'My film is not a biopic of Neeraj Grover case'
Ram Gopal Varma's forthcoming film Not A Love Story is said to be inspired by the sensational true-life story of the murder of Neeraj Grover.
Mahi Gill plays the role of Maria Susairaj, Deepak Dobriyal plays her boyfriend Emile Jerome, and Ajay Gehi plays the victim Neeraj Grover.
RGV launched the trailer on June 30, the day the judgment in the case was handed down. Perfect timing or just coincidence? RGV answers this and other questions about his intriguing film.
Was the promotional launch planned purposely for the day of the judgment, or is it just coincidence?
I don't run the judiciary. My film's promo launch was planned a month in advance because it takes that much time to plan things for a launch. According to my knowledge, judgment day could have been any time in these two-three days, but no one could predict that.
What made you make a film on the case?
Not A Love Story is inspired by true events but it is not based on those events completely. When I first read about the Maria Susairaj case I was fascinated with the psychological aspects, that two seemingly very ordinary people can go completely berserk.
Two normal persons killing a man in a very ordinary apartment, then having sex in front of the dead body, cutting it into pieces, disposing of it in shopping bags -- it is probably the most horrifying thing anywhere in the world, but these two people did it.
Now, you can hear about the incident and be shocked by it and do nothing, or you think about what could cause these kinds of emotions and what kind of mental state could cause something like that to happen. That is what intrigued and fascinated me.
Are you going to show the investigative part of the story or the love triangle?
It is obvious that because the case was ongoing, the element of investigation will obviously be there, but the film eventually is about the emotional experience. Everybody knows about the investigation part because it is widely reported by the media, so for me, the emotional state is most important. The fact that there are two men and one woman involved means that there are strong emotions involved. But how that went horridly wrong is actually the focus of the film.
Have you met Maria Susairaj? Would you like to meet her?
No, I haven't met anyone directly related to the case because I did not want to get influenced by anything that was happening at that point of time. I would like to meet them after the film is released. I want to have a special screening for both of them.
Is Maria made out to be the heroine in the film?
Maria's character is the main protagonist in the film because she is the cause of the story to happen. Who instigated who, and whose decision it was to do all this is what you have to find out from the film.
Image: Poster of Not A Love Story. Inset: Ram Gopal Varma
'I don't know if controversy translates into a box office hit'
What is the point of recreating something so gory on screen?
This incident happened where you and I live, in a city, in an apartment where hundreds of people live. The fact that something like this can happen a wall away, in your neighbour's flat, it just brings to light the kind of demons there are among us. But are they demons? They are just like you and I, so to ignore it and turn the page and not bring to light the possibilities that lie behind it, I think would be a bigger mistake. To understand what could have caused it would lead us to understand society better.
Not that my intention is to teach something to someone. As a filmmaker, my intention is to reflect what happens in society -- crime, politics, anything. It's very important to understand what goes on behind the scenes in such a terrible incident so that we can probably do something to prevent it from happening again.
Did you ask the permission of the Grover family to make the film?
The story has been in the papers as the media has been following the case and my film is inspired by those incidents. I don't call my characters by their real names and there are also changes, like the character of Deepak Dobriyal (who plays the murderer) is not a naval officer. So there was no need for me to take permission. It is not a biopic, nor is it a true presentation of actual happenings.
Are you prepared for a controversy? Will controversy help the film's publicity?
Controversy at best can probably attract attention to the subject matter. I don't know if controversy translates into a box-office hit.
Will the film instigate violence?
Crime is basically about intent so the whole idea of the film is whether it was intentional or not. Can a film provoke violence? Can Satya instigate someone to become a gangster? To think that this film will instigate someone to do wrong -- it is about ordinary people being caught in an extraordinary situation that I think is not related to crime.
There is a song from Rangeela in the film. How did it fit into the story?
Yes, I took the rights for the song Hoja Rangeela. It is a story of a girl who wants to be famous as an actress and she became famous as a murderous which is ironical. If things went well it would have been a Rangeela but things did not go well and that one moment screwed up everything and it became a dark murder story. So, I thought of playing Hoja Rangeela in an emotional and sad, dark and scary version, in the context of a similar girl who wanted to be a star but what happened to her was the opposite of what happened to Urmila in Rangeela, I wanted to capture the irony of that.
The promo of this film is releasing at the same time as Delhi Belly, so is everything well between you and Aamir now?
There was nothing not well between me and Aamir. We just did not work together. The promo coming together is because the producer Sunil Bohra is a good friend of Aamir and it is his request.
Image: Trailer of Not A Love Story