Ram Gopal Varma is clear about his girls. “I do not like simple girls anymore,” he declares when we ask him about the girlfriends of his two Shivas. In his debut, Shiva, in the 1990s, the leading lady was a salwar-kameez clad Amla (playing Asha), while his 2006 remake has Nisha Kothari, who refuses to be ‘clothed’ in any adjective.
RGV’s muse has not just shed clothes but also inhibitions over the years. While Asha would sip tea in the college canteen, the new one (Nisha, playing a crime reporter) rolls up in sand wearing oomph bold and aloud. The evolving sexuality was well portrayed by Urmila Matondkar and Antara Mali.
“My perception about a woman has changed over the years — she has to be sensual and have the oomph factor,” he says. Known for dark and hard-hitting cinema, RGV is often criticised for repeating himself.
“That’s the pattern I like to work in. Writers like Robin Cook and Paulo Coelho too have signature styles of writing. And they are known for it.” He adds that he is one of the few filmmakers who have “tried almost all genres. Whether it is the musical masala Rangeela, the horror film Bhoot or a political drama like Sarkar, I’ve done it all.”
With reference to his latest film, Shiva, he says, “The fact that Shiva is once again fighting corruption is a reality check — not much has changed around us.” Up next is an audacious Nishabd starring Amitabh Bachchan and Jia Khan and then the remake of Sholay (which “will take off next month). “Nishabd revolves around the fact that while the body aches, feelings don’t. The film is strong on physicality, but that’s needed to bring out the contrast between desires and reality.”