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Ram Gopal Varma: I was manipulative

Last updated on: February 17, 2011 10:27 IST

'I was manipulative'

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Radhika Rajamani in Hyderabad

Ram Gopal Varma (see inset) is directing a Telugu film, Katha Screenplay Darshakatvam Appalraju (KSD Appalraju) after a long gap.

In fact, in the period before release of the film, he also shot another Telugu film Dongala Mutta in just five days. In this exclusive conversation with Radhika Rajamani, he describes what KSD Appalraju is about, while also highlighting his other projects in Telugu and Hindi.

How did you come up with the idea for KSD Appalraju?  

The idea has been there for five-six years. The primary idea originated from being a regular audience. A film sells feelings. People wonder why did a person do a film? Why the song? They feel even I can do it. So the story came from one of the audience who thought he can make a film. So I thought I can give him a ringside view of the film industry.

Is it a film within a film?

It is not a film within a film.

You are doing a full-fledged Telugu movie after a while. Is it because you were preoccupied with Hindi that it took so long?

Films like Satya, Company needed a pan Indian audience. The affinity for Hindi film and subjects was there. KSD Appalraju is a comedy and there are wonderful comedians in it. I lived on the experience of my initial days in the industry.


Image: A scene from KSD Appalraju. Inset: Ramgopal Varma

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'I would say Appalraju is a genuine and honest man whereas I wasn't'

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So, would you say it's autobiographical?

I would say Appalraju is a genuine and honest man whereas I wasn't. I was manipulative. Yes, every incident in the film happened to someone I know. There will be tremendous connect to emotions of characters.

Is the film a spoof or satire?

It's neither a spoof nor a satire. It's a situational comedy.

How did you zero down on Sunil? Is it after the success of Maryada Ramanna that you felt he could pull off the hero's role?

KSD Appalraju started three weeks before Maryada Ramanna. I felt Sunil had the right innocence and he looked zapped. He was ideal for the character.

You have a band of comedians in the film. How did you choose them?

Since the film is a situational comedy it calls for all kinds of characters. I knew most of the comedians.


Image: A scene from KSD Appalraju

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'The days of albums are over'

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You cast Swati and made her sing and dance, something which she has not done before. She also has a glamorous image...

When an actor doing a role is going to sing, one is not looking for professionals. It was to add a flavour. Glamour is situational. I had not met Swati or seen her films. When I was talking about the role she was recommended by my people. When I met her she was a livewire -- full of bubbliness.

You released one song after another, of the film. Was it a conscious decision?

Yes, it was conscious publicity. The days of albums are over, today's times are those of songs of which people are catching promos of.

In terms of technology and budgets, are Telugu films at par with Hindi films?

I don't think we can generalise. Films like Magadheera and Anaganaga O Dheerudu have created an effect. I think, say a person like Rajamouli can do something like that.


Image: A scene from KSD Appalraju

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'I never think of a film after I finish it'

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Were you happy with the response to Rakta Charitra? Some said Part I was good, while some felt Part II was better?

I don't go by responses. I never think of a film after I finish it.

You had interacted with Maddalacheruvu Suri as part of research before the making of Rakta Charitra. Do you think his murder was shocking and bizarre?

Eventually as they say, one who lives by the gun dies by the gun. It was shocking, nevertheless.

You made Dongala Mutta in five days. Why?

I wanted to look at the technology of Canon 5 D.

Are you thinking of making more Telugu films?

I make a decision at each point of time.


Image: A scene from KSD Appalraju

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'I start Department with the Bachchans and Sanjay Dutt in May'

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What are your forthcoming Hindi projects?

I start Department with the Bachchans (Amitabh and Abhishek) and Sanjay Dutt in May. I will also be doing a bi-lingual (adventure) in Hindi and Telugu.

Do you see a change in Telugu cinema, like more films moving out of the run-of-the-mill kind?

There are niche films like Ala Modalaindi. The audience tastes are diverse today. There are all kinds of films. Change will come in a year.

Will mainstream films continue?

They will be there. They have to do with spectacle and stars. What will change is the genre.

What drives you to make films?

Just passion. Just the excitement of creating moments, visuals, imagery, creating impact.

Image: A scene from KSD Appalraju

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