Ram Gopal Varma has signed Gul Panag to play the lead role of a crime reporter in the sequel to his 2004 hit, Ab Tak Chhappan.
Going by reports that the new film is based on the infamous J. Dey murder case of last June, the buzz is already gaining ground that Gul’s character may be based on Jigna Vora, the hotshot crime journalist who has been accused of having links in the killing.
” I play a crime reporter in the film, a woman who has made her mark in a field that is otherwise dominated by men,” said Gul, confirming that she has been signed for the film.
Asked if her character had any direct resemblance to Jigna Vora, Gul preferred not to give out details. ” All I can say right now is that the film deals with the underworld and its various connections including the media,” she said.
The Ab Tak Chhappan sequel made news earlier this week when it was announced that Nana Patekar would not only return as the eccentric encounter cop hero he played in the first film but also direct the new project.
RGV had earlier wanted newcomer Sahil Saple to direct the sequel. However Saple reportedly fell out with RGV and Nana decided to return to direction for the first time since Prahaar, his 1991 debut directorial feature.
J. Dey, a veteran crime journalist, was murdered on June 11 last year near his residence in Powai, Mumbai. The police subsequently established a mafia link in the murder since Dey was known to have contact with underworld don, Chhota Rajan. After preliminary arrests, it was gradually revealed that Vora may have supplied information on Dey, which in turn facilitated planning of the murder. She was arrested late last year.
RGV’s fetish for filming reallife drama is well known. Amitabh Bachchan in Sarkar played a character close to Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray. His last release, Not A Love Story, was based on the Neeraj Grover murder case while the two- part Rakht Charitra narrated a story based on slain Andhra Naxalite-politician Paritala Ravi.
Over the years, RGV has also interpreted several reallife incidents related to the underworld in films such as Shiva, Satya and Company.
Last year, RGV announced a project called God And Sex, reportedly based on the sex scandal involving godman Nithyananda but the film has been temporarily shelved.