Vaastav is a 1999 Indian crime drama 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.
The film was very well received by both critics and audiences. It is the 14th highest grossing Bollywood film of 90's decade and the amongst the highest grossing rated R certificate Hindi films of all time, ironically a scene of Sanjay Dutt's character raghu shooting the parsi's mans wife after she spits in his face was cut out in order for the film to get a 15 certificate for DVD and TV.
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 unanimusly amongst being one of Indian cinema's most memorable and most quated onscreen characters. The film was extremely successful both in India and overseas. It was nominated for and won many awards. Over the years it has become a cult film.
The film was followed by the 2002 sequel Hathyar.
Vaastav opens with a family performing the funeral rites of a person on a beach. 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. But Raghu and Dedh Footiya accidentally kill a customer who turns out to be the brother of a notorious gangster, Fracture Bandya (Jack Gaud). 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 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.Sanjay Dutt as Raghunath "Raghu" Namdev Shivalkhar
Namrata Shirodkar as Sonia
Sanjay Narvekar as Dedh Footiya
Mohnish Bahl as Vijaykanth Namdev Shivalkhar, Raghu's brother
Shivaji Satam as Namdev, Raghu's father
Reema Lagoo as Shanta, Raghu's mother
Deepak Tijori as sub-inspector Kishore Kadam (Kisha)
Paresh Rawal as Sulemaan Bhai (Mandavali Badshah)
Mohan Joshi as Home Minister Babban Rao Kadam
Ashish Vidyarthi as Vitthal Kaanya
Himani Shivpuri as Laxmi Akka, Bordello Madam
Kashmira Shah as dancer in the song 'Jawani Se'
Mahesh Manjrekar as himself in a song
Ekta Sohini as Puja, Vijay's Wife
Jack Gaud as Fracture Bandya
Ganesh Yadav as Chhota Fracture
Kishore Nandlaskar - Dedh Footiya's father (drunkard)
Usha Nadkarni as Dedh footiya's Mother
Reviewing the film for Rediff.com, 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."Best Actor - Sanjay Dutt
Best Supporting Actor (Nominated) - Sanjay Narvekar
Best Supporting Actress (Nominated) - Reema Lagoo
Award for Artistic Excellence - Sanjay Dutt (Best Actor)
Award for Technical Excellence - V. N. Mang)
Best Actor - Sanjay Dutt