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Interview with Ramesh Varma
Date: September 18, 2008, Hyderabad
ramesh varma

Ramesh Varma, the man behind the making of Bhumika starrer Mallepuvvu, says that the film is the symbol of friendship in real life and a tribute to genuine human love onscreen. With a bundle of hope he arrived into the Film Nagar area in Hyderabad that “I should become an assistant director.” But, movie moghal D. Ramanaidu made him a publicity/graphic designer. His passion for films made him the debut director for the film Oka Oorilo, which brought me “much unhappiness and I was very much disillusioned for a long time later.” Next, he worked on the script Mallepuvvu “purely based on real incidents coupled with constructive imagination.” He simply handed over the bounded script to his friend Samudra. “For the sake of my friends, I can do anything. I can cut noses, ears, mouths,” Ramesh Varma told in an exclusive interview. For the first time, he also reveals the running tragedy of a Bangladeshi girl, a prisoner in Chanchalguda jail, Hyderabad, “who is the blueprint of onscreen Mallepuvvu – Bhumika.”

What about your journey in this tinsel world?
I set my foot in Film Nagar to become an assistant director. When I met Dr. Ramanaidu garu, he made me work for him in the publicity department. I took up my career as graphic designer. My passion for films wouldn’t give rest to mind. I readied a wonderful script to make the film – Oka Oorilo. I got a very cooperative hero Tarun. This way, the film happened in 2005. After a gap of two years, I readied the subject Mallepuvvu. I gave it to my friend Samudra.

What went wrong with Oka Oorilo?
I frankly admit that I just directed Oka Oorilo as per the whims and fancies of my producer Chanti Addala. When I sailed with Chanti, I thought that he was a man with visual taste. He is a good person. But, due to lot of interference, I just made my mind blank and worked according to his ‘direction.’ That’s why I can’t be blamed for its drawbacks. Of course, everybody said the movie ran well for about 50 days.

How did Mallepuvvu script happen?
Frankly, I just had a very vague idea. When the Gokhul Chat and Lumbini Park blasts rocked Hyderabad, I got a perfect idea. When I was developing it, a cop-friend of mine heard it. He was thrilled and said – I will give you even more powerful and realistic backdrop. Come with me. Saying so, he took me to Chanchalguda jail, after taking permissions duly from the higher authorities. That way, I readied the script putting my full soul into it.

What is that backdrop you found in Chanchalguda jail for Mallepuvvu subject?
This is a true story. I haven’t told any media person before. Sometime ago, a teenage boy, say around 18 or 19, came to Hyderabad. He illegally transported himself crossing the turbulent rivulets bordering Bangladesh and India (West Bengal). Coming to Hyderabad, he was in touch with his family members, particularly his sister there. Suddenly, there was a big gap of six months. The agitated sister (aged 21) came to Hyderabad in search of her brother. She found him. On the very first day of their meeting, the same day evening, he took his sister to Charminar and bought bangles for her. He gave the shop people Rs. 100/- note. In a few minutes, he was caught. The note which he gave was fake currency. The brother-sister duo was taken into custody. In an effort to help her brother, the Bangla girl spoke in a hurry, making all sorts of nonsense and suspicious statements. In fact, she is an innocent. But, her brother is the culprit, who held a very small link with the terrorists. Anyways, such a link, big or small, is a crime. So, I eliminated the criminal aspect, and just took the tragic part of the story. That is the real life of the Bangla girl. I spoke to her for several days. She weeps as and when she sees me. The police authorities too maintain that the girl is innocent. But, they have no proof. That’s why the girl is languishing in jail.

How did you dramatize this exactly?
See, I have taken the girl’s portion only. I avoided the brother’s part. I don’t want to take him as a character. See my script. The girl (Bhumika) comes from Bangladesh and reaches Hyderabad. Suddenly, she is caught in trouble in the backdrop of Hyderabad blasts. She is put in jail. Our hero comes. He is a laborer. How, he helps the heroine come out of the trial. The love part is secondary. As this element is like the undercurrent. I don’t need to elaborate on it. I am also influenced by an Iranian film while preparing the script. It’s just a minute streak.

You said Mallepuvvu script is like your child. Are you not disappointed as you couldn’t direct the film?
Yes. It’s like my child. But, Samudra is a good friend of mine. When he asked me for the story, I immediately gave it to him… no second thought. I forgot about it later. I just limited myself to the publicity designer and promos. I never even interfered into his style of making. You can go and ask him. I followed my mind while preparing the publicity material. And Samudra followed his as far as direction is concerned.

Don’t you think your publicity strategy and Samudra’s direction might clash?
I don’t think so. Story is the same. The direction alone is in Samudra’s mass style. I believe, our efforts would synch with each other fully. My vision is like a dream. Just, I want to do something and rub it on the audience. Samudra is like a person who goes nearer to the audience and gives them what they want.

Is the heroine of your mind the same as Bhumika?
Absolutely. I wanted my heroine to be the best. A matured artiste with matured performance. She should be like Soundarya in Anthapuram. She should be like Madhubala in Roja. Bhumila alone would fit into the specifications. Without Bhumika, there wouldn’t have been a Mallepuvvu.

What are the strengths of your choice hero – Murali Krishna?
Just like Samudra, Murali Krishna is a good friend of mine. When I told him the story of Mallepuvvu, he identified himself with the hero (a laborer) and asked me without inhibitions – Make me hero of the film. I gave him the word, honestly… because he is perfectly fit for the role. You watch him clearly. He is just like Ravi Teja (of Sindhuram time). The same roughness, the same rawness with great levels of energy. I am very confident Murali Krishna is going to be a very successful hero in the coming days. Moreover, he comes from a very lower middle class family. He struggled a lot. He knows what is life and its meaning. He can sure be a good actor. Incidentally, Samudra too promised him that he would make him a hero. Everything coincided well and Mallepuvvu is the result.

What is the difference between your story and the real Chanchalguda jail story?
Simple. The real girl is still suffering there. I don’t dare to go to her. I can’t see her weeping in utter helplessness. But, our heroine (Bhumika) will come out with flying colors at the climax. The hero helps her to overcome her difficulties.

Is there any chance of redeeming the real victim? Since you being the scripter of Mallepuvvu, do you find any solution?
A very valid question. I hope Mallepuvvu film will create public awareness and might work in the favor of our innocent Chanchalguda jail bird. I am going to arrange a press meet with her. She will soon pour out her anguish with the media. I genuinely feel that such an innocent girl should not be punished. After all she is 21 years. Why should she forfeit her beautiful future?

What next from you?
I readied two scripts – Galipatam and Sri Sri. One of them will start very soon. We hope to get good producers this time.

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