Ram Gopal Varma has made his most ambitious film till date – The Attacks of 26/11. Clearly gung ho about the way his most emotional movie till date has shaped up even though he agrees that this film is not something to be happy about.
What made you launch the music of your film at Leopold Cafe?
Ram Gopal Varma: We all know the significance of that happened at that place. It was a tragic event and one of the most momentous events which happened in post independent India. One of the main reasons that I made this film was because I happened to meet the owner of the cafe Farzad Jehani and when he told me what happened it gave the idea on how to make this film. Everyone pretty much know what happened that night, but to see it from the prospective of a one particular person is different. The event would be perceived by different people with different prospective. The point is no matter how much somebody tries to intimidate or terrorize you, but people need to come back to their normal lives.
To that extent I think it is very correct to do the first look here at Leopold where it started. Not just to remember just the memory of pain, but also as a certain symbol of spirit. I would like to thank Farzad because he had to close this place down for three days for me to recreate the event which happened here.
The music of the film is obviously gripping… tell us something about it.
RGV: I strongly believed as a human being that the attacks of 26/11 that had happened in 2008 was not really against a community. I think it’s a attack on human beings committed by certain human elements. So I thought the most rightful idea would be in combining maula maula and deva deva. Rooshin composed the song and Sukhwinder has sung it really well. Then Sukhwinder has sing another song called Raghupati Raghav Rajaram. What Sukhwinder did for me is significant because it’s a sound of peace and most closest to a person like Mr. Mohandas Gandhi. When I heard that song, it just stuck in my mind as a sound of peace. The fact that subject of 26/11 is so violent I just felt that this sound was the most correct counter point to the violence of the film.
Tell us the inside story. What was your source of information for The Attacks of 26/11?
RGV: First of all I would like to tell you all that the intention of the film is to tell something that people do not know about. But I would rightly say that they may know what happened but do not know how that happened. How is the detailing in the emotional context? For example I am telling you a story of one certain person who was in this place. So I am not telling you the story of Leopold Cafe. The story is about one person and what he or she would experience and it is his emotion that we have filmed. So I have not tried to suggest any conspiracy theory or telling something which is not on a public record. It is a real event which is recorded. All the sources of information are from the highest authorized person as for this is concerned. What you will see for example is: you know they hijacked boat, but you don’t know what happened in the boat. That’s the point.
RGV: Do you have any real footage in the film? The trailers seem to suggest you do.
RGV: Whatever you see in the trailors and promos is all created footage. There is no real footage from actual existence. My intention was to capture the truth, so we did a lot of research and spoken to people and police officers involved in it. It was recreated to the nearest extent possible.
Did your visit to the Taj help in getting a better idea for the filming The Attacks of 26/11?
RGV: I have answered this a thousand times. I went there after 3 days since the attacks happened and when the operation is over. Whereas this film has nothing to do with what happened after the attacks. It has only to do with the night of the attacks from 9pm to 1am that night.
Are there any fictitious scenes in the film?
RGV: No, there is no imagination. My research was on all the people wherever the incident happened.
Is Nana Patekar’s role based on any real-life character?
RGV: Yes, it is based on Mr. Rakesh Maria because he was at that time the Joint Commissioner of Police.
A lot of people are making films on real life subjects. How do you feel about that?
RGV: Films are the medium at the end of the day for any person who wishes to communicate something imaginary or real or he has to say something. I think different people have different motives behind making movies. I can’t generalize or answer for all of them. In the movie industry there is not only one person, there are lots of people. I can’t speak on behalf of all of them. I can speak about myself.
Do you think the film will create any controversy?
RGV: It’s absolutely a non controversial film because nobody has a dispute about what happened and there is nothing like that there is the trial is still going on and there is an investigation taking place at the moment about what happened on the night of 26/11. There is no ambiguity about who was behind the attacks as well. Everyone knows what happened.
Why did you choose the character of Rakesh Maria to tell the story through?
RGV: For me significance of Rakesh Maria happened to be the head of police so he becomes the face of the police in the said context. So playing through the emotion of a person is different from the playing the character. Nana Patekar represents the spirit of the police force and the character of Rakesh Maria and that is what I have thrown visually at the audiences.
The Attacks of 26/11 produced by Alumbra Entertainment and Eros International releases worldwide, March 1st 2013