There were reports in the media that I was planning a film on the terrible terrorist incident that happened and since I was casting Riteish Deshmukh in it his dad Mr.Vilas Rao invited me to visit the site which understandably created an outrage among various concerned.
These reports are completely false.
What happened was…
I know Riteish since years as I have done films with him and also since we belong to the same fraternity. On that day I went to meet Riteish to discuss RANN my new film with him which incidentally has got nothing to do with terrorism. As we were talking Riteish said that his dad was going to Taj and he wished to go with him. So since I was with him I accompanied him there. Mr.Vilas Rao has never been formally introduced to me and he didn’t even know that I was with Riteish as me and Riteish were in another car.
As far as Riteish is concerned his information was that the areas we might be able to see are the ones where the investigations have already been completed.
By the time we reached Taj there were more than 60-70 people there including Police officers, some Government officers and Hotel staff. In that whole crowd I doubt Mr.Vilas Rao even noticed me.
Yes, I was amazed that I got a opportunity to see the place where such a horrendous incident happened and I would like to know which person in the entire country would not have been curious to see the place.
Now my question is, what is it that which could be affected by me being there? If the Officers there thought that there will be a breach of security or I will see things which I am not supposed to see, they would have stopped me. And if they did stop, why in the hell would Mr.Vilas Rao force them to let me in. The reason why they did not stop is as simple as this is because the areas we were shown were where the investigations were already completed and footage of which was already shown thousands of times on the media. In fact I saw far lesser there than what I already saw on TV. So why does me seeing broken glasses, broken tables and bullet riddled walls which the whole country has seen a thousand times on TV create an outrage. Here’s why.
After seeing the footage which ironically was shot BY Mr.Vilas Rao’s own team and given to the TV Channels, the media minds started speculating on my presence there and developed conspiracy theories and to support their speculation they used slow motion techniques, putting red circle around me and putting a flickering arrow marks pointing at me. Added to this a voice over of their interpretation of why I was there and why Mr.Vilas Rao took me there completed the story which resulted in the understandable outrage.
Even assuming for a moment if I went to research there for a film I am planning what possible information will I gain as a filmmaker of seeing lesser than what I have already seen on TV? In all the footage one saw of our so-called terror tour, was there a single visual of the place that the people have not already seen on TV? Research for a film can’t happen by visiting crime scenes as I am not some forensic scientist. Research can only happen if I have one-to-one conversations with investigating officers after they complete their investigations which might take months. Some News channels even went to the extent of saying that we were disturbing a crime scene. If that is the case, isn’t it the job of the investigating officers to stop us. They didn’t because like I said they were only showing areas where investigations have been completed.
I find it shocking that in the wake of such a terrible incidents happening in the country, the media can waste so much time and telecast hours and subject the people of the country to something as inane as some filmmaker’s presence at a place which for the life of me I can’t understand how it can affect anybody or anything in comparison to what else is going on.
Media makes us believe, not necessarily by intent, that only they have the interest of people in their hearts, and due to that people tend to believe in them blindly. This is a classic example of the blind leading the blind. Outcome of this can be many times ridiculous. As per some Media peoples suggestions even if remotely this episode can affect a Government’s standing, I find that almost as dangerous as terrorism.
If people who attack the unarmed are defined as terrorists then Media at various levels with their coercive methods and insinuations are very similar. A terrorist attacks the mind and kills the body, the media attacks the mind with its interpretations and kills a person’s spirit with its insinuations. In a way I would say that Media is more dangerous than terrorists because they do it under the guise of safe-guarding values.