By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: It was literally a case of the ill-will being washed away in a wave of tears when Amitabh Bachchan viewed Ram Gopal Varma’s latest project The Attacks On 26/11. The Big B was so profoundly moved by the film and Nana Patekar’s performance as top-cop Rakesh Maria that he immediately got in touch with Nana to congratulate him .
A surprise for Nana, since he and the Big B have not exactly been on the best of terms ever since they worked together 13 years ago in Mehul Kumar’s Kohram.
And that wasn’t all. The Big B, known to be demonstratively lavish about his colleagues’ performances, sent a bouquet and hand-written note to Nana.
Says a source very close to the film, “Nana didn’t expect this. Bachchan Saab and he hardly share what I’d call great vibes. It goes back to the time they did Koram together.”
Nana had even offered the Big B a role in a film that had been written specially keeping in mind the Big B’s image. Needless to say, that project never materialized.
Now the Big B’s generous praise for the film and the performance have overwhelmed Nana.
Meanwhile, the Big B’s emotional response to The Attacks Of 26/11 has compelled Ram Gopal Varma to do some serious soul-searching about the film.
Apparently, top cop Rakesh Maria, who is played by Nana Patekar in the film, is being invited to watch the film.
Says Ramu emotionally, “Because of my long association with Amitji and since I value his opinion very highly, I showed my film to him .The 26/11 attacks were probably the most heinous and tragic events that happened in post-independant India and I strongly believed that more than any documentary or any number of books written on it only a feature film can do complete justice in capturing both its tragedy and its spirit for posterity.”
After seeing the Big B’s unconditionally emotional response to the film, Ramu is confident he has achieved what he set out to. “Going by such deep emotional reactions the film evoked in Mr.Bachchan which he so magnanimously shared with all his fans on his twitter,I feel I have achieved my primary intention of being extremley truthful to the emotional content of the attacks of 26/11I want ever single character who appears in the film to see it. Tragically many of them are not around any longer. I guess that’s the irony of any national tragedy. Many of those who avert a serious national calamity do not survive to tell their tale. This is my most important film to date and I feel it gets as close to the truth about what happened on the night of November 26, 2008 as possible. There are so many books, so many documented and first-person accounts of the sequence of events. We’ve come as close to recreating the actual incidents as cinematically possible.”
Incidentally, one of the components in Nana Patekar’s performance that the Big B most appreciated was his voice.
Says Ramu, “Nana as Rakesh Maria is my narrator. In real life Rakesh Maria had deposed before a committee appointed to examine the events of 26/11. I brought that committee into my film.It gave me a certain dramatic licence to play with time in the storytelling. Also,I was fascinated with the mind-state of Rakesh Maria on the night of 26/11 the way I understood it and I needed an outstanding actor to portray the same which is what Nana Patekar is.”