One has known Ram Gopal Varma for 28 years but that amounts to zilch. Nasty one second and disarming the next, RGV remains an enigma. He lives vicariously through the movies he views and makes. He deliberately courts the Bollywood ‘outcaste’ image and will not pander to the egos of either his actors or the media.
Amitabh Bachchan has trusted you despite the fact that besides the successful ‘Sarkar’ franchise, you also made the disastrous ‘RGV Ki Aag’ with him. Comment.
I have the highest regard for Amitabh Bachchan. Unlike others who only look at the end result, he sees the effort I put into both ‘Sarkar’ and ‘RGV Ki Aag’. Most people don’t bother with the causes and just react to the effect. That’s understandable. I’m not complaining.
You have been around for 28 years. In the early years of your career you could do nothing wrong. In the second half, most of the films you did were wrong. Why?
To start with, it’s not true that I did not do anything wrong in the early phase. After the super successful debut, ‘Shiva’, in 1989, I gave five flops in a row. Then, there were three flops before ‘Rangeela’ in 1995 which was followed by another flop, ‘Daud’, two years later. People remember only the hits after some years. The media too wasn’t so aggressive in those days.
Would you say that somewhere along the way you’ve become a little complacent?
I know that’s what people think and that I do too many things too fast and so do not focus on the job at hand. But the truth is that I spent the maximum time, effort and money on films like ‘Daud’, ‘Ram Gopal Varma ki Aag’ and ‘Department’ and they are my biggest flops while films like ‘Satya’, which was made without a ready script succeeded. There is no co-relation between working hard and making a hit film though I know nobody will believe me.
‘Sarkar’ is a franchise which has kept you on top of the game. What are your expectations from Part 3?
For me, ‘Sarkar’ is the epitome of what great film characters meant from the days of an angry young Amitabh Bachchan to the ‘Godfather’ trilogy. ‘Sarkar 3’ is the epitome of the franchise.
How close is ‘Sarkar 3’ to your heart and will we catch a glimpse of the genius that was there in ‘Shiva’, ‘Company’ and ‘Rangeela’ in it?
You will find the present RGV in ‘Sarkar 3’. Ridley Scott once said that when you see a film that you have made a long time ago, you almost feel as if someone else has made it. I agree. That is because we are continuously changing through our experiences. So today, when I see ‘Company’, I feel it’s a half-baked film because I know so much more about the complexities of the underworld now.
You are really aggressive on the social media like recently you got after Tamil Nadu’s CM-hopeful, Sasikala Natarajan.
For me, Twitter is an extension of my personality and I say whatever I feel strongly about at the moment. Also, it is not a public platform, it’s something between me and those who wish to follow me.
But why are you always so offensive?
I am not offensive, I’m actually gentler than a lamb. But the truth I speak sometimes sounds offensive.
Is there a film in the offing on Sasikala?
There is so much of you on the social media. Yet you continue to remain an enigma. What is the real RGV like?
You can meet the real RGV on Twitter. He is a mixture of one teaspoon of genius, two teaspoons of dumbness, a pinch of humour and half a cup of ‘mad’ common sense.
You once started your day watching a movie and went to bed watching one. Does this routine continue or has it given way to some other idiosyncrasy.