MUMBAI -- Chhota Rajan's meteoric rise in the underworld has inspired many Bollywood filmmakers to chronicle his life and times on the big screen.
The 55-year-old fugitive from Mumbai, whose real name is Rajendra Sadashiv Nikalje, was apprehended yesterday in Bali, Indonesia, after being on the run for decades.
Born into a middle class Marathi family, Chhota Rajan took to black marketing of Bollywood film tickets before making his way to crimes like murder, extortion and arms smuggling.
After his mentor Rajan Nair alias Bada Rajan was killed in the 1970s, he took over the gang and earned the name Chhota Rajan.
One of the earliest film which was loosely based on Chhota Rajan's tumultuous journey was Mahesh Manjrekar's 1999 crime drama Vaastav: The Reality (1999).
The film saw actor Sanjay Dutt play Raghunath 'Raghu' Namdev Shivalkhar, an innocent man who gets embroiled in the murky world of crime after an accident.
Also Read: 9 Things You Should Know About Chhota Rajan
Vaastav: The Reality was incidentally produced by Rajan's younger brother, Deepak Nikalje. The movie went on to bag many awards and achieved a cult status after its release.
Chota Rajan became a trusted aide of underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and the duo became a deadly combination in Mumbai's underworld.
However, the serial blasts on March 12, 1993, in which Dawood was one of the conspirators, changed equations between the two. Rajan split with Dawood and started a new phase of what later became fabled rivalry between the two.
Chronicling this split was Ram Gopal Varma's 2002 crime- drama Company (2002). Labelled as a "fictional expose" of the Mumbai underworld, the film was loosely based on the mafia organisation D-Company, known to be run by Dawood.
Actor Vivek Oberoi starred as Chandrakant 'Chandu' Nagre while actor Ajay Devgn played the role of N Malik, modelled on the crime lords.
Company was the second film in the Indian Gangster trilogy, and a sequel to the blockbuster Satya (1998). The film was followed by the last movie in the trilogy D (2005), again based on the underworld organisation.