Ram Gopal Varma; The Once Upon A Time Auteur


RAmgopal varma Main coverThe prolific filmmaker that he is, Ram Gopal Varma seems to have lost his way off late. Maker of great cinema like Satya, Rangeela and Sarkar, RGV is today somebody whose films don’t do justice to his vision.

Ram Gopal Varma is is a director, screenwriter and producer. He has been active in predominantly Hindi and Telugu cinema. The unique and unusual filmmaker has been associated with films in diverse genres like musicals, thrillers, experimental cinema, parallel cinema, horror films, road movies and even documentary-dramas.

Varma credits his fascination for studying people which led him to become a filmmaker. In an interview with Tehelka magazine, Varma said: “From my parents’ perspective, I looked like a useless bum. It was the truth. I had no objective. I was just fascinated by people, so I used to study their behaviour.”

Interestingly, Varma pursued a career in Engineering, before zeroing in on becoming a filmmaker. He even began work on the Krishna Oberoi Hotel in Hyderabad, before putting his engineering career on the back burner, to travel to Nigeria. However, chance led him to open a film parlour in the city, and it is through this video library, he ended up making connections with the who’s who of the Telugu industry.

His first film was the telugu blockbuster Siva, which was showcased by CNN-IBN as one of the Best 100 Indian Films of All Time. The success of the film led him to remake and rework his own script into a Hindi film. That film too did great business, and set Varma on the path to stardom.

Then in the mid-1990’s, Varma directed the stupendous hit Rangeela, which paved the way for him to becoming a super hit filmmaker in Bollywood too. The film, starring Aamir Khan and Urmila Matondkar, was a touching tale of ambition and love set in the Hindi film industry. It was a musical, and cemented RGV’s position as an auteur.

He then went on to make gangster flicks, which were all the rage. Classics like Satya, Company and D were RGV directorials, and together formed the “Gangster Trilogy” of films. He then made Mast, Bhooth, Ek Hasina Thi (which saw him come on board as Executive Producer), and Sarkar. The latter was a multi-starrer political potboiler, based on the Hollywood classic, The Godfather.

Post Sarkar Raj, sequel to Sarkar, Varma lost the plot, so to speak. He made duds like Nishabd, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (a Sholay remake), Agyaat, Department and The Attacks of 26/11.

Engaging in mudslinging matches with other filmmakers, this once prolific director has sunk into the genre of sub-par filmdom. One really hopes that Varma can revive his lost fortune, and end up making superhits and meaningful, hard-hitting cinema like he once did.