From Sanyukta, Seasons Correspondent.
In a ten- year- old career, he's made movies which make
you marvel. 'Rangeela', 'Daud', 'Satya', 'Mast', 'Shool',
'Jungle' and now 'Pyaar tune kya kiya'! His motto in life
being, eat movies, sleep movies, make movies. In an exclusive
interview with SeasonsIndia correspondent Sanyukta, Ram
Gopal Verma talks about his movies, masti, and magic!
'Rangeela' 'Satya', 'Kaun',
'Mast', 'Shool', 'Jungle' and now 'Pyar tune kya kiya';
you have been churning out so many quality movies so fast.
What's the secret? Where do you get your motivational energy
and inspiration from?
"As far as speed is concerned I feel this is basically exaggerated.
I think I take as much time as anyone else the world over.
There are just a few filmmakers in Mumbai who take a long
time. Even big budget movies in Hollywood, take eight weeks
in principal shooting. Adding songs to our films would take
another twenty days. I think a seventy-eighty day shoot
is a very comfortable time period we're talking about. As
far as subjects are concerned I think I'm a voracious reader
somewhere, I keep meeting people, and anything that excites
me at a point of time. If I feel its got material enough
to make a film on it, I might set up a couple of writers
on it. They will be working simultaneously on it while I
do a film. So when it reaches a certain stage I decide whether
I want to do the film or not. Also, apart from films I don't
do anything else. I don't have any other life. So I guess
You tried your hand at comedy
with 'Daud'. Why do you think it flopped?
"It was a very big flop. People didn't like it. The story
should have had a kind of linear-progression, which I feel
I completely missed out on. I was trying to be clever in
the film. I was just trying to impress. Whether it's a comedy,
an action film, a romance, it needs to have a central emotional
hook at the end, to make the movie move forward, which didn't
happen. 'Daud' lacked it completely."
As a horror film, 'Raat' was very unlike the run-of-the-mill
Ramsay stuff. Do you think it was too sophisticated for
the Indian audience, which is why it didn't run?
''Raat' was a very stupid film, very indulgent. I did it
during one of my stupid state of mind. I'm embarrassed about
it actually. I was watching it recently and couldn't believe
I made a movie like that."
You come across as a modern filmmaker with a yen for making
slick movies. Why haven't you experimented with family dramas,
considering they do so well?
"It's not that I'm against family dramas, but there should
be something in the subject that excites me, attracts my
attention. There has to be some factor that excites me.
Not just telling a simple story. There has to be some extra
bit that attracts my attention, I could put my family drama
in it, but not simply a family drama. Normal things between
people revolt me. Husband and wife fighting, I just can't
do it; they wasting their time on simple family matters."
As one of the producers, what was your reaction to the failure
of 'Dil Se'. Where do you think it went wrong?
"For the same reason as 'Daud'. People didn't like it. It's
a big myth that the director knows what people like. He's
probably the last guy to know. You're trying to make a film
over a period of one or two years or whatever. To sustain
the emotional concentration for over two years, which eventually
the audience is going to see in three hours, is not a joke.
It's like your child. You think your child is good-looking,
whereas the others may find fault with its eyes or the nose.
You keep standardizing the movie to something which is on
your mind; which might not reach out to the audience at
the end of the day. I think it's a question of time alone."
Every creative maker has an 'inspiration', a muse. Do you?
"I don't think so. Not really."
In your capacity as co-producer of
'Shool' you have cast Raveena and not your favourite Urmila.
"For that particular role in 'Shool', I thought Raveena
would be more suitable for the role so I took her."
People say that Sanjay Dutt was a trifle upset with you
for that wishy-washy role in 'Daud'. Have things been sorted
"I don't think there ever was a break-up for us to patch-up.
That is all the stuff created by the media."
Post 'Rangeela', you seem to be
doing extremely well on your own; whereas Aamir is doing
fabulously well on his own. Isn't it high time the two of
you bury your differences and get-together to give us another
I believe, has gone on to say that he doesn't want to work
with me. So I don't think there is anyway going to be another
film with the two of us together. And since the film itself
is not about to be made, where does the question of a good
film come from? He doesn't like me."
For your next project starring
Shah Rukh, there is talk that instead of of Urmila you might
cast Aishwarya Rai or Kareena Kapoor. How much truth is
there in all this talk?
"I don't think people understand film making. These things
never happen anywhere. The hero wanting someone else, the
director asking for someone else and all the industry and
the press wanting someone else. I think Shah Rukh and I
have reached a position where those kinds of things don't
make a difference to us at all."
What's your secret for transforming all your heroines into
sex symbols? First Urmila in 'Rangeela' and Raveena in 'Shool'?
"'Shool' has been directed by my assistant. I was not a
part of the picture at all in terms of shooting. So this
question should be asked to my assistant."
Post 'Satya' we keep hearing about
Manoj (Bhiku Mhatre) Bajpai. Whatever happened to the hero
"I don't think anybody makes films with the intention of
trying to promote somebody. I just take whoever I think
is right for the film. I'm not in the industry to make films
specifically with Manoj Bajpai or anyone else. If he's good
for a certain film I take him."
Is your faith in your 'Jungle'
& 'Pyar tune kya kiya' hero, Fardeen Khan, justified? Considering
he's got a lot of negative publicity of his arrest with
a drug peddlar?
"That's for the public to say. It was only because I thought
he was really good in 'Jungle' that I took him again. I
would have shelved the film halfway through if I realized
he was not working out.Regarding his arrest, I would not
like to comment on his private life. His private life is
his own personal business."
Subhash Ghai has started a new, corporate trend by having
'Taal' insured. Are you also planning to go the same route
by insuring your films in the future?
"I'm not really very aware of the process. And I haven't
really given it a thought. But since people are talking
about it, let's see."
What do you think about Corporate
sponsorships for your movie promos? Something like what
the Barjatyas have done with 'Hum Saath Saath Hain'?
"Not really. Look, I'm completely ignorant and unaware about
such things. My office looks after the marketing part of
the film. I make the movie and give it to them and then
completely forget about it. If the film runs they give me
money to make the next film."
With most producers opting for
Hyderabad and even overseas, do you think Mumbai has lost
its status as the film making capital of India?
"I don't think so. I think they shoot outside more to have
a good time. Also, shooting in Hyderabad would probably
cost less than shooting in Mumbai. And with shooting in
Mumbai there are timing constraints. There are too many
things to distract you. The other producers, the traffic,
the distances. In places like Hyderabad and also abroad,
the working hours are increased. That could be one incentive."
Who is the director you admire most?
Mani Ratnam, Shekhar Kapoor and
you came together as producers for 'Dil Se'. Can we hope
to see any such more ventures in the future?
"We had dissolved the company during the making of 'Dil
Se' itself. We had only formed it so as to see our three
names together. There are no immediate plans of us getting
back in the future."
Ram Gopal Varma's interview through