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Varadarajan Muniswami Mudaliar, also known as Vardhabhai (1926–1988) was a Tamil immigrant from Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu, who rose to be a mafia don in Bombay, India. Most active in the 1970s, he was the link in the underworld history between old time mafia men such as Haji Mastan.

Varadarajan started as a porter in Bombay's Victoria Terminus Station in the 1960s. His emergence in the underworld was largely through bootlegging and matka operations. Later, he diversified into contract killings, smuggling and dock thefts. He ruled the underworld well in to the 1980s. In the 1980s, he almost ran a parallel judiciary system, dispensing justice within his community. Varadarajan Mudaliar came into light after the reign of Karim Lala. At that time, Karim Lala, Varadarajan and Haji Mastan were the trio that ruled the Bombay underworld.

Varadarajan was very active in the Matunga and Dharavi areas of Mumbai. He organized the annual Ganesha festival in Matunga. However, after the collapse of the cotton mills in Bombay in the mid 1980s, their relevance ended.

In the mid 1980s, police officer Y C Pawar targeted Varadarajan. By the end of the 1980s, most of Varadarajan's gang members had been imprisoned or eliminated by Pawar, and Varadarajan himself had to fled to Chennai. Varadarajan died in Chennai in 1988, aged 62.

It is said that these three had good standings with their communities and looked after their interests.

In popular culture

In 1987, the Tamil film maker Mani Ratnam made his film Nayakan, loosely based on Varadarajan's life. Actor Kamal Hassan played the lead role.

The Hindi movie Dayavan, produced and directed by Feroz Khan (1988) was based loosely on the life of Vardarajan.

References


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