‘Bollywood has stopped making action films like the ones that were made in the 70s & 80s’ – Ram Gopal Verma

What is you upcoming film Shiva about and how is it different or similar to the Shiva that was released in 1990?

The earlier Shiva was about a college guy and it portrayed the violence that took place in colleges those days. It showed the rebellion of one man vis a vis other students who didn’t want to interfere.


I picked up the same plot and have set it in the backdrop of Mumbai police. The characters and the sequences are different.


There was speculation that Shiva is a remake of James. So is this new Shiva a remake of the 1990 Shiva or James?

In James, the idea was to portray James as doing something like Shiva. Like Shiva, I wanted James also to rebel against the unjust. But then we all know how James turned out to be. So after much contemplation I found more sense in remaking Shiva itself than to make a James, which is something like Shiva. 


Most film makers these days are making comedy, romantic and realistic films. Do you think there is scope for an out an out action film like Shiva to be accepted by the audiences?

Bollywood has stopped making action films like the ones that were made in 70’s and 80’s, which starred the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Shatrugan Sinha. Sugary sweet films and family drama have now taken over. So before it becomes diabetic, I had to add a tinge of a hero villain film. What’s more, I like action films.


But isn’t it true that there too much violence in your film? In fact, there is a scene where a man is hammering a nail into a person’s skull. Comment.

Yes there is a scene like this but my protagonist is a guy who stands up against such ruthless violence. The villain is a monster and my hero has the guts to stand against such a man and fight with him.


Shiva rebels against the unjust. So to establish this I cannot have my protagonist rebelling against the villain by tapping him on the head or punching him.


As a matter of fact, the violence in my film is nothing compared to the violence that actually happens in real life and is shown on news channels these days.    


Is the violence in the film also the reason why the censor board raised an objection to your film?

The censor board didn’t raise an objection to the violence. They wanted me to remove the word ‘chor’ from the song ‘Chor Police’. So, we have done the needful.


Your protagonist is a rebel against social evil, hence is there a social message that you are trying to convey through Shiva?  

A film’s purpose is to entertain and not to convey a message. If I want to pass a message I can do it via an SMS, so why would I make a film for that?


A film’s primary purpose is to create an emotional experience. At least I don’t consciously think about conveying a message through my films. Nonetheless, a message may be inherent in a film and some people may grasp it.


Shiva, which was earlier supposed to release on 18 August, is now getting released on 15 September. What was the reason for this delay?

When one makes a film, things keep getting delayed in terms of techniques or special effects or post production. Such was the case with my film too and there was nothing more than that.


Can you update us with the progress of Sholay?

Sholay will go on floors by the end of this month. Amitabh is playing Gabbar. Mohit is playing Jay and Ajay Devgan is playing Veeru. My Sholay is set in Mumbai and in modern times. So you will not see a Rampur village or a Basanti riding a horse cart.

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Rohini Bhandari

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