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Maverick to many and loner to some, Ram Gopal Varma aka Ramu has lived life on his own terms with absolutely no regrets. A man of few words (very few, at times) one has to catch Ramu's humour to understand him and indulge in a conversation. When we met him at a suburban hotel for an exclusive one-on-one conversation, the director seemed to be in a jolly mood. Our conversation which started off with an informal discussion on films that are releasing this weekend, soon veered towards his pet project Satya 2. We made sure to throw some tough cookies to the filmmaker who answered them all in his own inimitable style. Excerpts from the exclusive interview.
How much is at stake with Satya 2?
(Rolls his eyes up)You know I have been asked this question since 2007. I would say nothing is at stake for me. I am a filmmaker and my job is to keep making movies till I can. I don’t think much about what is at stake and what isn’t.
But don't flops affect you as a filmmaker?
As I said, my job is to keep making movies. The moment I complete one project, I move onto another one. To answer your question, as a filmmaker, I am more interested in knowing the reason why people didn't like my movie. That reason interests me. But at the same time it is not possible to incorporate any changes based on those reasons because my next movie could be set on totally different parameters.
You have declared that Satya2 is going to be your last movie on the underworld. Why so?
I have reached a saturation point in my knowledge and understanding of the underworld. There is nothing new that one can show about the underworld today. There are no new dons that have come up after Dawood. It's virtually non-existent today. Show me one incident that has happened in the recent past relating to the underworld.
But we just had Sonu Niigaam going public with threats he received from Chhota Shakeel. Isn't that proof enough?
(Smiles) It's a mild incident.
So what's a major incident?
The gunning down of Gulshan Kumar or the supari killings that was rampant in the 90s are major incidents. And that's why I made Satya then. That really was the time when underworld was at its peak. Today Dawood has retired and Abu Salem is in jail. Where is the question of underworld. Except the sporadic case of J Dey's killing, you haven't heard anything at all. So you see there is nothing new to talk.
But what if a new don emerges on the horizon?
It's not about a new don rather the newness of the don that would excite me. For every Tata and Birla, there was a Dhirubhai Ambani and for every Karim Lala and Haji Mastan, there was a Dawood who came in and redefined the industry. But there has been a vacuum ever since. That's why I have made my hero a futuristic don. Someone who is always a step ahead in terms of thinking.
Has the underworld ever rang you up to tell what they think about your movies?
(Nods implying no and then whispers) No. But I have heard through others that they are very curious when they see my films.
Curious in what sense?
They are curious to know how I know so much about them in detail. And this is the knowledge that I have gathered through my good contacts and rapport with cops.
Last time when we met, you grew angry at us when we asked why a big production house is not backing a brand like Satya 2. Would you like to answer it now?
See, I don't want to get in to the production mechanism. But since you are have asked it again I will give you a honest answer. I have been approached by big production and corporate houses but it’s difficult to work according to their terms and conditions. I like making films in my own way without any restrictions or fetters.
Why don't we see you promoting your movie on reality shows like others?
I believe going to a reality show will not do you any good. Promoting your movie in a reality show is a big sham. I don't want to make a mockery of Satya.
But your film has a new starcast. Shouldn't that be reason enough to promote your movie more aggressively?
I don't understand this aggressive promotional gimmick. When a promo or trailer is released, an audience will either like it or dislike it no matter whatever promotional strategy you indulge in.
Finally, tell us what's happening between you and Karan Johar?
I never said anything bad about him. It was the media who blew it up. I gave him a back-handed compliment instead, my way (winks).