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Arts/Society Mumbai Terror Attacks Inspires Filmmakers


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Mumbai terror attacks inspires filmmakers

Mumbai terror attacks inspires filmmakers - Express India

The terror attack on Mumbai in November 2008 shocked all but also inspired some. Soon after the attacks, filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma was seen at the Taj Mahal Palace and Towers taking stock of the devastation. This was followed by rush to register a host of film titles on the subject. However, only one film was eventually made and will release next week. Earlier titled Total 10, Ashok Chakra narrates the story of the 26/11 attacks with focus on the policemen who lost their lives. The writer of the film, Mohanish Sharan, says that the incident disturbed him hugely and his heart went out to the policemen. “That is when I decided to write the film from their perspective.” The film has been directed by S P Munishwar and also stars Homi Wadia (as Hemant Karkare), Ashish Vidyarthi (as Tukaram Ombale), Sudesh Berry (as Vijay Salaskar) and Ashok Kulkarni (as Ashok Kamte).

Sharan intensely followed news reports and studied footage from news channels to build the sequence of events and has stuck to the reality. “With different channels and news sources giving varied accounts, it was a bit tough to establish which of them was the most precise. So I had to intensify my research,” he adds.

The movie shows Ajmal Kasab (played by debut actor Rajan Verma) training at the LeT camp in Pakistan and then follows his journey—along with nine others—to India. From there on, the main characters are the policemen and their family as the film talks about the anguish brought upon them by the terror attack. However, in Sharan’s original story, the film ended with the policemen Karkare, Salaskar and Kamte receiving the Ashok Chakra and Kasab awaiting trial in the jail. “But when Kasab was pronounced guilty and given death sentence recently, we changed the ending with patchwork during post-production to show Kasab is hanged.” The film, releasing next week, is hoping to cash in on the interest the case has generated as the nation awaits the date of Kasab’s execution to be announced.

Similarly, filmmaker Avtar Bhogal is hoping that the recent spate of honour killings will be able to draw audience to the theatres for his film, titled Honour Killing, which releases in August. When a journalist was allegedly murdered in Bihar recently, there was a nation-wide outcry against it. This apart, the cases of honour killings and the diktats of the Khap panchayats have been in news quite often. However, Bhogal’s film focuses on the honour killings that take place in the UK in the Sikh and the Muslim communities. “I am a Sikh and divide my time between England and Mumbai. Over the years, I have realised that the number of such killings haven’t gone down in these two places. I wanted to address this topic, hoping that the UK government will take notice and act upon it,” he remarks.

Unlike Ashok Chakra, however, Bhogal has not recreated the event but taken instances from many such killings for his story, which is also a love story between a Sikh girl and a Muslim boy.

Both Sharan and Bhogal say that with such films, one has to introduce some elements of fiction and drama to keep the audience interested. “Ashok Chakra is a docu-feature. Only 30 per cent of the story has been fictionalised. So if in real life Kamte is survived by a son, we have taken the cinematic liberty and shown him as the father to a daughter,” he says.

Bhogal uses the love story angle, supplemented with songs and dance.

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