On September 12, Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, “New film, first day for me…Another friendly appearance.. Sanjay Dutt and Rana (Daggubati) on set!” The film in question was Ram Gopal Varma’s Department.
“This will be my seventh or may be eighth film with Ramu. I used to think that Hrishida (Hrishikesh Mukherjee) was the director I have worked with the maximum, but Ramu seems to be taking over,” smiles the star who has collaborated with the filmmaker on films like Sarkar (2005), Sarkar Raj (2008), Nishabd (2007) and Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (2007), to name a few.
Their last film together was Rann, which released last January. Quiz him on Department and he says it’s a cameo.
“The film revolves around a group created in the police department to eliminate crime and the mafia. I play a negative character who becomes a politician and is a strong element in the story,” says Bachchan, who played similar roles in Sarkar and its sequel.
Speculation is rife that this gangster-turned-politician, who wears dhoti-kurta, an anklet offset by a red scarf and glares going by Revealed stills from the set, is modelled on reformed criminal-turned-neta Sarjerao Gaikwad.
While Varma refuses to confirm the buzz, Bachchan insists his character has no role model.
“Ramu likes to research his movies. And since Department is based on the Anti-Terrorism Squad of Mumbai, he has met a lot of people. But I don’t think my character is inspired by any real- life person. Even if it is, he’s not mentioned it to me,” shrugs the actor.
Meanwhile, Varma’s next, 26/11, is based on the three-day terror attack that paralysed Mumbai and ended with the capture of Ajmal Kasab.
Three years ago, after the operation ended, Varma had walked through the Taj Mahal Hotel with then Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and his actor-son Riteish.
Has he spoken to Bachchan about making an appearance in this true-to-life movie too? Says Bachchan, “I read about the movie in the newpaper but he hasn’t spoken to me about it.”