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Bollywood takes on Mumbai attacks

17 march 2012, 10:45
0
Indian Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma. ©AFP
Indian Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma. ©AFP
Shooting began Friday on the first big budget Indian movie to deal with the 2008 militant attacks on the country's financial capital Mumbai that killed 166 people, AFP reports.

Posting on his Twitter site, popular Bollywood director Ram Gopal Varma -- known for his movies focussing on the Mumbai underworld -- said "The Attacks of 26/11" was "the most important film of my career".

With a budget of 400 million rupees ($8.0 million), Varma said the film -- shot on location in Mumbai -- was primarily targeted for international release and would detail "every aspect of the carnage".

The November 2008 attacks saw 10 heavily-armed Islamist gunmen storm targets in Mumbai including luxury hotels, a Jewish centre and a train station.

India blames the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) militant outfit for training, equipping and financing the Mumbai gunmen with support from "elements" in the Pakistan military.

A low-budget film based on the assault was released in 2010 but was panned by the critics and quickly disappeared.

Varma described the attacks as "one of the most important events that ever happened" and one that rivalled the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States for "sheer complexity".

A relatively unknown theatre actor, Sanjeev Jaiswal, is playing the key role of the sole surviving gunman, Mohammed Kasab, who became the public face of the attacks after he was photographed, gun raised, during a shooting spree in the train station.

Kasab was convicted and sentenced to death in 2010 for a series of crimes, including waging war against India. His appeal is currently before India's Supreme Court.

Varma, 49, is a veteran director with nearly 40 films under his belt.

He courted controversy when he was seen touring burned out sections of the Mumbai's landmark Taj Mahal Palace and Tower hotel just days after the 2008 attacks.

At the time he denied allegations that he was already conducting a recce for a possible film.

The characters in Varma's movie will all speak their native languages, making for a rich linguistic mix of Hindi, Urdu, English and Marathi.

The start of shooting coincided with a visit to Mumbai by Pakistani investigators and lawyers seeking evidence for the prosecution of seven Pakistani suspects linked to the attacks.

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