Somewhere a couple of years ago Ram Gopal Varma made a quiet disappearing act from the maximum city and Bollywood per se. Though he made films in Telugu during this time, there were rumours that the director was finally done with the Hindi film industry after a series of badly received films. However, that was not the case and RGV is now back with a bigger film than his last few outings. Here’s an excerpt with the director
Ram Gopal Varma disappeared from film scene for a long time. Were you introspecting?
You see, I am originally from Telugu films and I was making them. I did not disappear. I had not gone away to introspect or reanalyze myself. Maybe it was a combination of factors or maybe none. I did want to take some time off from Bollywood before I came back. I started working on the kind of films I wanted to come back with and I finished around five scripts! Some people thought the failures would have calmed me down, but actually, I have come back worse. I will be making more number of films than before.
There is a strong opinion about the kind of films you make. Do you think opinions could be biased?
Fair enough. It can be. But I don’t think it works like that today. Fact is that, today due to social media, truth finds it level like water. Even if I am not sure, I don’t think there is any point talking about it. In the times we are living in we have to take it as an occupational hazard. The sun will rise in the east, whether you like it or not.
You do get a lot of brickbats, on social media…
In social media, without exception, everyone gets flak because people just love to criticize, demean, or pull down other people. Mostly people who are not famous get a kick out of trying to pull others down. Infact anything good you hear about someone is usually boring. Someone criticize me, I also criticize people.
You recently criticized Shah Rukh Khan and said he should stick to playing the ‘star’ that he is. So why is that when you work with someone like Big B, you make them get into characters than let them appear the ‘stars’ they are…
I would like to see Shah Rukh Khan as Shah Rukh Khan or for that matter any big star as the star because I don’t see them as normal people. However, I am incapable of making something like that (over the top entertainers). I might enjoy or even be capable, but I may not want to make something like it. By incapable I mean not having a strong enough desire.
About Veerappan, what was so driving about the film that you decided to make another film in Hindi when you could have dubbed the Kannada film.
The point is Veerappan is like Mahabharat. There are many aspects. I can take different aspects or take the same aspect and give different angles to it. Veerappan as a subject has been in my mind for over 15 years. My excitement did not die with just one film. Also, this man lived in Karnataka and hence people there have a better idea about him. People outside have a different understanding and sensitivity towards the story.
When you started shooting the Hindi version, there must have been scenes, which were similar to the scenes in the Kannada version. Did you try to outdo yourself?
Outdo I don’t think is the right word. I tried a different take. I wanted to make this film darker and more sinister. I think Veerappan deserved that.
Your most remarkable film till date is referred to as Satya. Do you miss writers like Anurag Kashyap and Saurabh Shukla while making your films?
It might sound like I am trying to discredit people because if a film works well you try to take credit away, and that is wrong. However, I never really cared about writers. For that matter, I have never really given that much importance to technicians. It is not to take away their contribution. I have always said that failure belongs only to the director and success belongs to all. Today I could have gone wrong in the casting of Veerappan. And if Veerappan does not work, the film does not work, irrespective of how good the technicians or the screenplay is. So if the state of my mind is right, Satya even if it was written by anybody else would have still worked the way it did when it was written by Anurag Kashyap. Not to take away credit from Anurag, but he wrote a Bombay Velvet too!
Finally, you are making Sarkar 3. Any updates?
Yes, it is happening and it will feature Mr Bachchan. It won’t feature Aishwarya or Abhishek. It is a different story and it is too early to talk about details.