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Bollywood plans movies about Mumbai attacks

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MUMBAI, India — Filmmakers in this hub of Indian cinema are already exploring how to bring the trauma of the deadly Mumbai attacks and the three-day siege that followed to the big screen, an industry official said Thursday.

At least 25 titles — including "Taj to Oberoi" and "Mission Taj" — have been registered with the Indian Motion Picture Producers' Association since the attacks that killed 164 people last month, Anil Nagrath, secretary of the Bollywood trade association, told The Associated Press.

Many of the registered titles center around the luxury Oberoi hotel and the Taj Mahal, whose burning dome became the symbol of the attacks — including "Taj 26," "Taj to Oberoi," "The Taj Encounter," "11/26 Operation Taj," "Mission Taj" and "Mission Oberoi."

One proposed project is called "Nariman House" after the Jewish center where the attackers killed a rabbi and his wife, he said by telephone.

The Taj, the Oberoi, Nariman House and Mumbai's main train station were among 10 sites in the commercial capital targeted by 10 suspected Islamic terrorists.

Nagrath denied that Bollywood, as India's Hindi-language film industry is known, is capitalizing on a national tragedy.

"Whenever there is a big happening like this, be it a cyclone, be it a hurricane, be it a bomb attack or a carnage like this, the journalists write articles, television stations make special programs, authors write books," he said. "In the same way, for the filmmaker, the only option is to make a script, and the process of making a script begins with a title."

All the projects are still in early stages and are unlikely to be made soon because "the wounds are very raw," he said.

Veteran director B. Subhash, who registered the titles "Taj Terror" and "Bird's Point of View Taj Terror," said he is working on his script and hasn't cast any actors or set a budget.

"I can only say it is going to be very emotional," Subhash told the AP by telephone.

Bollywood stars have responded cautiously to the Mumbai attacks, even though filmmakers were eager to draw audiences back to the theaters at a time when the industry was already hit by global economic woes.

One of the industry's biggest stars, Shah Rukh Khan, went ahead with the release of his new comedy, "Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi," or "Match Made in Heaven," but was careful to strike the right tone, saying he hoped the film would provide relief from the recent events.

Civic activist Gerson da Cunha said it is natural that there is an artistic response to the tragedy in Mumbai but expressed hopes that any Bollywood movie on the topic won't be too simplistic.

"I hope any film does not oversimplify or exploit or become jingoistic," said da Cunha, convener of Action for Good Governance and Networking in India, a group that has been active in calling for government reforms so that officials can better respond to future terror attacks.

"There is a place for good films," he said. "Whether Bollywood would be the home of such scripts and such directors is another issue."