Ram Gopal Varma will be back in the theatres soon.. with a new horror movie, Agyaat. It is scheduled for release on July 24 on the day the highest tide of the century is supposed to hit Mumbai."
Varma laughs when you point this out to him: “May be the power of Agyaat will turn the tide.”
It’s a film within a film revolving around a film unit that loses its way in the jungle and are terrorised by an invisible predator.
You wonder if any of the characters, be it the producer, the I’m-Spielberg-like director, frustrated stunt director or self-obsessed heroine are drawn from among Varma’s colleagues.
He chuckles, “I’m not telling. But in a way I could see Agyaat unfolding off the camera too. People, by virtue of their positioning, tend to behave the same, be it their reel life or real.”
Varma who’s known for his smart marketing gimmicks, has come up with another brainwave in collaboration with UTV — an innovative promotional contest, Agyaat Short Film Contest.
Anyone can shoot a scary video, not less than 20 seconds, and upload the link on the film’s website. The winner gets a chance to direct a film that will be produced by UTV and Ram Gopal Varma.
Varma points out that today anyone with a DG camera, a cell phone, a laptop and a passion for storytelling can shoot a film. But few have access to the film industry or a good production house.
If Varma is convinced that a person has the potential to become a good director on the basis of the video sent in, he promises to give him or her a break after suitable training.
“Mani Ratnam, Shekhar Kapur and I, none of us are trained directors. I have scores of people coming to me with two and three-minute clips, some of which are so terrific that they give me a complex. Some of these guys are writing scripts for me or working as my assistants,” Varma points out.
Agyaat is about an unknown predator that doesn’t have a definite form. It could be a creature or a psychopath. What makes it more terrifying is the fact that we can’t see it.
“That was technically the most challenging aspect of this film because it offered me a chance to play around with not just mechanical effects, sound and background music but also people’s imagination,” he says.
Featuring an ensemble cast of Priyanka Kothari, Nitin, Gautam Rode and Ravi Kale, to name a few, the film has been shot in the jungles of Kerala and Sigiriya in Sri Lanka.
Ask Varma if he ran into any LTTE commandoes and he says that they were too busy fighting the state. “We lived in terror of were the snakes that slithered around the jungles,” he quips.
Agyaat has a song, Kiss mix, shot on Priyanka Kothari and is supposed to be red hot. Ramu laughs, “It’s hot but I’d say it’s green hot!”