Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has clarified that actor Riteish Deshmukh is very much a part of his media-based film Rann despite the controversy that erupted following their visit to the Taj hotel after the Mumbai terror attacks.
The relationship with Reteish remains untarnished, Varma maintains.
"Why should it change? Riteish and I knew exactly what happened. When we visited the Taj we had no intention of exploiting the visit by making a film. What happened was not in our control," the director says.
The duo had accompanied Riteish's father Vilasrao Deshmukh, who was then the Maharashtra chief minister, when he went to inspect the hotel in the wake of the Nov 26-29 carnage.
The presence of the duo had been frowned upon as it was viewed as an opportunistic way of gathering background material for a film.
Ironically, Riteish who plays a TV journalist in Rann, has been quoted as saying of Varma: "Hang him if he ever does a film on 26/11."
Varma's retort to this was: "Please praise me if I ever do."
Now, all that is in the past.
"We said sorry to each other. Neither of us is a politician. He's an actor and I'm a director. The best thing is to forget what happened and move on," Varma said.