7 things to know about the real Haseena before Shraddha Kapoor's trailer drops

Apoorva Lakhia's biographical drama on underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s sister Haseena will have to take into account the good, bad and ugly side of the woman who largely remained a mystery. Here are a few things you need to know about the real Haseena.

Mayur Lookhar

Hindi cinema's fascination with the underworld never ceases. Apoorva Lakhia, who made Shootout at Lokhandwala (2007), returns with Haseena: The Queen of Mumbai this year. The film is a biographical tale of late Haseena Parkar, the dreaded sister of underworld don and fugitive Dawood Ibrahim. Shraddha Kapoor plays the lead in Haseena: The Queen of Mumbai which will hit the theatres on 14 July.

Unlike her infamous brother Ibrahim, Haseena does not even have a Wikipedia page. So, who really was Haseena Parkar? We give you a low-down on the life and times of Haseena.

1. Sister of India's most wanted fugitive
It is well-documented how Haseena was the elder sister of underworld don and fugitive Dawood Ibrahim. Often referred to as aapa (sister), Haseena was a resident of Gordon Hall Apartments in the Nagpada area of south Mumbai. She has been also termed as "the lady don of Nagpada". The story goes that she liked Gordon Hall Apartments so much that she broke into the house and occupied it forever.

2. Haseena's husband was murdered, son died in an accident
Haseena suffered two big tragedies in her life — first in 1991 when her husband Ismail Parkar was allegedly murdered by Arun Gawli's men. Brother Ibrahim would later avenge his brother-in-law's killing. In 2006, Haseena suffered another blow when her 23-year-old son Danish Parkar died in a road accident on the Goa-Mumbai Highway.

3. Allegations of land-grabbing and extortion
Very little information is available on Haseena, except that she played an active part in land and construction dealings in and around south Mumbai. After her husband’s killing, Haseena shifted base to Nagpada from where she handled all her brother’s businesses. However, in the eyes of some, Haseena was an alleged extortionist who coerced builders into taking favourable business decisions.

In 2006, estate agent Vinod Avlani had filed a complaint against Haseena for keeping part of the Rs1 crore paid by developer Jayesh Shah to finance a slum rehab scheme at Wadala. Haseena was charged with extortion, but she was granted bail by a Mumbai court that didn’t find any case of extortion against her.  

4. Overseas film distribution to alleged hawala rackets
From negotiating overseas rights of Hindi films to demarcation of cable television areas and helping builders clear slums for redevelopment, Haseena came across as an influential figure in business circles of Mumbai. However, she was also allegedly involved in hawala rackets to send money from the Middle East to India and vice-versa. It is believed that Haseena negotiated for the overseas distribution rights of films in the Gulf and Russia. Once Haseena aapa demarcated areas of operation, no cable operator dared to disobey her.

5. Connection with the 1993 Mumbai bomb blasts? 
Haseena continued to live in Mumbai without fear. While there were many allegations against her, the Mumbai police nor the state found anything to implicate her in the 1993 Mumbai blasts. Most family members of prime accused Ibrahim and Tiger Memon had fled the city before the blasts, but Haseena stayed put. Her brother has been the most wanted man in India, yet Haseena stayed back. She was allegedly in touch with her brother.

6. The controversy over Sara-Sahara shopping complex
In 2007, Haseena and her brother Iqbal Kaskar courted news over the controversial Sara-Sahara shopping mall complex. Both Kaskar and Haseena were made accused under MCOCA (Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act ).

The trial began in 2006 in the case that involved the construction of a shopping centre in Crawford Market on a CPWD plot handed over to the accused Abdul Rehman Gafoor Shaikh and Abdul Satta Radhapura by BMC officials. 

In 2003, Nafisa Shaikh, who lived in a hut on the pavement near Manish Market opposite Crawford Market, complained to the police that the owners of Sara-Sahara shopping centre were threatening to evict her as her hut was obstructing the entrance to the building. They allegedly asked her to speak to Ibrahim and Chhota Shakeel to settle the matter. The duo later forcibly evicted Shaikh and her family. In 2012, the mall was engulfed in flames, amidst rumours that it was caused by Haseena’s enemies. The mall reopened in 2013. Haseena would pass away in 2014. The controversy over the Sara-Sahara shopping complex remains a mystery. 

7. Death in 2014
Haseena died on 6 July 2014 due to a cardiac arrest in a Mumbai hospital. Haseena, who was observing a fast during Ramzan, complained of chest pain and was rushed to nearby Habib Hospital where she is learnt to have breathed her last.