Vijay Varma to play Matka King in new web series: Know all about the real life Matka King | Web Series - Hindustan Times
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Vijay Varma to play Matka King in new web series: Know all about the real life Matka King

ByNeeshita Nyayapati
Jun 13, 2024 06:06 AM IST

Director Nagraj Manjule's Amazon Prime Video web series is a fictional take on matka gambling, which became famous in the 1960s. Filming is currently underway.

Vijay Varma took to Instagram on Wednesday to announce his upcoming web series, Matka King. Shooting for the series directed by Nagraj Manjule of Sairat and Fandry-fame is underway. But did you know India had a real-life Matka King who was famous between the 1960s-'90s? (Also Read: Vijay Varma reveals he started dating Tamannaah Bhatia after the shoot of Lust Stories 2)

Vijay Varma's next web series is titled Matka King. Meet Ratan Khatri, the real-life Matka King.
Vijay Varma's next web series is titled Matka King. Meet Ratan Khatri, the real-life Matka King.

Who is Ratan Khatri?

According to PTI, Ratan Khatri is considered among the pioneers of betting in India. Hailing from a Sindhi family, Ratan moved to India from Karachi, Pakistan, as a teenager during the 1947 partition. Later in life, he was known as the Matka King for transforming matka, a form of gambling that originated in Mumbai in 1962, into a huge racket. He established a decades-long nationwide gambling network.

Initially, he worked for Kalyanji Bhagat (his son Suresh Bhagat later took over), who was famous for Worli Matka and was a well-known Matka King. He soon branched out independently with Ratan Matka and was rumoured to have celebrities and dignitaries worldwide as his clientele. During the Emergency, Khatri was jailed and served 19 months behind bars. In the early 1990s, he retired from the gambling business and died in 2020.

Matka gambling initially involved betting on cotton's opening and closing rates from the New York Cotton Exchange to the Bombay Cotton Exchange. In the 1960s, the system was replaced with other ways of generating random numbers, including pulling slips from a matka. Ratan was known for drawing playing cards instead.

The series’ synopsis

The team shared the synopsis of the web series Matka King: “Matka King is a fictional tale set in 1960s Mumbai, where an enterprising cotton trader who craves legitimacy and respect starts a new gambling game dubbed Matka.”

Matka King is penned by Nagraj and Abhay Koranne. Vijay shared a poster showing him in a retro look and throwing playing cards at the camera. He wrote, “Ready to place our bet! #MatkaKingOnPrime soon but filming now.” The press note also states that the “game takes the city by storm, democratising a terrain previously reserved for the rich and elite.”

Matka King will also feature Kritika Kamra, Sai Tamhankar, Gulshan Grover and Siddharth Jadhav in pivotal roles. It’s produced by Siddharth Roy Kapur and Manjule, along with Gargi Kulkarni, Ashish Aryan, and Ashwini Sidwani, under the banner of Roy Kapur Films.

Another Matka King?

Incidentally, director Karuna Kumar is also making a Telugu film titled Matka, set between the 1950s-'80s. While the film's team denied that the story is based on Ratan's life, it's still based on ‘real incidents that rocked the nation.’ The film will see Varun Tej in the lead role and he'll sport four different looks. It is unknown if the film is also based on matka gambling.

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