Ram Gopal Varma is 60 today, April 7.
Subhash K Jha plots the once brilliant film-maker's declining movies graph.
I stopped watching Ram Gopal Varma's films after struggling through Killing Veerappan and Sarkar 3 in 2016-2017.
These were among the last remnants of a dying talent.
But the decline started long back.
Right after the implosive game-changers Shiva, Satya, the ravishing Rangeela and the career-defining Company, Ramu went into Daud, Phoonk, Agyaat, Not A Love Story, Departmentand... the downward spiral was unstoppable.
By the time Ramu came to Lakshmi's NTR, D Company and 2 O'Clock, I didn't know where to look.
It was like Dev Anand travelling from Hare Rama Hare Krishna to Love At Times Square. No one had the heart to tell the lovable Dev Saab that he had lost the plot.
Ramu is neither that charming nor do his sensitivities have to be kept under consideration, so I would openly ask him why he was committing a professional hara-kiri.
"I make the films that I want to. I didn't plan Satya or Rangeela as the hits they turned out to be. Likewise, I don't tell myself, 'Let's make a flop now' or 'Let's make a bad film'," RGV once told me.
"Many people believe that the reasons for my flops are that I do too many films and too quickly. But that's not the truth. I took the maximum number of days to shoot and spent the maximum money on Department and Aag, and they are my biggest flops.
"On the other hand, Satya was shot on a shoe-string budget. I finished Sarkar in 30 days. So it's not the money or time. It's the wrong content which determines a film's failure."
When everyone advised Ramu against re-making Sholay, he had chuckled, "People don't know what I'm making. They're just reacting nostalgically.
"Everyone from Jayaji and Dharamji to my other well-wishers have advised me to stay away from Sholay. Dharamji has apparently said he'd jump off that water tank if I messed up Sholay. Why should he jump off? He should push me off that tank if I mess up with Sholay. I've made massive preparations.
"Nothing in my Sholay would be the same as the earlier Sholay. For example, there's no Basanti in my Sholay. If you remove the tonga and ghagra-choli from Basanti, she's just another girl in the plot.
"A lot of characters in Gabbar's gang will be fleshed out. Sambha is very different. Likewise, the first cop who comes to meet Thakur is far more important in my film. My film has a strong police presence because it's set in the city."
"Of course, Gabbar has to be a terror, so Mr (Amitabh) Bachchan will have elaborate get-up. This is such a larger-than-life story, everyone has to be many sizes larger than life. You'll feel his viciousness.
"All these years, Mr Bachchan has hidden his evil side so well. I want to bring it out on screen. How can anyone be so correct? No one can be so morally perfect.
"People say I'm not capable of re-making Sholay. I've one consolation for them. Since the critics have already exhausted all their expletives for Shiva, they will have nothing left to say about Sholay. I think they'll pool their money and hire a gangster to get rid of me."
We all know what happened.
What makes him push through the slush of waste?
"I think it's my arrogance, which was the main reason for my flops. I was always a kind of a wild horse, very impulsive and fast.
"My path-breaking films as well as my crazy out-of-control films were a result of that. If I try to control my wildness, I will lose my uniqueness. So I just work towards steering my thoughts instead of stopping them."
My cutoff point for Ramu's cinema was something called Climax. Words fail to describe my disgust and outrage. Climax is a rumination on sexual retardation and would easily qualify as one of the worst examples of infantile film-making.
Please Ramu, no more.