Mumbai, Dec 1 (IANS) In the eye of a storm for visiting the ravaged Taj hotel in the aftermath of the terror strike, Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma has denied reports he was planning to make a movie on the bloody assault on Mumbai.
'It's a figment of their (media's) imagination. I have no such plans (to make a movie on Mumbai's 27/11 terror strike),' Varma told IANS. The filmmaker is known for making true-to-life movies. He recently made 'Contract' on the nexus between the mafia and terrorists.
The media had on Sunday highlighted Varma's visit to the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, accompanying Maharashtra Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who had gone to the 105-year-old hotel for a first-hand assessment on the extent of damage.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was quick to take a potshot at Deshmukh for including his actor-son Riteish and Varma in his official entourage.
The minister, however, denied it, saying, 'It so happened that Varma was already at the Taj when I reached there and he later joined Riteish. I didn't take him along.'
The landmark hotel suffered extensive damage after terrorists stormed it on Nov 26 night, set off massive explosions and killed many of the guests and staff over three days.
Bollywood is, on the other hand, divided as to whether Varma should have allowed himself to be seen with Deshmukh.
'I think, the media is blowing the whole episode out of proportion,' said producer Pahlaj Nihalani.
Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt was more forthright in his criticism of the media for its 'preoccupation with trivia'.
'Besides being a filmmaker, Ram Gopal Varma is also a human being. Like every sensitive person, he too was curious to know the damages Mumbai's landmark hotel had suffered at the hands of the terrorists. He got an opportunity to go there and so he went. So, what's the big deal about it?,' Bhatt, who has directed films like 'Zakhm', said.
But the majority in Bollywood say it was not proper for Varma to tag along with the chief minister's entourage, especially when he (Deshmukh) was on an official visit.
'He may be a friend of the chief minister's son but knowing how the media functions today, he should have stayed clear of the TV cameras in order not to stoke a controversy,' commented a veteran filmmaker, who did not wish to be identified.
Varma's close circle of friends regretted the ire Deshmukh's detractors and the media in general chose to direct towards the filmmaker over the issue.
'Aren't they making a mountain out of a molehill?,' asked a Varma loyalist.
'I will not be surprised if some months from now I get to see a RGV production based on 27/11. I hope, he makes it,' said Sakir Ahmed, a RGV fan.