The King of Jail Times: How Would Vijay Mallya Spend His First Night at Arthur Road Prison?


The King of Jail Times: How Would Vijay Mallya Spend His First Night at Arthur Road Prison?

Illustration: Robin Chakraborty

The poster boy of bank defaults Vijay Mallya gets ready to leave the United Kingdom for Mumbai. He leaves behind his Bentley and 12-bedroom mansion for his 27 butlers to take care of in his absence. Everyone in the family is on the verge of tears, except Siddharth Mallya who realises he is going to inherit all this wealth despite doing nothing – except attending IPL games with Deepika Padukone.

Vijay Mallya arrives at Heathrow airport and suddenly it dawns upon him that his final wish made to the UK government hasn’t been fulfilled. To relive “the good times”, he wanted to travel in a refurbished Kingfisher aircraft (a SpiceJet flight with stickers replaced) one last time. But to mess with him, the Indian government put him on an Air India flight, and to further humiliate him, booked an economy-class ticket, and selected a middle seat with a crying baby on one side and an intrusive aunty on the other.

Mallya gets into an argument with the in-flight attendants after he demands toy models of Kingfisher planes and complains about the air hostesses. It ends with a scuffle and with a staffer beating up the Kingfisher-obsessed fugitive; a passenger shoots the video and shares it on Twitter with the caption, “How’s the josh?” Needless to say, the video is expected to go viral because what’s more Indian than taking a street fight to the flight.  

Mallya is even more miffed after they refuse to serve him Kingfisher beer and doesn’t speak a word for the rest of the flight. He switches on the in-flight entertainment and watches Bank Chor on loop. Next morning, his flight lands in Mumbai.

Vijay Mallya arrives on Indian soil after almost three years. For his #AirportLook, he has selected a floral shirt, similar to the ones preferred by uncles in Goa, and pairs it with white pants, his trademark ponytail and gold chains in tow. The paps are waiting for him; his airport look, they say, will be the next big thing in Bollywood. Ranveer Singh is not too happy.

Vijay Mallya arrives on Indian soil after almost three years.

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and PM Narendra Modi are waiting for him at the wrong terminal and Mallya slips past them one more time. This terminal is deserted because the crowd is waiting at the correct exit, but Modi ji once again insists on waving.  

Meanwhile, Terminal 2 is packed with the Royal Challengers Bangalore team who want to shoot an IPL ad with him at the airport and former Kingfisher employees who are shouting, “Gandu, ab tak salary nahi mili!” Mallya is furious that there isn’t a Formula One car at the airport to pick him up. He enters his credit card details on the Ola app but gets a pop up “We’re not falling for that again”. The Mumbai police them round him up and head toward Arthur Road Jail.

Once he arrives at the jail, he asks if the barracks have been renovated. “I need something with a window and a view,” he tells his captors. He is upset that when celebs like Salman Khan were detained in Jodhpur Jail, why was he relegated to the Arthur Road Jail, which has no facilities.   

“Am I not big enough for you? I own an IPL team, a Formula One team, Tipu Sultan’s talvaar…,” Mallya screams. The jail mates are excited because they finally have a famous personality among them after years. “The last time around it was Sanju Baba,” says a prisoner, who has lined up for a selfie with Mallya. An old inmate is upset with all the screaming and shouting. “Isne bhi pi ke rada kiya kya,” he asks.    

Mallya is then escorted by the superintendent to receive his prison uniform. He starts weeping when they tell him that he needs to get rid of his ponytail. He hands over his floral shirt and chains to a junior police officer and tells him, “Auction kar dena, crorepati ho jaayega tu.”

When taken to Barrack 12 of Arthur Road jail, Mallya immediately comments, “Woh jail wala video photoshopped tha kya? Where is the sunlight?” The prison in-charge tells him to take off his orange sunglasses so he can see things clearly. Mallya is impressed with the facilities in prison, and asks for a camera and some IPL cheerleaders so he can design a prison version of the Kingfisher calendar.

After the initial fracas, Mallya spends the rest of his time in prison writing his memoir The Accidental Airline Company, eating pizza with pineapple on it, and a pint of Kingfisher beer. He entertains inmates daily by playing the Kingfisher tune on the guitar. Every night, he walks over to the jail incharge and asks him only one question:

“Mere Nirav-Mehul kab aayenge?”