat up Dedh Footiya badly. Unable to keep their emotions and anger in the face of abuse continuously for days, Raghu and Dedh Footiya accidentally kill Fracture Bandya's brother, not knowing who he is. Now on the run, the two of them soon kill Fracture Bandya and his men also, when the latter tries to find them and kill them both treacherously by arranging a meeting through Suleiman Bhai (Paresh Rawal), a middle man in the Mumbai underworld. Raghu and Dedh Footiya now end up in the Mumbai underworld.

Vitthal Kaanya (Ashish Vidyarthi), a rival gang lord, offers Raghunath (Raghu) and Dedh Footiya protection and later hires them both as hitmen. Raghunath becomes a respected hit man, with Dedh Footiya as his accomplice. With Raghunath in his gang, Vitthal Kaanya hits a peak in the Mumbai underworld. Later Raghunath is approached by the home minister Babban Rao (Mohan Joshi) and who asks Raghunath to work for him and uses Raghunath for his needs. Raghu agrees, much against the wishes of Assistant Inspector Kishore Kadam (Deepak Tijori), a good friend of Raghu, who continues to help him by advising him and providing inside information. Vitthal Kaanya is soon killed by rival gangsters.

While Babban Rao relies on Raghunath, there are some others who despise Raghunath and are waiting in the sidelines to see when he makes an error. Raghunath does so, and Babban Rao is soon under serious pressure from the public and government. He issues a shoot-to-kill warrant for Raghunath. Dedh Footiya is killed in an encounter. Then Raghu comes to know from Kishore that the police have been ordered to kill him in an "encounter". Raghu is now on the run, both from the police and Babban Rao's men. Raghunath knows now that he must protect his wife, parents, and family, as they too are in danger. He realizes that there is no escape from this harsh reality. He arranges to meet Babban Rao with the help of Suleman Bhai (Paresh Rawal) and kills Babban Rao as he would spoil others' lives like his in the future. In the process, Suleiman Bhai is also killed.

Unable to save himself from the police, Raghu comes back to his home and tells his mother to save him. He apparently has lost his mental balance, become crazy and starts hallucinating. His mother takes him away to safety. He tells her to take his gun and kill him, so she remembers how Raghu had once taught her how to use a gun, pulls the trigger and kills him.

As the film ends, the family is seen fulfilling the annual rites of Raghu on the Mumbai beach, as the film had begun, with Raghu's mother explaining all that happened to her young grandson.



All lyrics are written by Sameer.

1."Meri Duniya Hai"Kavita Krishnamurthy, Sonu Nigam04:40
2."Meri Duniya Hai (Male)"Sonu Nigam04:38
3."Tere Pyar Ne (Male)"Kumar Sanu04:36
4."Tere Pyar Ne (Female)"Kavita Krishnamurthy04:37
5."Jawani Se Ab Jung"Preetha Mazhumdar04:44
6."Apni To Nikal Padi"Kumar Sanu, Atul Kale04:22
7."Har Taraf Hai Yeh Shor"Vinod Rathod, Atul Kale05:41
8."Aarti"Rahul Ranade Ravindra Sathe03:14
9."Vaastav Theme"Rahul Ranade, Ravindra Sathe01:14
10."Apanee Maa Hai Duniya"Rahul Ranade Shankar Mahadevan05:33


Reviewing the film for, Suparn Verma compared its theme to Hollywood films Scarface (1983), The Godfather (1972), and Indian films such as Satya (1998), Nayakan (1987) and Agneepath (1990). He felt the film offered "no new insight into the underworld" and added that it was "fast-paced and taut at times". However, he felt the film was "well shot and edited" and criticized the "lengthy dialogues". He concluded commending the acting performance of Sanjay Dutt and called it "one of the best performances of his career". He added, "From an easy-going guy to a broken man -- the role is essayed with great care by him, maintaining a consistency throughout."[11] Mukhtar Anjoom of Deccan Herald felt Dutt, who looked "terrific", couldn't "hold the excitement for long" due to the "shaky screenplay".[12]


2000 Filmfare Awards
2000 Awards of the International Indian Film Academy
  • Award for Artistic Excellence – Sanjay Dutt (Best Actor)
  • Award for Technical Excellence – V. N. Mayekar
2000 Screen Weekly Awards


  1. ^ IMDb [1]
  2. ^ "Chhota Rajan's brother Deepak Nikalje held". Daily News and Analysis. 5 December 2006. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  3. ^ "The very best of Sanjay Dutt". Rediff. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Box Office 1999". Archived from the original on 15 January 2013. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  5. ^ "1999-2000: Sanjay Dutt for 'Vaastav'". MSN. Archived from the original on 14 July 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
  6. ^ "Don Sera review. Don Sera Tamil movie review, story, rating  -". 7 June 2006. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  7. ^ [2]
  8. ^ [3]
  9. ^ [4]
  10. ^ [5]
  11. ^ Verma, Suparn (14 October 1999). "On the run". Archived from the original on 5 October 2003. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  12. ^ "At the theatres: Vaastav (Hindi)". Deccan Herald. 17 October 1999. Archived from the original on 28 November 1999. Retrieved 7 November 2018.

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