Dongri to Dubai: Six Decades of The Mumbai Mafia by S Hussain Zaidi Review


When I picked up the book Dongri To Dubai by S Hussain Zaidi, I was very septic if I’d at all like the book forget about finishing it. Though I find it very difficult to read books which involves a lot of cold blooded killing, but I must admit that Dongri to Dubai is a page turner and I end up reading the book word by word.

The author style of writing makes this book unique and outstanding. Never once I felt that I was reading the book which was depicting the life of one of the most feared mafia don of the world Dawood Ibrahim. It was like watching a movie. Every incident, all the killings and assassinations  were described with utmost vividity and lucidity that I can imagine everything happening in front of my eyes.

Instead of giving a mere narration of Dawood’s life, Zaidi has written this book in fiction style which makes me suspect, sometime, was he eye witness of all those killing or was merely his imagination put forward with the excellent choice of words. It is the sheer ability of Zaidi to write a non fiction book in fiction style makes Dongri to Dubai the most gripping tale to read.

The book not only covers the significant part of Dawood’s life which are mostly crimes he committed or got it done from others and how he used the Mumbai police force to establish his empire. But the book also gives a brief insights about all his contemporary dons who in some form or other were part of his life or era. Some were friends and most were enemies and some friends turned enemy but one thing was clear if a person is in his good book he can do anything for him but the moment he is challenged the person is dead.

Zaidi transcends to various facets of Dawood’s personality, as a protective brother, as a cruel man beating the hell out of Pathans or a docile son bearing the beatings of his father or an extremely egoistic and vengeful person who waited for the right moment to strike and create an impact on people (who opposed him), mentally and physically.

Dongri To Dubai makes me recall the fateful assassination of Gulshan Kumar. Our days used to start with his Bhajans on TV. He was a shiv devotee. It stunned all of us when we heard of his brutal murder. Back then being just a kid, I didn’t have so much understanding of mafia and why exactly he was killed. But then after a few days of his murder, newspapers were full of reports that Gulshan Kumar was assassinated on the direction of Nadeem Saifee.

One thing which I find interesting is that Zaidi had made sure to give the childhood details about of all the dons or most of them. We all know none of these barbaric dons were born mafia people or were born with killer instincts. Most of them were born in very poor families. Never manage to get square meal and very soon they realized that money is everything and subsequently pushed them in this one way street world. Gradually it made them power hungry.

There is one irony I have noticed in the story of these mafia. These mauut ke sudagar doesn’t gives any importance to other lives and doesn’t even think once before killing anyone brutally, but are themselves very afraid of dying. They are ready to run any part of the world or to surrender to police in order to avoid getting killed.

The book doesn’t go into deep details but clearly indicates that some politicians, bollywood stars, business tycoons, police officers had relations with him and protected him from time to time. Due to their opposition, as it will expose them, India never managed to extricate Dawood from Dubai and later from Pakistan.

Zaidi failed to give intensive details about his illegal business and operations. Instead, author more concentrated on the terror rule of Dawood and other dons in Mumbai.

There are also some pictures in the book of some of the notable Dons of Mumbai like Haji Mastan, Karim Lala, Amirzada etc all of them sports mustache and none of them looks cruel enough to murder someone but at the end of the day cruelty is in their mind and killer instincts in their hands which doesn’t hesitate to take away someones life.

Hussain Zaidi is himself a noted crime reporter and the way he has depicted mafia world and Dawood’s reign over it shows that he has done tremendous intensive and extensive research. The book is also adapted into movie Shootout At Wadala.

Verdict: If you have liked movies like, Satya, Once upon a time in Mumbai, Company, Shootout at Lokhandwala, etc which are based on mafia world then Dongri to Dubai has all the ingredients to keep you glued to the book. It’s thrilling and fast paced and fantastic narration. A must read book.

Dongri To Dubai in English

Dongri to Dubai in Hindi

Dongri To Duabi Tamil

Dongri To Duabi Marathi


Other Books by S. Hussain Zaidi 

headley and i by hussain zaidi
Headley And I
byculla to bangkok by hussain zaidi
Byculla to Bangkok
Black friday by hussian zaidi
Black Friday
Mafia queen of Mumbai
Mafia Queen of Mumbai

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Ritu Mantri

Ritu is an avid book reader. She also reviews books and have reviewed around 200+ books till date. Her target is to finish 1000 books.

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