'I didn't make Department for the critics'
Department left quite a few critics and fans wondering what happened to the talent that was once Ram Gopal Varma.
The movie received scathing reviews but the director seems unperturbed. He defends his film:
Are you shocked by the scathing response to your new film Department?
I expected negativity. When you do anything completely different from a beaten path, many tend to pounce on you.
When Oliver Stone made Natural Born Killers, most reviewers said it was a piece of visual crap, exhibitionistic, etc. But in the later years, it came to be recognised as a cult classic.
Image: Amitabh Bachchan in Department. Inset: Ram Gopal Varma
'I sometimes think many reviewers write the reviews of my films even before they see them'
The film is your most severely panned work since Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. What, according to you, went wrong?
Some critics panning the film doesn't bother me because I didn't make the film for them. I sometimes think many reviewers write the reviews of my films even before they see them.
Anyway, the norm of critics these days is to bury the baby even before its born and kill the mother for giving it birth. It's incredible to see the sadistic glee they derive in running me down on a personal level even more than they do in running down the film.
Image: Sanjay Dutt and Amitabh Bachchan in Department
'The camera technique in Department is used all over the world'
Don't you think the criticism is largely justified?
There's no such thing as justification as it is eventually just an opinion and as we all know everybody has one. In today's communication networks, there are thousands of opinions and just because an individual is employed by a paper or a channel doesn't mean that he or she is holier than thou.
Department has been severely criticised for the freewheeling multiple-camera technique that you have applied to the storytelling. In hindsight, do you feel you overdid it?
This camera technique is in use all over the world; Department is not the first one to use it.
A photographic image is a combination of the look of the location, lightning, costume, make-up, the look of the actor etc, and any camera will only record whatever is kept in front of it. Then, of course, there are the features of lensing angles, movement compatibility etc which would be used as per the requirement.
In Department, it's the rapid swish pans and some hitherto unseen movement perspectives which bothered some people .But the same were liked by many others.
Image: Rana Daggubati and Amitabh Bachchan in Department
'I have always put the same passion in all my films'
Department has also been criticised for its lack of a coherent plot. What do you think went wrong with the script?
I don't believe that there is anything wrong with the script. I just attempted to do a realistic story with characters that intrigue and make you think rather than just spoon feed and I attempted to package that in a never-seen visual style. Many people got the point.
Most people that I've spoken to feel your best work were Satya, Rangeela , Company, Bhoot and Sarkar. And that the rest of the work that you've done has shown a downhill trend. Your comments?
Apart from those films, they should remember that I have always done other films before and in middle of them too. Before Rangeela, I made Drohi and after Rangeela, I made Daud. After Daud, I made Satya and then Mast.
The point I am trying to make is that whether people would chose to believe it or not, I have always put the same passion in all my films, be it a Rangeela or a Daud. Now a lot of people tell me that Daud was ahead of its times .But when it came out, it was panned more than any of my films.
Image: Sanjay Dutt in Department
'I employed the rogue camera method only for Department'
Do you feel you've been over-prolific in recent years, concentrating on quantity rather than quality?
The reason I make more films is that I work all the time without taking a break and I enjoy it.
If I will give more quality and take more time, my answer is that with least prep and almost no script I finished Satya in 45 days and with a prep of one year and more than 100 days, I shot Aag.
How would the failure of Department impact your future projects like 9/11. Would you reconsider the liberal use of what you call the rogue technique in future films?
To start with, I employed the rogue method only for Department and not for 26/11 or any other project. The unconventional usage of the cameras for lensing and framing has already been done in Slumdog Millionaire, 127 hours and many others. Like I said, in Department it's the rapid movements which created the problem for some.
Which is the nastiest comment you've heard on Department?
So many nasty things have been said about me over the years that they stopped having any meaning for me.
Image: Rana Daggubati in Department