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Chitchat with Ram Gopal Varma
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Anji reports

Ram Gopal Varma ("Ramu") is in city now to speak about his upcoming three films - Mayam (Tussar Kapoor, Anthra Mali), Madhyahnapu Hatya (Chakri, Amani) and Marrichettu (Chakri & Sushmita). He arranged a press conference at 'The Touch' (an upscale restaurant owned by film star Nagarjuna) today evening at 7 pm.

Mayam: Mayam is about a timid guy who gets frustrated with what he is going through. He prays for God who appears one fine day, to give him the magical power of disappearing at will.

Madyahnapu Hatya: This film is about how a frustrated husband plots to kill his wife at noon and the consequences he faces aftermath.

Marrichettu: This film is a horror flick that deals with a Banyan tree in the backyard. This film is the dubbed version of Hindi flick - 'Vastu Sastra'.

All the songs of Mayam and trailers of Madyahnapu Hatya and Marrichettu were shown to press. Ram Gopal Varma also had a chitchat with the press. Here are the excerpts …

8th July 2004

Will you direct any Telugu straight film in future?

Why did you stop directing Telugu films?
My kind of sensibilities will appeal to very niche section of audiences in Telugu. I stopped making films for audiences. Now I am making films for myself. And my kind of films would not work for Telugu people. I am not capable of making a hit film in Telugu anymore. Checkout the Telugu films that are being made now! Even the Telugu film posters frighten me.

I should tell you one example about what Telugu filmmakers used to think of me. It was the time when Chiranjeevi gave three continuous blockbusters (Gang Leader, Rowdy Alludu and Gharana Mogudu). Then somebody gave a suggestion jocularly that I should direct Chiranjeevi so that he could get a miserable failure for a change. That was my USP in Telugu film industry at that time.

But it was you who made blockbusters like Shiva, Kshanakshanam and Gayam in Telugu?
That is right. When I made those films I was new. I had to prove my caliber. Hence I made those films with intensity. After making films like Satya and Company, I can't make a film like Shiva.

It was Telugu film industry that made you a star director. And now you say you are not interested in directing Telugu films. Is it fair?
I do not owe anything to anybody. Shiva was a good film and that is why I got some fame. When I made bad films, people rejected me.

Tell us about your proposed film with Nagarjuna as hero?
We will be making a bilingual. And Nagarjuna would act in the Telugu version. I will be producing it. There is another person directing this film.

You seem to have smitten by 'horror flick' bug. You keep on making horror flicks again and again?
To tell you that truth, I got the story idea of making 'Rathri' film while I was doing my graduation in Siddardha Engineering College. I came to the film industry wanting to direct Rathri as my debut film. But Nagarjuna asked me to come up with another storyline. That is how 'Shiva' happened. Later on I wanted to show my capability to Telugu film industry by directing 'Rathri'. And it flopped miserably (giggles).

You are more interested in producing these days. Will you direct in the future?
I will direct only those films that challenge the director in me.

Have you seen any Telugu films recently?
In the past 4-5 years, I have seen only Jayam and Idiot. Jayam has beautiful narrative. Idiot has terrific characterization.

You created a genre in filmmakers. Lots of people feel proud to be from Varma's school?
(shrugs) I do not think they are making the kind of films I made. Probably they are following my attitude (tantrums) off the screen.

Will you direct a straight Telugu film or not?
You are the guys who driven me out of Telugu film industry. Now you are asking me to make films in Telugu. I do not even know that much of actors in Telugu now.

Why do you think Hindi remakes of Telugu films are failing?
When they remake, they ignore the soul and various other things that go into making the original version a hit. That's why they fail. Checkout Subhalagnam! It is a small budget film made in a simple setup in Telugu original. But in Hindi, they erected a set worth 75 lakhs. The simplicity has simply disappeared.

You are more interested in tapping new talent in terms of directors?
I do not have any noble intentions of reserving a seat for me in heaven by encouraging new talent. I am an experienced filmmaker. There are certain guys who are good at directing. I know how things work if I use and guide them. That is how we get mutually benefited.

We heard that Sahara Group has given you 300 crores for joint venture?
Yeah! Please check that money out underneath my bed. (giggles).

What do you think about standards of filmmaking and technology in Telugu?
Compared to what Shiva has brought into Telugu film industry, there is not much progress in the past 14 years.


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