Bollywood has reacted with horror that one of their own toured the Mumbai terror sites in the immediate wake of a seige that has left the whole world gasping, condemning his intentions, if any, to make a movie on the carnage. Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has now said he did not go to the Taj and Trident with this intention; that his being inside the hotel was a “mere coincidence”.
News channels have turned the focus on RGV’s visit with Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, his film actor son Ritiesh and, allegedly, with his (Varma’s) assistant director. The CM has resigned.
“What was he (Varma) thinking?” said actor Aashish Chaudhary, who lost his sister and brother-in-law in the terror attack at The Trident. “It is not a tourist site or an exhibition.” Filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, who started his career with RGV, didn’t spare 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 RGV’s unit said the director was glued to the TV screen like millions of Indians during the dramatic 59 hours of the seige, and had discussed making a film.
The fraternity feels it’s a bit too soon and “immature” to be seen trying to cash in on the tragedy. 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.”
Bizzare and shameful
Some say he should get the benefit of doubt. “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,” says director Imtiaz Ali. Filmmaker Anubhav Sinha 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.” Rahul Dholakia, who made Parzania, a film based on the Godhra incident, said, “If at all he is planning to make a film, he better be sensitive and have his facts right.”
Ashok Pandit, filmmaker, said, “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.”