New Delhi: Ram Gopal Varma is known for his penchant for publicity but the director may have gone too far this time as he is being slammed for using the Neeraj Grover case to promote his upcoming film `Not A Love Story`, which he says is inspired by the murder of the TV executive.
Varma, who has been constantly tweeting about the case and his movie, chose the day of verdict to release the first look of the movie and offered a role in his next project to Maria Susairaj, who has been absolved of the murder charges in the Grover death case.
His constant tweets have not gone down too well with Neeraj`s family and others.
Veteran filmmaker Shyam Benegal slammed Varma for trying to cash in on the case because of its "sensation" value.
"I don`t like that because I think that the whole thing is terrible. That if anybody can stoop so low simply because you want to cash in on it because of the sensation value of it and because people want to," he said.
Neeraj`s father Amarnath Grover is upset that Varma decided to make a movie on his son`s life without asking the family.
"I recently found out from Neeraj`s friend in Mumbai that something of this sort is happening. His friend had received a call from Varma about the movie and I have told him to tell Varma that if he is making a movie on my son`s death he will have to talk to me first," Amarnath said.
"I don`t want my son`s death to be a joke and it`s sad that Varma has already started making the movie and never spoke to me about it."
Varma`s remarks that he wants to cast Susairaj in a movie has worried Amarnath even more.
"I have also heard that Varma wants to cast Susairaj in the movie so that the movie gets publicity. But he cannot do so, although she has been freed from jail that doesn`t prove her not guilty. We are planning to take the case to High Court and are requesting the officials not to let her walk free," he said.
Amarnath is worried that this movie will damage the reputation of his son.
"I don`t want my son`s image to be damaged and so I want Varma to talk to me about the movie," he said.
But questioned on his motives, Varma shot back, "I am being called insensitive and publicity hungry. Yes, I am after publicity. As a filmmaker I know that films are only publicity... so don`t look down upon publicity. I will cast her (Susairaj) if I have a role that suits her."
The filmmaker has been updating his twitter page with his reflections on the case and in the process has been talking about his upcoming movie which has `Dev D` actress Mahi Gill in a role inspired by Maria`s life.
"Nothing can be more of a bizarre coincidence...11.30 today verdict on Maria Susairaj case and 12.30 unveiling of the 1st look of `Not a love story," Varma tweeted.
Defending himself, he said his interest in the film inspired from the Susairaj case is to "understand how two seemingly ordinary everyday persons can commit such a hair raising crime".
Maria`s boyfriend and former navy officer Emile Jerome had gone to her residence in suburban Malad on May 7, 2008 where he got into a fight with Grover (26) during which Jerome stabbed the TV executive to death.
Maria and Jerome later cut Grover`s body into pieces and disposed it in Manor forest in Thane.
The former actress was released from jail today.