Thursday, November 26, 2009

Indian film: fraternity divided on capturing 26/11 on reels



A year after the country's entertainment capital witnessed one of the worst-ever terror attacks, Bollywood is still divided on whether it is the right to bring alive the 26/11 carnage on the silver screen.

Though around 10 film titles revolving around the tragedy have been registered and a couple of low-budget movies are ready for release, mainstream filmmakers have chosen to stay away from the topic after director Ram Gopal Varma faced flak for accompanying the then Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Deskmukh to visit the Taj hotel soon after the attacks.

Despite Verma's denial that he had any plans to make a film on the attacks, he was severely criticised for the 'terror tourism', which also cost the chief minister his job.

Filmmaker Rensil D'silva, who tackles terrorism in his recently released film Kurbaan, feels it is too early to explore the subject as the wounds left by the incident.

"Not anytime soon. The wounds are yet to heal. We should wait for at least 3-4 years before embarking on a film on the subject," the director said.

"Hollywood made films on the 9/11 terror attacks but these films were made just four years ago, a few years after the tragedy," said D'silva, who directed the Saif Ali Khan- Kareena Kapoor in his debut film, with a terror background.

"Besides whatever details we have is just about 40 per cent of the facts of the attacks, barely enough to portray a tragedy of such magnitude as 26/11," he says.

However, industry's bad man Gulshan Grover does not subscribe to D'silva's views and says, "There is nothing like a proper time to tell a story. There are many people around the world who are curious to know what happened on 26/11."

"As long as the story is authentic and sincere and the film fraternity is not looking to just commercially exploit the subject, I see no problem why a movie (on the subject) should not be made," he asserts.

Actor-filmmaker Anant Mahadevan, who is ready with his next release Red alert, with a naxal setting, says the Indian film industry does not have enough means to deal with the subject, which is why it is not willing to take risk.

"It is not possible to recreate the Taj Hotel..where would you create the inferno? Where is the budget? Besides, what we have is only a superficial idea of what happened and no one has tried to go down deep into the issue. Inadequacy of research and budget have restrained the industry," he says.

"What we can do is to take one particular human angle... for instance the case of the fisherwoman (Anita Uddaiya), who claimed to have seen the terrorists landing on the sea shore and was allegedly whisked off by the FBI," says the director, who is known for his romantic flicks like Dil Vil Pyar Vyar and Dil Mange More.

While many in Bollywood are reluctant to revisit the incident through movies, producer Harish Sharma has already finished his film on the 26/11 attack.

Titled Total 10, the film has been made on a small budget of Rs 2.5 crore and is based on media reports of the carnage and accounts of police officials, victims and others.

Veteran Bollywood actor Vinod Khanna has also worked on tele-series Unn Hazaroon Ke Naam, which has multiple stories depicting the loss through personal accounts.

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