Faridoon Shahryar's Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2012

RGV Blasts Sanjay Dutt And Critics Who Innovatively Screw A Film

Faridoon Shahryar (FS): "If 'Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag' was an X-Ray of RGV's brain, 'Department' is an MRI scan of all his soft tissues — brain, heart and other vital parts. We can clearly see which ones are functioning and which ones have atrophied!" This review then ends with "Yet, Department is important because it is the story from a genius in decay." We have with us Ram Gopal Varma once again. Pleasure having you back! How do you react to this particularly review and also the other reviews, most of them which are not been very positive for the film?

Ram Gopal Varma (RGV): Everyone has a right to an opinion. Not only for my films, but reviewers are more creative than actual filmmakers because they'll find the most innovative ways of scr*wing your film, in terms of what is bad or what they feel about it. Reviewing is a different art form. We are in a democratic country and everyone has a right and means, especially in times of Twitter and also the media network which is so popular. Now if you are asking me for a reaction about the review, then I could say that it is an opinion that someone has expressed. And I gave the reasons during the course of discussion post the release of the film. Then it's the question of whether the people chose to believe it or not. I said what I had to say. So, I don't think there's anything more to say as far as why the film is the way it is.

FS: But Mr Varma, at the same time, you understand box office and you have had big hits as well. Hence, there will be expectations from you. The general opinion is that why is Mr Varma not realizing that there are certain things that he's not doing right. For instance, the 'Rogue Methodology' that you devised has failed. It has not been appreciated and one critic has said that 'film mein ek bhi single frame still nahi tha'!

RGV: Just became I came up with 'rogue methodology', people started seeing it in that point of view. Rogue methodology is eventually using of multiple camera setups, which is in vogue worldwide. I didn't invent it. Now there are certain things where there are certain rapid panning and even jerky movements and effects from a perspective which have not been seen before and it was deliberately done to use it in a certain way. I don't think there are more than 8 to 10 such shots in the film. But people are not looking beyond a couple of montages in the beginning and these 8 to 10 shots in a 2 hour 20 minutes film. Also, I don't think if anyone understood what 'rogue methodology' is all about. In addition to using multiple cameras, there's a change in tone which I could have done even with a conventional camera. Yes, people didn't receive it well and I said in my earlier interview as well that when 'Natural Born Killers' was made, people reacted very well and it's reviews were as bad as of 'Department'. But later on, it was called a 'cult film'! However, at this point of time I can't say whether 'Department' will be termed as 'cult'. But it's the content being liked or not liked is different from response to 'rogue methodology'. And the manner in which 'Department' review are written, it should be the first film in the history of Indian Cinema where the technique was criticized the most!

FS: Many a times, critics have a group of their own and they write for 50-60 people. However, even the common man has rejected the film. Somwhere at the level of story and concept, the film didn't work. Your films have worked tremendously in the past, be it 'Rangeela', 'Satya', 'Company' or 'Bhoot'. Even 'Department' has punches and there are interesting moments in the first half, as far as Mr Amitabh Bachchan is concerned which really brings in the audience. I saw it with the audience and I could relate to it. So in that context, the film has its plusses but otherwise, the story is not working…

RGV: Absolutely! It's not about blaming someone but as a director, I need to put out as to what behind the scenes. It's not the first time that my film has not been liked. In the 22 years of my career, I have never ever blamed anyone outside, except myself, for any film that I have done. And this includes 'Aag'.

FS: So you accept the blame for this movie?

RGV: No!

FS: Why?

RGV: Halfway through, I was made to change the script and using various coercive forces, because of which I lost objectivity. Anybody who saw 'Department', their first criticism is that 'it doesn't look like a RGV film'. Even my bad film will have my stamp. Nothing in 'Department' looks like I have made it, in terms of sensibility and dealing with cops and gangsters. So I had a terrible experience and the mistake I made was basically to take Sanjay Dutt into the film. From then onwards, once the film started, things went haywire halfway through and I lost interest in the film.

FS: Sanjay Dutt meanwhile says that doesn't want to even shake hands with you.

RGV: Fine! I'll be very very happy and I don't want to see his face. Not only me but anybody will be mad to do anything with Sanjay Dutt. My point is that there are many films that have not worked at the box office. But nobody would have ever heard me blaming someone for the film. This is the first time I have done.

FS: You have said that Kangna Ranaut was removed at the behest of Sanjay Dutt and his manager Dharam Uberoi had a lot of role to play as well. There were rumours prior to the film's release that all is not well between you and Sanjay Dutt. But at that time, you had refuted the rumours…

RGV: If I am the helm of affairs being in the position of the so-called director, I think it's not ethical on my side or those involved with the picture like the investors, distributors and Viacom since they are my responsibility. So I can't speak negatively about the film as to what is happening behind the scenes.

FS: You're also not happy with Abhishek Bachchan because he asked you to sign Sanjay Dutt…

RGV: I said that just for fun. It's not news that Sanjay Dutt is like this. A lot of people are aware and a lot of films have suffered as a result. But against better judgement, when Abhishek suggested that we should take Sanjay Dutt for that particular role, I could get carried away. And after that Abhishek couldn't do the film and I was left with Sanjay Dutt.

FS: Dharam Uberoi has had issues with the 5D Cameras. In fact, there's a joke going around that Dutt is upset with RGV because he showed him angles and angles showed him his paunch as well, something which is not flattering for any actor!

RGV: Why would a camera cover what is there in a person? It will eventually record what is in front of it. The camera cannot change. What you can do is use CG to change it, probably to tone down the body down and all that. Also, this is not a film that will highlight the glamour of a person. I can understand that anybody will be concerned with the use of new technology. Even Rana and Mr Bachchan had their concerns. At the end of the day, I am not the first guy to use such type of cameras with such type of a resolution. The cameras are in use since 2 to 3 years and have been widely used even in Slumdog Millionaire which is an Oscar winning film. So cinematography is different from the use of rapid movements that I have done. The reviews have mentioned that it created dizziness!

FS: You have a complete disregard for the convention…

RGV: No, that is the wrong word to use!

FS: I'll give you one more example. As far as dubbing of the film is concerned, in the second half, when Mr Bachchan and Rana are having conversation among themselves, the dubbing is in sync sound. Now it looks a bit odd as compared to what it was in the earlier scene…

RGV: This happened because Mr Bachchan was not well at that point of time. And yet, with great difficulty, he managed to dub. In that particular scene, there was lot of spontaneous laughter which would have been difficult for him to recreate during the dubbing. It would have led to a lot of stress on what he was feeling at that point of time. That's why we took the decision to let it go as it is.

FS: People are also asking that what was the need to focus on the swaying hips of Madhu Shalini? People were in fact laughing on that scene. Her character has received quite criticism, especially the way she says 'Baby' and her interaction with Abhimanyu Singh…

RGV: All the characters were created with a certain graphic comic book tone which is also an asset. And it's not like the other filmmakers are not showing a woman. It's her sensuality and her relationship with DK which has a certain sexual undertone which of course the camera will highlight at that point.


  1. I can imagine any filmmaker worth their salt will have the hurdles and obstacles in the creative world. To dissect from a 'common' point of view is almost akin to learning a foreign language. The world of cinema is not really complicated but rather unique compared to other venues where there is so much energy. When estrogen and testosterone collide then we have a movie. It is a directors medium and a very expensive one. One person put it quite well one time..'We are there to do our job and get out before anybody notices'