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HindustanTimes Thu,21 Aug 2014

Madras Cafe not based on Rajiv Gandhi: Shoojit Sircar

IANS  New Delhi, August 21, 2013
First Published: 14:44 IST(21/8/2013) | Last Updated: 15:49 IST(21/8/2013)

Director Shoojit Sircar concedes that his movie, Madras Cafe, based on the Sri Lankan civil war, may have certain scenes resembling events related to Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, but he clarifies that the film's story is not a biopic on the former prime minister.

At a press conference here Monday, Sircar and the film's producer John Abraham, who also plays the lead actor in the movie, were asked if permission was sought from the Congress party to essay an important sequence in, Madras Cafe, on lines similar to the Rajiv Gandhi assassination.

Sircar said: "This is not a biopic on him, this is not a story based on him. Yes, you can say that there is a similarity to that incident. There is a similarity in the facial structure (of the actor who plays the said role)."

Rajiv Gandhi, whose birth anniversary falls Tuesday, died when an LTTE suicide bomber detonated a bomb at an election rally in May 1991. A similar incident has been showcased in the film's trailer.

However, the director clarified, "We have taken that incident which we read in the paper. Rest, whatever is around it, has been fictionalised in the scripting. But somewhere you may find some historical references in the fictionalised bit too.

"Nobody knows what had (actually) happened - everyone has an idea that an incident had happened. So (what we have shown is that) when a hit squad plans such an incident, how do they do it... and that is what we have fictionalised in the movie," added Sircar.

Madras Cafe, releasing Aug 23, is already facing the ire of Tamil activist groups Naam Tamizhar and MDMK. The members have sought a ban on the film contending that it portrays LTTE cadres as terrorists.

Sircar, who invested seven years into researching the project, says it was important for the Madras Cafe team to deal with the issue in the movie with sensitivity.

But, he says, whatever side he may have taken in the movie, what it finally goes to show is human loss.

"It shows that there are so many civilians who just lost their life, and others lead a displaced life," he said.

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