The horrifying 26/11 attacks that shook Mumbai, marks eleven years today. On Bollywood front, many filmmakers have tried to encapsulate the terror that caused havoc in the maximum city.
Going back to 2008, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma received flak for touring Taj and Trident Hotel, which was one of the terror attack sites. While RGV countered by saying he did not go to the Taj and Trident with this intention; that his being inside the hotel was a “mere coincidence”, B-towners condemned his action, which were meant for his tentative movie.
In 2008, 10 Pakistani terrorists belonging to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba sneaked into Mumbai and gunned down over 160 people. Over the course of their attack, nine of them were killed while one -- Mohammed Ajmal Kasab -- was arrested and finally executed in November 2012.
Arriving in Mumbai from Karachi, Pakistan, by a fishing trawler, the 10 terrorists unleashed mass destruction at the city's hubs such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Cafe Leopold, Cama and Albless Hospital, Nariman House, and Oberoi-Trident Hotel.
News channels have turned the focus on RGV’s visit with former Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, his film actor son Ritiesh and, allegedly, with his (Varma’s) assistant director.
According to a report in Hindustan Times, actor Aashish Chaudhary, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the terror attack at The Trident, said “What was he (Varma) thinking? It is not a tourist site or an exhibition.”
Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who started his career with RGV, didn’t shy away from condemning his mentor and said, “No one knows his intention behind taking a tour of Taj. But knowing RGV, one can suspect that he might be interested in making a film on it. If that is so, it’s extremely insensitive of him.”
An insider from filmmaker’s unit said that RGV was glued to the TV screen like millions of Indians during the dramatic 59 hours of the siege, and had discussed making a film.
Actress Simi Garewal said, “Ramu’s act can put the entire film fraternity in question. He should have considered the implications. It is also completely mindless and uncharitable on the CM’s part to take them (RGV and Ritiesh) along.”
Jab We Met director Imtiaz Ali added, “I am not aware of his motives. One should let RGV be. The biggest concern is everyone’s security — that is much more significant than any Ramu paying visit to the Taj.”
Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha also weighed in and said, “Ram Gopal Varma seems to have gone a little too far in his attempt to bring realism to the screen. It’s bizarre and shameful.”
Filmmaker Ashoke Pandit, concluded, “He has clearly put us to shame. Filmmakers are often accused of capitalising on human tragedies. Being a part of this industry, I find such accusations extremely demeaning. But what can one do when we have people like RGV who just refuse to improve and show any sort of solidarity.”
In 2013, RGV finally released his film titled as “The Attacks of 26/11”. It was the only film in Bollywood back then that officially traced the incident and its aftermath. Starring Nana Patekar as Mumbai top cop Rakesh Maria -- who handled investigations -- the film had its moments of brilliance.