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Ram Gopal Varma would like to make Sholay again

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma says that nobody realises mistakes until he gets a solid slap and Aag was that slap for him.
By HT Correspondent | IANS, Mumbai
UPDATED ON FEB 20, 2008 03:21 PM IST

Ram Gopal Varma is a changed person. No longer willing to make films at the drop of a hit. No more the dial-a-quote wizard, this maverick moviemaker has mellowed but says he may remake

Sholay

again notwithstanding the

Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag

fiasco.



Excerpts

:



Where have you been hiding?


I was shooting my new film

Contract

in Mumbai and Bangkok, besides shooting the balance and post-production of

Sarkar Raj

, which releases in May.



People believed you had gone into hiding after

Aag

?

Why would I hide? I've made flops before. Yes, I agree

Aag

was a special flop. The reason I didn't speak is because there was nothing to say. I went into a phase of introspection. I now feel I was making films lately with a certain frivolous, even callous, attitude. I was also making press statements for effect, for shock value. I decided to keep quiet for a while. High time I stopped talking stupidly.



Has

Aag

changed you?

Yes, but I don't blame anyone else for going wrong in

Aag

. Amitabh Bachchan trusted me completely in

Aag

. But I feel my intention was wrong.

Aag

was a three-year-old dream. Many changes happened. I was told by lawyers to change the story because my

Sholay

had to be different from the original. I lost my way along the way.

Aag

ended up as a caricature of

Sholay

.



You admit that?

When people around you keep saying it's turning out well, you tend to get carried away.

Aag

was a special flop for me. Just as

Sholay

was benchmark,

Aag

was a landmark for me. It was not even a wake-up call. It was a slap.



You sound different!


Nobody realises mistakes until he gets a solid slap.

Aag

was that slap. Making a success isn't in my hands. But making sure that I make films with objectivity is something I can do, and I will.



Is that the spirit in which

Contract

is being made?

Yes, I made a conscious decision to make it with newcomers. There're 40 characters in this underworld film, all played by unknown faces. When I took Manoj Bajpai in

Satya

or Viveik Oberoi in

Company

, I wasn't launching stars. I used them because they were right for the roles. But when the media and my associates started praising me, it went to my head. I began seeing myself as a star-maker. I went into the trip of launching new actors.



When I signed Mohit Ahlawat and Prashant Raj I presumed they were stars before the film was made. I was getting more and more sucked into a fantasyland. Doing multiple films at such a fast pace in this state of mind was a potent and lethal blend, hence the sabbatical. Now I'm far more clear-headed.

Your financial position is supposed to be so bad you had to apparently sell your car?


How do I answer that without sounding stupid? For the last 15 years people have been worried about my finances - so sweet of them. Let me assure them I'm still moving around in the same car. I haven't sold it. People write anything they want. I'm making films the way I want to.



You've supposedly gone from riches to rags.


I was never rich in the first place. My finances are nobody's business. Other people's distress always makes us happy. If they're having fun at the expense of my finances, let them.



Do you feel isolated?


I was always a lonely person. Yes, earlier there were more people around me. That's because I had many productions on the floors. Right now I'm doing only one film. Nothing will change in terms of the content. I'll still make highly experimental films.



Will you still give chances to every spot boy who wants to direct a film?

I didn't give chances. I took chances. But I won't sign anyone on a whim. No point in making films nobody's going to see. I've changed in my attitude. Today, I wonder if I'd make

Daud

after

Satya

. Today, I know why I'm directing

Contract

. In 1997 when I made

Satya

, there were 108 underworld shootouts in Mumbai. Today there are far less. The profile of the underworld has changed. And I want to explore that change. The new developments in the underworld have given birth to new characters. And I've used new faces because these faces reflect the new order.



Lastly, what is the one lesson that you have learnt from the

Aag

fiasco?

That I need to get it right. Ramesh Sippy was right. I was foolish to attempt

Sholay

the way I did. At some point of time when I'm ready, I want to do it again. This time I won't make the same mistakes.

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