New Delhi: Ram Gopal Varma has finally spoken up about the controversy surrounding his visit to the iconic Taj Hotel attacked by militants during the siege of Mumbai in 2008.
In a public document titled 'Terrortour', Varma said the allegation of his seeming insensitivity towards the incident came out of a speculation that the late Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh facilitated his visit to the Taj for him to have access to unseen views, in view of him casting his son Riteish in a film that he was planning to do on those attacks.
"What could I have possibly seen at that place what the media had not already been showing ever since the attacks began?" said Varma who is launching the first look of his film 'The attacks of 26/11' on Friday.
Here is Varma's complete statement reproduced verbatim:
I am launching the first look of my film 'The attacks of 26/11' at Nehru auditorium tomorrow the 23rd at 6 pm ...apart from the media we are also inviting the policemen who were involved with those attacks and also survivors of the victims.
In this context and inspite of it not being relevant to the film by itself, I just wanted to clarify my position on the controversy surrounding the highly criticized visit of mine to the Taj after the attacks of 26/11... the allegation of my seeming insensitivity towards the incident came out of a speculation that the late Vilasraoji facilitated my visit to the Taj, for me to have access to unseen views, in view of me casting Riteish in a film that I was planning to do on those attacks.
That speculation was completely baseless because of the following reasons:
1. What could I have possibly seen at that place what the media had not already been showing ever since the attacks began?
2. If I am accused of wanting to cast Riteish, then my question is "Would I have cast him as a terrorist or a cop or what? And this too, at a time when no one including the police knew what or who was behind the attacks".
3. I was a member of a group of nearly 30 people that were only allowed into restricted areas…Why else would the investigative agencies allow any of us to walk into areas where the crime scenes are being investigated?
The truth of why I went to the Taj at that time was nothing but my curiosity to witness a scene of an unprecedented happening and since I just happened to be with close friend Riteish I took the opportunity. Riteish himself did not know that anybody would read meanings into this act and his father Vilasraoji did not even know that I was in the group.
Having said this, I also agree that it is highly understandable that during those emotional and traumatic moments it is very natural that various concerned would feel a strong sense of indignation on such seemingly callous and selfish behaviour…but like I said and maintained ever since that time, I never ever intended to make a film on those attacks when I went to the Taj.
Now after all these years, after the whole truth has been uncovered by the investigators and by the virtue of an extensive knowledge I have gathered from various sources about the actual truths behind those attacks from both authorized and eye witness accounts, I developed a desire to film the actual story of those attacks. - RAM GOPAL VARMA