Ram Gopal Varma is denied access to the attack sites for his movie
Soon after the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai, all of India saw Ram Gopal Varma doing some terror tourism at the Taj Mahal Hotel along with the then Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his son Ritiesh. It led to a controversy that eventually cost Deshmukh his job. Varma clarified at the time that his intention was not to make a film on the attacks. He is, however, now hard at work on precisely such a movie. But in an ironic twist for the filmmaker who got such special access at the time, no one is allowing him to shoot at the original sites.
Chief Public Relations Officer for Central Railways VA Malegaokar says, “They had approached us for permission, but we refused as we don’t want any more emphasis laid on these terror attacks, especially for commercial purposes. Many railway officials also died and we don’t want any negativity attached to that.”
The authorities at Cama Hospital, where two security guards were gunned down by terrorists, too, confirmed that the filmmaker had been denied permission. “We have asked them to contact higher authorities in the government to attain permission,” says Dr Rajshri Katke, medical superintendent, Cama.
Moreover, reports have said that the Taj has also denied Varma permission to shoot in the hotel. Rumours, however, are rife that the innovative Varma is using another hotel in Juhu to parade as the Taj.
Varma maintains he is not exploiting the terror attacks. In a press statement, he had said, “My attempt now would be not only to capture the physical aspect but also behind-the-scenes aspects of what exactly happened from the time Kasab and the rest of the team landed on Amar Singh Solanki’s trawler in the high seas, till Kasab’s heroic capture by the late Tukaram Ombale at Girgaum Chowpatty.”
Varma has been working alongside Rommel Rodrigues, author of Kasab: The Face Of 26/11, for the film’s script. As for Kasab’s role, it is apparently a newcomer who has been cast, and not Ritiesh Deshmukh, as had been rumoured.▪