Wednesday, August 16, 2006
This man needs no introduction. Churning out films by the dozen, he has aptly called his production house The Factory. Right from his first film Shiva to his latest film also titled Shiva, he has always been known to trod the path never traveled.
From your first Hindi film Shiva, life has come a full circle. Why the fascination with Shiva?
I guess it was the result of the sum total of the films that I had seen and the kind of films I wanted to see. I thought of revisiting the exact concept of Shiva after 15 years. The issues remain the same. We have re-packaged the film with modern techniques. I thought it would be interesting.
Apparently you were upset with your protege Rohit Jugraj after James. All media reports claimed that Shiva is your answer to Rohit Jugraj's James...
I'm not saying that I am not blaming Rohit Jugraj. Eventually if I chose him and let the film happen, it was my responsibility. The point of James was to bring back the action genre. Because it didn't work out, I thought that I should make a film like Shiva. Then the second thought was why don't I make Shiva itself?
So then why did you decide to retain the cast of James?
Simply, because I believe in the potential of the cast. It was my mistake that I packaged them in the wrong film. I have absolute belief in them.
How much potential does Mohit Alawat have as an actor? Will he go on to become a one-film-wonder like Vivek Oberoi or does he have a long film career?
I think he has a great potential. Having potential is different from actually being a star. A star is created from a film's success. And a films success is not in one person's hands. So his potential is good enough for me to make a film.
The trailer of Shiva shows a gruesome killing scene in broad daylight amidst public view. A man is nailed in his head. How do such ideas come to your writers? Is it inspired or just imaginative?
Well, it was imagined. But just two weeks after the scene was shot, there was a cover story in a daily that a man has been nailed in the head. Now if that had happened after Shiva released, people must have thought that it's inspired from the movie.
Do you think that the blood and gore shown in films is too graphic? Or do you think that the violence is justified by the demands of the script?
There is no question of justification. There has been an ongoing debate on the issue of violence since the time I was born, I guess! It is not a new argument. It's about the sensibility of the people. If you don't like that kind of violence, just don't watch the film!
Do you think that the censor board has been lenient with the depiction of sex and violence in films?
I think society in general is becoming lenient. I don't think anybody can show more violence than the news channels. They outdo films by leaps and bounds, any which way. As far as sex is concerned, in today's times, in the proliferation of pornography, it's very stupid to think that you can restrict it.
Shiva looks like an honest man's fight against the system. There are umpteen number of films on that subject. What sets your film apart?
I don't think anything sets it apart. The intent is to make it cliched. A cliche is basically an often told story. But if you tell it in a new way, it will still interest you. People watch the process of the story being told. It's not so much about the newness of the story.
Over the past couple of years, you have been very selective about the projects that you direct. Why so?
Actually, I am directing a lot of films now. It's not like I made a conscious decision to direct fewer films. It just happened.
Ram Gopal Varma films are known for their crisp editing. Tell us something about your editors.
I believe more in sensibilities and narrative styles.
Tell us something about Nishabd.
Nishabd is a love story between a 60 year old man and a 19 year old girl. The concept is that bodies age but feelings don't. An old man can be attracted to a young girl. Somewhere, his sense of responsibility and maturity stops him from acting on those feelings. But what if his feelings become stronger than his rationality. That is the concept of the movie.
How did you discover Jiah Khan?
She had come to meet me a year ago. That time I didn't have anything to offer her. But I thought there was a lot of promise in her. I was very keen to cast a new girl for Nishabd. I needed the character to be an unknown entity. So she was fit for the part.
You're making another film called Darling...
It is a romantic thriller. It is a uniquely different genre. I can't divulge any details of the story at this stage.
With films like Nishabd and Darling, you are attempting love stories, which are quite against your image. Why this transition?
I never stuck to one single genre, ever in my career. I kept on experimenting and jumping from here to there.
Lastly what's the status on Ram Gopal Varma Ke Sholay? Will it ever be made?
I'll be starting that project next month. Most of the actors have been finalized.