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Ram Gopal Varma ke dragons

The director who smiles once in a blue moon, Ram Gopal Varma gets candid with RA Irani on music, Bruce Lee films, AR Rahman and more.
Hindustan Times | By RA Irani, Mumbai
UPDATED ON JUL 25, 2007 04:07 PM IST

It would be so-so-so boring to ask him about Ram Gopal Varma ke Sholay, Aag the Fire, Raakh the Ash..whatever. I just ask him an assortment of questions which he answers diligently, expressionlessly.. the only time he smiles is when I leave at the end of the interview.

Do you think there is a common theme running through all your films?
Yes, it's possible. I like this idea of a guy coming from somewhere and getting into these situations. That's what I picked up from the Bruce Lee films – Enter the Dragon, Return of the Dragon and Fist of Fury.

Also, films based on James Hadley Chase novels would be a very effective way of getting the audience involved -- because you connect to the protagonist, and through his eyes, into the story. Even in a horror film, a family coming into your house gets you involved. I guess I'm obsessed with the idea of someone coming somewhere from elsewhere.

Do you see ghosts behind the doors in your house?
I used to feel that way when I was making Bhoot.. I have this L-shaped bedroom, and if I was on the bed, I used to feel that Manjeet, the ghost in Bhoot, was behind the wall.

I used to laugh at myself and turn to one side and sleep.. and then hear this breathing sound. I would want to turn and see, angry at myself for being imaginative.

Have you ever got into a crisis, felt helpless?
No, I've never got into a crisis or felt helpless. If something happens which is not in my control, I usually think of a way of getting out of it. And if I can't, then I'll face it.

Have you ever been lost?
Never, because I don't drive. I always have a driver with me, or someone else driving.

No bizarre situations, robberies or rapes?
Rape?

Ok robbery.
No, I've never been involved in a situation, which is out of the ordinary.

What attracts you musically?
Whether it's my stories, or the music of anything I do, most of it is from how I was influenced in my teens or childhood.

There is a heavy influence of Ilaiyaraja. Like when I brief my music director about the sound I want, I probably take it from a memory of what I felt when I heard a particular song in my growing years.

Tell me about some of the western influences on your music?
Western influences, too, would be the music I grew up on. for I rarely listen to contemporary music now. I have very little knowledge of it.

What did you listen to?
More than songs, I used to be heavily into background scores. There were no CDs then. I used to take a small tape recorder and record the background scores of Enter the Dragon, The Omen or Jaws.. those kinds of films.

Did you have any favourites?
Abba was my favourite.I knew most of the songs but I can't sing any of them.

You worked very well with AR Rahman in Rangeela and Daud. So what happened? Break-up?
I don't think I could call it a breakup. Rahman is a very rare individual. I know only one of his kind, I don't think there's anybody nearly as sincere as Rahman in the music business.

When you listen to his music, you don't have a choice.. while making Rangeela, I used to have sleepless nights, trying to work out how I would do justice to the music he had composed.

I work at a certain pace and am very impatient by nature. I want to do things yesterday and Rahman will do it day after. It's basically that delay in time – I don't have the patience to wait – this is the only reason I haven't worked with Rahman after that.

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