"My Basanti would be more contemporary"
Ram Gopal Varma speaks to Diganta Guha about the controversies that surround him.india Updated: Aug 31, 2006 18:54 IST
Ram Gopal Varma starts shooting his version of Sholay next month. In Kolkata to promote his forthcoming film, Shiva (starring Mohit Ahlawat and Nisha Kothari), Varma spoke at length about the controversies around him.
Will you have a Basanti in your Sholay?
Yes there will be a Basanti. But she will not be the same Basanti. If the original was a tangawali and wore ghagra choli, mine is more contemporary. But I am yet to decide who Basanti will be. I am still working on the characters.
Whom are you considering for Basanti’s role?
Several names have come up — Nisha Kothari, Jiah Khan. Karisma Kapoor… There may be a newcomer.
Your critics say you are trying to build hype by all this…
Casting takes time. If the media start speculating, what can I do?
Why has your Sholay been mired in controversy while others are making remakes without a problem?
The film has been on people’s minds for 30 years. My intention is not to better the original. I don’t believe that anybody can do that. I am only trying to change its look. The story will be set in 2006 Mumbai.
Why didn’tTime Machinewith Shah Rukh Khan take off?
Shah Rukh is a superstar. His popularity cuts across audiences and he has a huge fan following amongst children as well as families. My audience is different. The kind of films that I make are not larger than life; they are dark and intense. Shah Rukh would not have fit in that world.
Is Shiva a remake of James or your film Shiva with Nagarjuna?
It is a kind of remake of Shiva. The only difference is that the earlier one had a college setting, while in this one the protagonist comes from a police academy. Shiva intends to reinvent the raw and realistic action we had in the past — a genre that we haven’t touched in a long time. The film is shot with contemporary technology. There was no hero or heroine in Satya and Company, but in Shiva there is one. The subject matter may not be new, but the way it has been told is different.
Is Nishabd with Amitabh Bachchan based on Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita?
There’s nothing about Lolita in Nishabd. Lolita is about a man’s obsession with a 14-year old girl, which is not what Nishabd is about. The film is more about feelings.
Why has controversy become synonymous with Ram Gopal Varma?
When you are doing so much work, people talk about you. I don’t have the time to think about it.