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RGV: Not A Love Story is just a quickie

Last updated on: August 19, 2011 12:13 IST

RGV: Not A Love Story is just a quickie

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Preeti Arora in Mumbai

Ram Gopal Varma isn't a person who sticks to schedules. It's three in the afternoon and he still hasn't reached his office. The anxious staff maintains he's on his way and will arrive any minute. Attendants are busy heating up his lunch. All appointments, however urgent, will have to wait.

When he arrives, he looks calm and unruffled. But he's really fairly stressed out. Not A Love Story (based on the Neeraj Grover murder case) had not been cleared by the High Court, thanks to Emile Jerome Mathew's plea. When this interview was being conducted, the decision had not come in yet.

But the director got down to work, and spoke to Preeti Arora about his film, and controversial tweets.

Last week, court cases were filed against Aarakshan. This week it's NALS. What do you feel about this trend?

I would not like to comment about Aarakshan. I don't know enough about the reservation issue. As a director and a creative person, I can say banning anything is wrong.

Maybe the judiciary feels certain films won't be accepted by the audience.

There is no 'fixed' audience. Even the biggest flops have been liked by a few select people. Let the viewers decide.


Image: Movie poster of Not A Love Story, Ram Gopal Varma (inset)

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'We hope to release Department in early 2012'

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Are you hoping people from the fraternity will come forward and support you in your fight?

I am so busy most of the time; I never take up causes. I could not even speak to Prakash Jha over the phone. Here everybody is busy in their own worlds. Who has the time for others?

What's your equation with Amitabh Bachchan today?

It hasn't changed over the years. Sarkar (RGV always addresses Bachchan Senior as Sarkar) and me are professionals. I haven't spoken to him recently even though he had an important release last week. Many of his directors will use this as an excuse to get close to him. I am not like that.

Have you shelved your next film Department?

No, we are very much on track. The first schedule has already been shot. Amitabh Bachchan is doing the film and we hope to release it in January or February. NALS is just a quickie I took up because the subject interested me.


Image: Ram Gopal Varma and Amitabh Bachchan
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'Romantic films are not a genre I would choose'

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Coming back to NALS, when did the idea take shape in your mind?
 
Romantic films are not a genre I would choose. Even now when I speak of romance in Bollywood what probably comes to your mind are mustard fields and snowy mountains.

Probably for the first time, a love story has been filmed with a brutal murder as the backdrop. I was following this case whenever reports appeared in the papers. Then six months ago, I realised it has great cinematic potential.

Was the release date of this film deliberately scheduled for after the trial court judgment?

Nobody can predict a timeframe for the judicial system in India. I planned this film as a quickie between Rakta-Charitra 2 and Department. And luckily, the film was completed in the scheduled time.

Why do you think Jerome Mathew is resorting to legal action at such a late stage?

I can't answer that. Maybe somebody close to him has seen the promos and tipped him off. With a film such as this there is a lot of misinformation percolating through to outsiders. There must be some incident which acted as a trigger, though I can't pinpoint it.


Image: A still from Not A Love Story

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'I'm not connected with Shabri anymore'

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How come you aren't in court today when the fate of your film is to be decided?

My job is to seize a good subject and present it an interesting manner. I think I have managed that adequately. My producer Sunil Bohra is there and I have faith in the judiciary. The standard disclaimer is also there.

What's the kind of research you carried out before scripting NALS?

I talked to a lot of people connected with the incident -- police officers, lawyers, legal experts. I haven't had any interaction direct or indirect with either Maria Susairaj or Emile Jerome Mathew. I've also read the judgment. Any judge, especially one who sits on such a crucial case, has based his decision on some really strong facts. As an outsider, I cannot question his decisions.

You have another release lined up next week, Shabri.

I was the producer for Shabri. Now I am not connected with the film any more. It was delayed for many reasons. Now, the producers Reliance Entertainment have opted for a territorial release.

They are concentrating on Maharashtra now. The creative responsibility was entirely Lalit Marathe. If the film fares badly, it won't get a nationwide release. In a volatile financial market, these tough decisions have to be made.

Despite the success of Ek Haseena Thi, Sriram Raghavan has never worked with you again. Your production company has a high turnover rate when it comes to directors.

I guess that's something you will have to ask them. I see the potential in their script and sign them on. Maybe they feel they can get bigger producers and an even bigger star cast. I wish them all the best. No no, I am not being sarcastic. I really mean it.


Image: Ram Gopal Varma
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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'Media blows things out of proportions'

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At one point it was your films -- both flops and hits -- which kept you in the limelight. Today, it is your tweets.

The people who follow me on twitter are not necessarily the people who see my films. My tweets would get forgotten in a few hours' time. But the media blows them out of proportion and keeps reprinting them. It is you people (wags an accusing finger) who are to blame.

Just as we are leaving Ram Gopal Varma hears Emile's plea has been thrown out of court. The film will release as per schedule. Ram Gopal Varma heaves an audible sigh of relief.


Image: Ram Gopal Varma
Photographs: Pradeep Bandekar
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