Maverick filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma is apparently taken over by guilt and self-condemnation and says he regrets working with Mohit Ahlawat and making Shiva.
Excerpts from the interview:
You say Nishabd is a new beginning for you.
It is. I'm wiping my slate clean. Whatever came before was just fooling around. Only now have I become a serious filmmaker. My worst phase was between James and Shiva. I rushed into several projects without scripts. |
I made films with people who were not able to deliver... though I take complete blame for all the failures. But now when there's so much responsibility on my shoulder, I feel it was highly insensitive of me to take my job so lightly. It's easy to say, I'll do what I feel like. But a lot of finances are at stake. And it's high time I grew up.
Are you saying you were immature in your films so far?
Not in the quality of films but certainly in my approach to the financial and marketing side of the process of filmmaking! In fact, this year onwards I'll be making films on themes that are even more radical.
I've realized that doing something like repairing James to make Shiva was the height of self-indulgence. It was the nadir of my creative faculties. The fiasco that was Shiva was my high alert for Sholay.
Are you softening as you grow older?
(Laughs) Do you think so? Ten years back I thought Rangeela was a very mature film. Today, I may not think so. Then, after making something as unconventional as Naach and Nishabd, why did I go and do something as rusted and ancient as Shiva? Sign of self-destruction or arrogance... I don't know.
The other day Prashant Raj, whom I'm introducing in Sholay, asked me whether he should do a film with a new director that was offered to him. I told him nothing could be predicted in this industry. After a Pehla Nasha, Ashutosh Gowariker can make Lagaan. After Aks Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra can make Rang De Basanti. And after Sarkar Ram Gopal Varma can make Shiva.
You've started owning up to your mistakes?
Look, the purpose of making a film is to have people watch it. If a minimum number of people don't come to watch it, what's the point of making it? I've spent enough time repairing other people's works. It's not about passing the buck. It's about getting more organised and making the films in the right way. I want to get mature now.
Why were you immature for so long?
Making a film out of every idea is immature. After Satya I went and made Kaun without a script. I don't know why I thought every idea of mine would make a fantastic film. Maybe, I should remake some of my flops.
Have your prot?s been disappointments?
I've said this before... No one is here to do anyone a favour. I feel sorry for them for the way they behave. Whatever their reasons for feeling disappointed by me, I did give them breaks. But they didn't understand the fundamentals and completely screwed up...
Every human being has his own sets of values and motivations. Who am I to question them? Very honestly I was the one who chose the script and decisions were made by me. In fact rather than them, it's me who let them down. And, if I didn't understand their lack of capabilities, it was my shortsightedness.
What about people like Antara Mali, who has said you've messed up their career?
They may be right. I'm responsible for making them feel they were mavericks of cinema. Take Mohit Ahlawat. He left me. I heard he had 15 producers waiting for him. I'm happy for him. And I'm happy to have found a perfect replacement in Prashant for Sholay.
I've made a lot of good, bad and ugly films, and introduced several technicians who have achieved varying degrees of success. But, if you ask me what I regret, I'd say my career's two biggest mistakes were Mohit Ahlawat and the Shiva that I made with him in the lead.
Which discovery has given you maximum satisfaction as a producer and director and on a humane level?
You're sounding like a martyr.
I feel sad that they don't understand I haven't lost faith in their potential. To say that they backstab me is a very juvenile view of things. I really don't want to dwell on all this. I'm now going to be even more experimental than I was earlier.
Nishabd is my most romantic film ever. If a romantic film from me shock people then wait till you see what I've in store in future.