Was Varma's Chhota Rajan call a publicity stunt?

Jun 1, 2005 Subhash K. Jha, Jun 1

Mumbai, June 1 (IANS): Did alleged mobboss Chhota Rajan warn director Ram Gopal Varma against glorifying his rival Dawood Ibrahim in "D"?

The prolific filmmaker is amused.

"Of course not! And why on earth would I spread the news that I've been threatened? It doesn't make me look too heroic," he maintained.

According to a media report, Ramu did get a call from Rajan. But the prolific and fearless filmmaker denies this.

"I never got a call. It's a friend of mine who was contacted. The people who called this friend assumed he was associated with 'D'. Once my friend explained the story to Chhota Rajan he was fine with it. And that was that.

"I had forgotten about this incident until I read about it. Now people will assume I have orchestrated this story to get publicity for 'D'. But I had nothing to do with this story, or the call that Chhota Rajan made. My friend must have spoken about 'D' to his friends and it must have reached Chhota Rajan.

"As I've clarified, D isn't the story of Dawood or any other real-life character. In fact my hero Desu is a Hindu based in Mumbai, not a Muslim in Dubai. I repeat I never spoke to Nana (Chhota Rajan) on this matter," Varma maintained.

But doesn't the film's title "D" seem to suggest a reference to Dawood, whose organization is called the D-Company?

"It could be that my film's title suggests a link with Dawood. But, surely, the title alone can't decide the plot and fate of my film. I've never got my script okayed by anyone," Varma insisted.

"D" isn't the first Varma film to have underworld links. The highly acclaimed "Company" was loosely based on the friendship and rise to power of Dawood and Chhota Rajan and their eventual fall-out.

"Even then, I had heard that one or the other person was upset about my making the film. But I was never contacted then. And I haven't been approached now....But let me look at the brighter side. I hope at least 10 more tickets would be sold after this so-called controversy," Varma said.

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