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It's four years since 26/11, but the fear, helplessness and rage Mumbai felt on the three days of the terrorist attack are very much alive.
It is this emotion Ram Gopal Varma has tried to capture in 26/11. National Film Development Corporation, Worli, got first look of the film, which releases early next year, on Friday.
Varma says, "After the attack, we all heard how a boat was seen on the high seas, how they (terrorists) prepared for months and also about the role of police and about the victims. After all these years, the truth has been uncovered by investigators. I gathered knowledge from various sources and eyewitness accounts and there was a desire to tell the actual story of the attack."
The film's primary focus will be the Mumbai police operation. "The story is of one night and it will revolve around then joint commissioner of police (ATS chief) Rakesh Maria and the terrorist group, mainly Ajmal Kasab," says Varma.
While veteran actor Nana Patekar essays the role of Maria, Delhi theatre actor Sanjeev Jaiswal has been cast as Kasab.
"It was tough to find an actor to play Kasab. The physical appearance had to be similar."
The attack may have moved the filmmaker to recreate it on screen, but the execution wasn't a smooth ride.
Samajwadi Youth Party was not too pleased with Varma's decision. In fact, it stalled the shoot at Chowpatty.
An undeterred Varma says, "The said political party was probably imagining things. They had no clue what my intention was, nor did they ask me. They just jumped to conclusions."
The filmmaker makes it clear he took all necessary permissions to shoot various Mumbai locales, including Marine Drive, Girgaum Chowpatty and Leopold Café.