You wrote the book Kasab: The Face of 26/11 how do you feel about the RGV movie version?
Rommel Rodrigues: A book and a movie by their very nature are two different mediums let’s say like a SMS and MMS one is to be read and interpreted and the other to be seen and relished. What I am saying is that both media have its own features and divergences, so the book I wrote and the movie are both distinct in themselves both in presentation and treatment.
How close is the film to the way you have documented it in the book?
RR: The movie is about something very intense that happened in time and an interpretation of any such extreme incidence will never be standardized, so the book is about the story of 26/11 with my perspective of what happened at various places that it did happen while any other interpretation will have its own flavour. To be specific, the progression of the central characters, in this case Kasab and the terrorists is largely like what happened on that day, the film also traces the same movements.
Kasab brings up a lot of emotions in us all, hate, anger, shock even hurt surprise, what did your research make you feel about him?
RR: I was covering the attacks live since I was working for a newspaper at that time and as a reporter one cannot be swept by strong feeling at that time, similarly when I was researching I was largely apathetic, having said that I can say as a citizen of this great city I was definitely shocked and angry, surprised – yes by the brazenness of their bold defiance and contemptuousness by which they simply sailed in and caused havoc.
Can you tell us something about Kasab most people would be surprised to hear/or don’t know?
RR: There are a lot of aspects of Kasab that I have written in the book, I don’t know if many knew that for many years he was merely an assistant to a mason in a city living in a vegetable market, before he joined the LeT. Before that he was a just a nincompoop. After several levels of training to become terrorists they are often as a matter of test sent back home to check their commitment for the cause and while many others may have opted off, Kasab went back each time more determined than before.
Where were you on the night of the attacks?
RR: Oh that’s a great question. On the night of 26/11 I and one of my journalist friends from another daily newspaper, were winding up and planned to go to Taj to attend a small business conference, however when we came down our office we found it difficult to get a taxi to take us to Taj, so we decided to attend a CII program at Land End, after which we came back to the Press Club opposite VT and Cama hospital when we heard of the Attacks, latter we moved out to check, we saw the carnage at VT and then we rushed back and even got to see Kasab and Ismail turn the Qualis and go towards Metro.
How did you feel on the day he was finally hung?
RR: Nothing, really. Again covering his trail and then the high court etc. didn’t evoke any feeling. If he would have been shot dead within the first few months they surely there would have been a reaction, but nothing when we heard that he is dead. May be I had a thought – this ought to have happened a long time ago.
How did you feel when you watched the film?
BB: It gave me a nostalgic vibe, remember I said earlier a visual media like a MMS the film bought out the visually vivid account and that was something else than reading.
What was the hardest part of writing the book?
BB: Trying to figure out what happened on the other side rather than what happened this side – we all knew that.
BB: Frankly an incident of such magnitude shook me up, I have covered lot of criminal incidents, attacks and such things for years, but this is something else and I was inclined to delve deep and say the story.
BB: That’s exactly what I said earlier twice, I had no feelings for him.
BB:I am sorry I don’t understand this question, but if you are asking how to cope up with such incident then, I can say we must enlist professional help to ease the trauma. We don’t do that too often here, but I have seen in western countries like US and Canada, people seek professional help when they go through negative incidents.
BB: All of those mixed together.