He’s back. The enfant-terrible of showbiz Ram Gopal Varma who happily offends one and all from Rajnikanth to Karan Johar. After a 3-year absence from Mumbai and Bollywood Ram Gopal Varma is back in the city raring to go. He has already completed a new Hindi film and he’s ready to make peace with all those who think he’s a spent force. In a brutally candid confessional interview with Subhash K Jha Ramu spills his guts out.
Why did you take a long break from Mumbai?
I wanted to take a break from Bollywood and re-group my thoughts.I couldn’t do soul searching because I don’t have a soul so I just settled down to take a long hard look at the way I used to think .
Why do you think all your recent Hindi films failed?
Many people believe that the reasons for my flops are that I do too many films and too fast but that’s not the truth.I took the maximum number of days to shoot and spent the maximum money on Department andAag and they are my biggest flops .On the other hand Satya was shot on a shoe-string budget and Sarkar I finished in 30 days.So it’s not the money or time but it’s the wrong content which determines a film’s failure .
What according to you was the reason for your downfall?
I think it’s mainly my arrogance which was the main reason for my flops .I was always a kind of a wild horse ,very impulsive and fast. Both my path-breaking films and my crazy out-of-control films also were a result of that.If I try to control my wildness I am sure I will lose my uniqueness and so I just worked towards steering my thoughts instead of stopping them.
What were you doing in these two years away from Mumbai?
I finished 6 scripts in these two years, to the extent of making a complete production breakdown of each of them.I also watched hundreds of films, specially Hollywood and foreign cinema to kind of rejuvenate myself .
Your obsession with anti-social behavior continues in Veerappan?
Yes. I also deeply studied various dramatic real life situations and met many criminals and other larger than life characters to fill in that part of my creative need of psychoanalyzing them to create characters away from my regular stereotypes
Did you miss your colleagues in Bollywood while you were away? Where you in touch with any of them?
I never was really a social person and I never have friends but whatever little contacts I used to maintain I didn’t keep in touch with them too .I sincerely wanted both Bollywood and me to be rid of each other for a while.I hope this distance will make both of us a little more understanding of each other.
I hope Karan Johar is reading this?
I realised now after coming back that I very much love both Bollywood and Karan Johar and I hope that they both will at least like me a little. Jokes apart I don’t care who likes me because I only care about who and what I like and I do like Karan Johar
What prompted you to return to Mumbai? And that too with such a bang?
I wanted to come back only after I was pretty sure of what I want to do.Armed with my understanding of the mistakes caused by my arrogance and my overconfidence I now came back to gloriously wage war with my inglorious past
What prompted you to remake Veerappan in Hindi?What made you feel Hindi audiences would be interested in this bandit king?
The uniqueness of Veerappan is that there’s no other person like him who ever existed on this earth .A character like that will catch anybody’s interest anywhere in the world.I specifically wanted to come back with this film because I have something new to offer which no one has ever seen before,whether the subject matter or in the technique of film making .
How did you find the actor who looks so much like Veerappan? How much did you have to work on his looks and performance?
I think in part it’s the greatness of my makeup person Vikram Gaekwad and in part the dedication of Sandeep Bharadwaj the actor who plays Veerappan.
Your Veerappan releases on the same day as your former protegee Anurag Kashyap’s Raghav Raman, both films are about notorious outlaws. Is this a planned strategy?
I only got to know this a few days back..I guess the better villain will win,but I really don’t know who’s a bigger villain or a better villain between me and Anurag
Are you back in Mumbai for good?
Yes,and I am pleasantly surprised and thrilled to see so many people really happy to see me back…. I guess the reason for that is the few good films I made in the past. Hopefully some more will follow,
There’s a lot of talk about your new office COMPANY.
Ha Ha yes my new office COMPANY is fast becoming a tourist attraction for not only those connected toBollywood but also from Tollywood and even to some non-film people . Honestly speaking the Company’s unique design is nothing but an external indication of the unique mindset of the people working from inside it .We all have sworn to each other to wipe my old slate fast and start drawing fresh