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Sting right back!

Suhaib Ilyasi is ready to make a film on the industry's `casting couch'!



FACTUALLY INSPIRED! Suhaib Ilyasi in New Delhi.

Suhaib Ilyasi, the brain behind the sting operation on the film Industry's `casting couch', now wants to produce a film on the subject. Not news enough? Ruchi, the real performer of the sting, will be playing herself in the film!

"We believe Mahesh Bhatt is producing a film on the subject. We hope that he depicts the truth. If he doesn't, we shall produce a film ourselves," warns Ilyasi.

Ilyasi is riding on a twin wave of success. While his `sting' is still news, the other day Ilyasi and team celebrated the capture of the 100th criminal, courtesy `India TV's Most Wanted.'

Sharing experiences , Suhaib recalls how way back in 1998, after 14 episodes of `India's Most Wanted' on Zee TV and no arrests made, the threat of being pulled off air, loomed large. At a meeting with the channel's team, he pleaded for `just two weeks more'. Within a week, a criminal was nabbed from Ulhasnagar. Credits: a tip off by a viewer of IMW. Suddenly, they were `hot'!

Ilyasi mentions Mike Woodridge, the then South East Asia Chief of BBC, expressing astonishment that in a country where the politicians-criminals nexus is so pronounced, he could dare to host such a show. Clearly, these were `dangerous waters'. But Ilyasi, aware of the threats, says he was undeterred. `America's Most Wanted', the inspiration behind the Indian version, did a special show on IMW's fearlessness in including the dangerous criminals, including Dawood!.

For Ilyasi, of course, the high point was the near capture, but ultimate death in police encounter, of the notorious Sri Prakash Shukla of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. Shukla with over 70 murders to his name, was known to murder powerful people, in a very theatrical style, by quoting the time and place.

As soon as IMW featured Shukla, Ilyasi received a call from the DG of Police, UP. "He asked me to take all precautions to my safety," tells Ilyasi. Within a fortnight, the police received leads from viewers and Shukla was `history'.

But the `lows' in his career were nightmarish, he reminisces. He recollects the hurt after his wife's death, the allegations and the fight for custody of his child, Aaliya, after whom his Production House is named. "My dedication to work destroyed my `home'. My wife was under severe depression and ideally I should have been by her side, focusing on her. But, I was neck deep into work. Ultimately I lost her to death and before I could register the shock fully, I was accused of causing her death.''

He's back with advice to anyone who wants to venture into the shark infested waters of filmdom - "Be lionesses, not `lambs'."

"This is the exact advice I'd give to my daughter, if she wanted to be an actress, when she grows up," he adds, in all sincerity.

KIRTI PANDEY

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