By: Joginder Tuteja, IndiaFM
Monday, September 17, 2007
"The release of my film was synonymous to a 'mela' out there and everyone seemed to be joining in the celebrations", says Ram Gopal Varma whose Aag may have been doused in one week flat but the heat has continued to stayed on.
"It appeared as if festivities were on and anyone and everyone had something to dance and cheer about. People were having fun at my film's expense which ultimately did succeed in providing them entertainment", he laughs with his characteristic sarcastic humor.
Does he feel that the film was rejected as a result of an emotional outburst from those who still haven't forgotten 'Sholay'? Or was it the herd effect?
Getting serious for the first time Ramu reacts promptly, "It was a herd effect for sure. The film was barely on and obituaries were already written. Also, the all around negative reviews clearly indicated that so many critics were just in love with their own phrases and headlines. They did come up with some real clever quotes that made for an amusing read. We do have some really creative people out there, you know!"
It is hard for Ramu to stay on to be pensive for long as he jumps on to narrate an anecdote. "I remember when I was in class 7th or 8th; me and my friend were returning from school when we saw a man being beaten black and blue by public. They were hurling stones at him and my friend too went ahead and gave him a punch and a kick.
On his return I asked him why he did that. It so turned out that the man was a pickpocket and he had been caught. Since everyone was bashing him up, my friend too confessed to possessing super-strength as he joined the mob. After Aag I can relate to that poor man", he laughs.
There was never a shred of doubt that Aag would have been minutely scrutinized. But did Ramu anticipate such hostile reactions with an all around audience back lashing?
"If I knew that, I would have never made the film in the first place", reflects Ramu whose Darling has just hit the marquee, "If you believe in advance that your film won't be appreciated, why would you bother about bringing it on celluloid? Nevertheless I agree that everyone has a perspective and a right to view an opinion. When reactions are same from everywhere, I may or may not agree with them as a film maker but I have to acknowledge that as a sane person. Can I do anything about that now? No, but I can move on, right?"
He has moved on for sure with Darling recently seeing a release. "As per my knowledge, the film is pretty original", he smiles, "It is a unique storytelling here with the narrative from the lead protagonist's (Fardeen Khan) point of view. The technique of shot taking and movements come from Fardeen's mindset. This is why situations alternate between being scary, comic, fearsome, humorous, romantic, thrilling and then back to comic at regular intervals. It may all sound gimmicky, but then you have to get into the protagonist's shoes to understand the situations."
Well, it isn't exactly gimmicky as one realizes this after watching the film. Darling does present Fardeen in a new light and showcases one of his best performances till date. "Yes, people do tell me that Fardeen has come up with his career best performance. Why just Fardeen? Even Esha has got an all around acclaim for her act in the film."
How much was his contribution in making them act the way they did? Did he enact the scenes for them and just asked them to follow suit? "No, I rarely call an actor how to perform", says Ramu promptly, "I primarily explain the mindset of a character to them and then leave it on my actors to do the rest. There is no point forcing my views on an actor, you see."
Technically too, Darling comes across as a vintage Ramu product with jump cuts et al, something that he used quite effectively in Company.
Laughs the film maker, "But then you can't have technique going beyond a character. Yes, there are constant jump-cuts in the narrative to reflect the mindset of a viewer who is going through a constant mental tussle. However, you have to ensure as a film maker that after making a point, you need to put a full stop. A few moments more than what is actually required and as an audience, you would only end up wondering about the very need of a particular shot."