India's Most Wanted trailer: Who is the terrorist that inspired the movie?

India’s Most Wanted trailer: Who is the terrorist that inspired the movie?

The trailer for Raj Kumar Gupta’s India’s Most Wanted, starring Arjun Kapoor as an intelligence officer in pursuit of “India’s Osama [bin Laden]”, is out. The trailer begins with a fictional account of a series of deadly bombings carried out between 2007 and 2013, killing 433 and injuring 810 in the cities of Hyderabad, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Pune, Delhi and Mumbai.

The trailer has Arjun Kapoor quoting from the Gita—the soul does not perish, only the body. The plot revolves around a group of five individuals who capture the terrorist without using any firearms.

Arjun Kapoor retweeted the trailer, calling it an “unbelievable story of the manhunt for India’s Osama. An operation that had no guns, only guts.” Curiously, the actor added in another tweet that the plot was “inspired by true events”.

Given that the film is allegedly based on true events, and that there has been a recent trend of Bollywood movies being made on real life military operations, the question must be asked—who is the terrorist shown in the film? There are a few options.

Abdul Subhan Qureshi

The most likely influence is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, also known as Tauqeer. Nabbed in 2018, he was literally known as India’s Osama, and was considered responsible for the 2006 Mumbai train bombings, the 2008 Bengaluru serial blasts, the 2008 Delhi bombings and the 2008 Ahmedabad bombings. Qureshi was arrested in Ghazipur by the Delhi police, in operations spearheaded by the Mumbai police intelligence, after a 10 year long manhunt.

Since these attacks took place in four of the seven cities named in the trailer, it is likely that the operation to capture Qureshi was a possible source of inspiration for the movie.

Ilyas Kashmiri

Another possibility is Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior Al-Qaeda operative and leader of the Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami. At one point, he was speculated to be Osama Bin Laden’s successor, with CNN calling him “the most dangerous man on earth”. He has been linked to the 2008 Mumbai attacks, the 2010 Pune bakery bombings, as well as to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. In 2010, the UN labelled him a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.

Ilyas met his end from a US drone strike in Waziristan on June 3, 2011. The fact that he was killed by American forces, and not Indian, makes him a less likely choice.

Unnamed terrorist

On April 16, director Raj Kumar Gupta had tweeted that the movie was inspired by true events and was about a “manhunt operation with no bullet being fired”. Additionally, that it “explores the untold story of our uncelebrated heroes”.

India’s Most Wanted trailer: Who is the terrorist that inspired the movie?