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Interview with Ram Gopal Varma
Date: July 26, 2009, Hyderabad
ram gopal varma

Ram Gopal Varma is in Hyderabad today. met Ram Gopal Varma for an interview and he disclosed many details about how upcoming films Agyaat (Adavi), Rann and Rakta Charitra. Here are the excerpts -

What is the reason for introducing Nitin in Hindi with Agyaat?
Agyaat is not prepared as a launch pad for a hero. In this movie Agyaat (unknown) is the hero and jungle is the heroine. I saw Nitin somewhere and found him to be appealing. Hence Nitin was the first choice for me when I designed assistant director character in Agyaat film.

Revealing the synopsis is not a thing that is followed in Indian film industry. Was it a deliberate ploy to doctor the minds of audiences when you revealed the story of Agyaat?
Hiding the story is an out-dated concept that is still being followed in Indian movies. I do reveal the story and expect the audience to watch the movie and appreciate the process of telling the story. No matter how much you hide about the story, the reviewers are going to reveal it on the day one. Then why conceal the story? By revealing the story I am targeting the target film viewers and preparing them what to expect from the film.

How difficult is it to make a thriller?
Making a film of drama/comedy genre is dependent on writing and performances. Thrillers succeed on technical agility and narrative. Agyaat is about playing with the imagination of the audiences. The movement of camera becomes a character in the movie.

In the two songs you projected in the audio function, the first song had lots of fast-editing cuts and the second song has slow and smooth camera movements?
I always feel that camera work should capture the emotional quotient of the scene/song. The first song was like a music video with fast editing cuts. The second song is about exploring the romantic feelings; hence I used gentle movement of camera.

Tell us about the forest in which you shot Agyaat?
Agyaat was shot in Sigiriya Jungle in Srilanka. It is the most frightening forest I had ever seen. When I asked my unit to come to that forest they were scared. And I told them that you could die even if I you stay in Taj hotel if your time is bad. I somehow convinced my crew to venture into that forest. Since we were a big crew, animals like Elephants and Tigers kept away from us. But that forest is known for deadly snakes and we took all the precautions. Fortunately nothing unfortunate did happen in the jungle.

Why are you fascinated with jungles?
I don’t know why people are scared about jungles. Our ancestors came from jungles. May be we got used to structured infrastructure. Being an imaginative guy, I like jungles. Forest is a character in Agyaat movie.

Any plans to make a movie on LTTE?
The LTTE movement doesn’t interest me. But I am fascinated by Islamic Fundamentalism. I might make a movie on that in the future.

Tell us about Taj incidence happened in last year. What is your experience with it?
I was in Versova with a friend when I heard a big sound. I suspected it to be a bomb. Then I got a sms saying about a shootout in Leopold Cafe. When I went to check out on TV, confusion was prevailing among the media people about what to report. It took around two hours to understand the gravity of situation. Later on I came to know that the bomb sound I heard came from the taxi that blew up in Vile Parle. It looked so unrealistic. Officers of big stature were killed, though accidentally.

What about your visit along with the chief minister to Taj?
The media has blown it out proportion. On the crime scene, it was all confusion. Where as TV media took an advantage of it by churning stories out of speculations. I have lots of regard to CNN/IBN which didn’t show a single dead body in their 911 coverage.

Why are there no films made on these ghastly incidents unlike in Hollywood?
In USA, the filmmakers are protected by freedom of speech. But in India, there is freedom of speech. But it is not followed practically though it is our right. Some organization will prop up and make it a big issue. There will be political pressures. Nobody is allowed to make a movie on Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in India because of political pressure. There are censor board problems as well.

Tell us about Rakth Charitra?
We will start shooting from the first week of October and we are planning to shoot in real locations like Anantapuram, Maddela Cheruvu eetc. I am going to show the human side of factionists. There are no good or bad people. They become good or bad because of the situations and circumstances. These people create situations to favour them and over a period of time they become victims of the situations they created. I am taking a life story of few individuals that happened over a period of 20 years. I am projecting personal conflict of Paritala Ravi and Suri in this movie. I am doing this film in two parts. The first part will end with the bomb blast happened at Rama Naidu studios and the introduction of Suri’s character.

Tell us about Rann?
Rann deals with the political conspiracy to use media to manipulate the emotions of a common man. The shooting of the film is over and we are planning to release the movie in November.

How different are Telugu TV channels compared to national TV channels?
I am surprised to see the street language used in Telugu TV channels. They try to build hatred among the viewers towards certain religion/people. Telugu TV channels are highly offensive and they don’t have even 10% of sensibilities of national media. They are trying to catering to raw sense of viewers in order to increase their TRP ratings.

What about fuss being made about Jana Gana Mana in Rann?
Jana Gana Mana was written by Rabindranath Tagore 60 years back by keeping that era in mind. Things have changed now and my Jana Gana Mana represents that current society. Censor board passed it. I don’t know why certain section of people are grudging about it.

AR Rehman remixed Vandemataram and nobody objected it. And you wrote Jana Gana Mana and there are protests. Has it something to do with your controversial reputation?
(smiles). I have no problems with it as long as it converts into good publicity and there by good openings to the movie.

Your debut movie Shiva changed the history of Telugu films forever. We haven’t seen any other film with same intensity from you. What is the reason for it?
I don’t agree with the statement that Shiva is a trend setter or a path breaker. If Shiva set a trend, why they are making same old out-dated stories/concepts even after 20 years of release of Shiva? Shiva was psychologically and technically advanced movie in those days and it gave a ‘shock value’ to the viewers. I feel that Satya is a far more greater and superior film than Shiva. If you look at the chain-pulling shot, it caters to the adrenalin rush factor. Though it was a juvenile shot, it got me so much of reputation. Many films I made are greater than Shiva, but they couldn’t provide a better shock value to audiences than Shiva.

Lots of Telugu debutant directors are stating you as their role model. What is your reaction to it?
Directing is nothing but expressing one’s personality. Don’t imitate others. Try to bring out originality that belongs to you.

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