The city moves on but it seldom forgets. One such incident is filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma’s (RGV) entry into Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, minutes after the area was cleared after the 26/11 terror attacks in 2008.
Varma had entered the site, alongside late Vilasrao Deshmukh, then chief minister of Maharashtra, and actor Riteish Deshmukh. Later, his announcement to make a film on the incident had drawn the ire of citizens.
In June, Central Railway denied him permission to shoot at CST station (‘Sorry Ramu you can’t shoot 26/11 film at CST’, June 7, 2012).
Varma doesn’t seem to be in the mood to relent. At 12.30 am on Saturday, around 100 men from the Samajwadi Party, led by Farhan Azmi, SP leader and son of SP’s Maharashtra President Abu Azmi, disrupted RGV’s shooting outside a restaurant in Kala Ghoda alleging RGV was cashing in on the emotions of the public.
“We won’t let him shoot in Mumbai. Varma visited the Taj hotel immediately after the attack along with then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh. He had said he won’t make any movie on the attack, but now he’s going back on his words,” said Azmi, adding that his men stalled the shooting as soon as they realised Varma was shooting a film based on the 26/11 attacks at the exact location where the incident occurred.
No se ntiments
“He can shoot the film in a studio. Varma is hurting the sentiments of the 26/11 victims and their family members,” Azmi claimed, adding that the party was upset that Varma broke his promise. “We want Kasab hanged, not depicted as a hero in a movie. Let Varma promise that he will give away all the earnings from this movie to the victims of the terror attacks.
But this is a commercial venture for him sans sentiments,” said Azmi.
An eyewitness, on condition of anonymity, said, “There was a lot of commotion at this usually quite place. Around 100 men entered the shooting area and created a ruckus forcing the entire unit to pack up. They were waving flags of the Samajwadi party and shouting slogans.”
A police officer from Colaba police station said, on condition of anonymity, confirmed the incident. “The protest was brought under control and no case has been registered.”
Calls made to Varma went unanswered.