Dara Kadri must be one of the most complex characters written in Hindi cinema. Many watching Bambai Meri Jaan are cognizant of the real-life mafia don he is based on. The makers allow the audience to have a look at Dara Kadri as a man who was carried away by a life of crime after he saw Haji Maqbool flaunt his power and hold over the city. We were shaped by our surroundings while growing up, and it contributed to Dara Kadri becoming a terrifying gangster in the city.
Dara’s father, Ismail Kadri, was an honest and righteous police officer working for the Mumbai Police Department. His father and mother were told by a peer that Dara would turn out to be an intelligent kid and would see success as an adult. Little did any of them know that success came his way but in an unexpected manner. Ismail made sure to secure admission for Dara at an English-medium school with the hope that he would get a good degree and a job in the future. Dara Kadri, growing up, had a mind of his own, and he enjoyed being the leader of his group. He had his brothers and a friend, Naser, who were always around him to support his mischiefs. This support was enough for him to become a confident adult who carried out many cons to sustain himself financially.
The young school-going Dara also realized that he would have to take over the responsibility of being the breadwinner after seeing his father struggling after losing his job. Ismail and Dara had their first tiff as a father and son, which set the dynamics of their relationship for a long time. Ismail wanted Dara and his other kids to lead a normal, honest life, while Dara and his siblings had a different perspective on how their lives should be. Dara, growing up, looked up to Haji’s power and the lifestyle he led. Dara was not aware of Haji’s role in his father losing his job, or even if he did, Dara had always behaved slightly selfishly and craved a materialistic lifestyle.
An adult, Dara, who didn’t have a proper education or a steady job, indulged himself in petty crimes in order to earn a living. They excelled at gaining power through bullying and conning people. Dara only had one redeeming quality. He always encouraged his best friend Naser to pursue a decent nine-to-five job and not to waste time with him and his group. He could see Naser having a stable life where he gets a steady income. Naser was a kid who diligently studied and scored good grades. Dara knew Naser was meant to lead a normal life. This was very self-aware of Dara, to understand that his life will always be chaotic and to realize he does not want that for Naser. Dara was indeed a good friend to him.
Things change rapidly for him when he starts clashing with Haji’s henchman, Bilawal. The violence between the two reaches a point when Haji ends up having to be the mediator and resolve the matter. Haji somehow had confidence in Dara. He saw a spark in him that he never saw in any of his associates. Haji’s associate, Pathan, started complaining about Dara and his antics. This was a classic old guard versus new guard fight over how their work needs to be done. Pathan was losing patience with Dara, but Haji chose to remain neutral in this matter. Dara had a vision for himself: to emulate Haji and the power he had created for himself in the city. He wanted to control the city just like Haji did, and the way he was progressing, he would be achieving his goal in no time.
Things between Dara and Pathan changed for the worse when Naser and his wife, Nasreen, were brutally killed on the night of their marriage. Naser, who was a journalist, wrote an article praising Dara. It did not sit well with Pathan and his nephews. Dara was deeply affected by Naser’s death because he knew his friend was innocent. Naser sadly became collateral damage in the struggle between the two rival gangs. Dara had to retaliate and thus began a back-and-forth tussle to locate the men who killed Naser. Dara is helped by Assistant Commissioner Malik. Malik wanted to use Dara as a stooge to get rid of Haji and his accomplices. He planned to turn both gangs against each other until all of them died. Malik underestimated Dara’s will to live and overthrow Pathan.
Dara had always been in love with a Parsi girl, Pari, who always stood up to him. As adults, they court each other for a while until he misbehaves with her father. Pari was willing to elope with him, but his disrespectful behavior towards her father made it easy for her to change her mind immediately. Pari loved him, but she loved her family as well. This was probably the first time Dara faced rejection from someone he loved. He was used to being around people who never refused him. Pari’s breaking up with him made him a stone-cold person. Dara could not see the mistake he made by pushing away a woman who loved him for who he was.
Assistant Commissioner Malik did not realize he was raising Frankenstein’s monster. After Naser’s killers were found and killed, a full-blown gang war was declared in the city. Dara and his family were attacked by a sharpshooter on Pathan’s orders in a bid to get rid of the family. Sadly, Saadiq, Dara’s older brother, was killed. Saadiq’s death hit home because his demise collectively submerged the family in pain and anger. The parents were in pain, while Dara and his remaining siblings, Ajju and Habiba, were filled with rage. Though Dara and Saadiq had not been on good terms for a few weeks leading up to his death, losing his constant support system devastated him. He wanted to seek revenge because, by getting rid of Saadiq, Pathan had violated a space he considered holy. Pari’s offering of condolences did nothing to soothe his pain. Dara, at this point, had become ruthless like Michael Corleone from The Godfather Part II. He admits to Pari that he will never forgive her for choosing her family over him. Dara is functioning at a level where he is only worried about his power and family.
As the gang wars intensify, he hires another shooter, Chhota Babban, to kill Pathan’s man while he is being taken to court to testify. Dara did not pay any heed to Assistant Commissioner Malik’s plea because he had reached a stage where he felt he was unaffected by others’ predicaments. Chhota Babban impresses Dara by finishing his job rather quickly. Dara was unstoppable at this point, for he was on the path to showcasing his power. His ‘D Company’ was slowly taking over the city, and the man at the helm couldn’t have been more upset about the tragedy his family went through. Dara finally gets his revenge by killing Pathan, but at a cost. Dara showed his power, and with Pathan and Anna gone, he was declared the unofficial king of Bombay’s underworld. But he ended up intensifying the gang wars, which led to an arrest warrant being issued in his name. The police also wanted to make sure Dara did not cross the line in pursuit of power. They had to bring him under control. The only solution Dara had was to leave the country and fly to Dubai.
Dara had an intuition that if he left the country, he wouldn’t come back for a long time. But this was a risk he was willing to take because he could not let the public see him powerless. This is where Haji Maqbool is comparatively a man of integrity, despite all the crimes he committed. He never ran away from the law, and he embraced jail when the emergency was declared in the 1970s. Surprisingly, Malik’s seniors never wanted Haji to be arrested, despite his crusade against the aging gangster. They were quick to attempt to arrest Dara, and this shows Haji’s influence was still larger. Dara could not use any of his influence to stall this arrest, which made him take the drastic decision to leave the country. His father, mother, and sister stayed back despite his protests. Dara didn’t want them to be harmed, but his father didn’t want to be treated as a fugitive for a crime he never committed. Dara’s journey as the underworld kingpin has just begun. There is more for us to see and understand about his capabilities. Hopefully, season two will cover Dara Kadri’s life more extensively.