Ram Gopal Varma
|Ram Gopal Varma|
Ram Gopal Varma at the promotion of Bhoot Returns in September 2012
|Born||Ram Gopal Varma
7 April 1962
Hyderabad , Telangana
|Residence||Mumbai, Maharashtra, India|
|Alma mater||V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh|
|Occupation||Film director, producer and writer|
|Spouse(s)||Ratna Varma (estranged)|
|Children||Revathi Varma (Daughter)|
Ram Gopal Varma also known as RGV is an Indian film director, screenwriter and producer, known for his maverick works in Bollywood and Telugu cinema. Varma has directed, written and produced films across multiple genres — psychological thrillers, crime films, road movies, horror films, fictional films, experimental films, musical films, parallel cinema, and docudrama. Two of his films Siva (1989), and Satya (1998) were show cased among CNN-IBN's 100 greatest Indian films of all time. In 2005, Indiatimes Movies included Satya in its list of 25 Must See Bollywood Movies. The film marked the introduction of a new genre of film making, a variation of film noir that has been called Mumbai noir, of which Varma is the acknowledged master. Varma is also known as the master of Horror films in India. In 2004, He was featured in the BBC World series Bollywood Bosses. He is also recognized as the intellectual fountain head of new age Indian cinema.
He directed path breaking film's like Siva (1989) and Kshana Kshanam (1991) for which he has garnered Nandi Awards for Best Direction. In 1993, he scripted Tamil, thriller Thiruda Thiruda,  premièred at Toronto International Film Festival. In 1999, He has garnered the National Film Award for scripting, political drama, Shool - "For unveiling the complete collapse of the socio-political system. A very effective portrayal of the determined fight of a single citizen in the centre of a facade of democracy", as cited by the Jury. In the same year He directed Prema Katha for which he received his third Nandi Award for Best Director. He garnered three Filmfare Awards, five Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards, and five Bollywood Movie Awards. In 2010, He received critical acclaim at the International film festival of Fribourg, Switzerland, where in, a retrospective of Mumbai noir, was staged by film critic, Edward Waintrop.
He gained recognition in Bollywood with the 1990 Hindi film, Shiva premiered at International Film Festival of India, and the 1991 supernatural thriller, Raat. In 1995 he directed another blockbuster, Rangeela which won seven Filmfare Awards. He then directed Satya (1998), which won six Filmfare Awards, including the Critics Award for Best Film, and was show cased among the Indian panorama section, at the 1998 International Film Festival of India. Varma received the Bimal Roy memorial award for best direction for this film.
Satya, together with his 2002 film Company (which he directed, won three IIFA Awards, seven Filmfare Awards, and a Bollywood Movie Award for best direction, and was premiered at the 2004 Austin Film Festival) and the 2005 film D (which he produced), form an "Indian gangster trilogy". In 2006, he re-made a new version of Shiva, which was screened at the New York Asian Film Festival, where a retrospective featuring several of his previous movies was staged. Alongside Shiva, the festival screened his earlier successful films Company, Ek Hasina Thi, Ab Tak Chhappan, Shabri, and Sarkar.
In 2008, he directed another blockbuster, Sarkar Raj, which was archived at the Academy of Motion Pictures library. In 2013, he directed a docudrama, The Attacks of 26/11 showcased to critical acclaim at the Berlin International Film Festival, in the Panorama as well as the Competition section,  and was premièred at Films Division of India. Other Box office hits that Varma directed in Telugu and Hindi include Gaayam (1993), Anaganaga Oka Roju (1997), Kaun (1999), Mast (1999), Jungle (2000), Bhoot (2003), Sarkar (2005), Phoonk (2008), Rakta Charitra (2010), and Rowdy (2014).
In an interview to Tehelka, Varma talked about his relationship with his parents and the reasons behind his decision to become a filmmaker.
From my parents' perspective, I looked like a useless bum. It was the truth. I had no objective. I was just fascinated by people, so I used to study their behaviour. I was most fascinated by the bullies in my classroom. They were like gangsters for me. They had the guts to push around people, do things I couldn’t— perhaps did not even want to do myself. But I’d want a friend like that (laughs). I used to adulate them like heroes. That was my first touch with anti-socialism. Over a period of time, I developed a low-angle fascination for larger than life people. I was always a loner – not because I was unhappy, but because I live away from myself, not just others. I like to study myself – the way I am walking, talking, behaving. My constant obsession with studying myself and other people is perhaps the primary motivation for me to be a filmmaker.
Varma completed BE in civil engineering from V.R. Siddhartha Engineering College, Vijayawada. Even during this period, Varma remained a film buff, through his uncle. Varma would skip classes often and watch films instead. He would watch the same film repeatedly "just to watch certain scenes which interested him." According to him, that is how he learned film direction.
After a brief stint as a site engineer for Krishna Oberoi hotel in Hyderabad, he put his dreams on the back burner and decided to go to Nigeria to make some money. It was at this moment that he visited a video rental library in Hyderabad. He loved the idea and decided to start one of his own at Ameerpet in Hyderabad, through which he slowly developed connections with the film world. Without being successful as a fourth assistant director in B. Gopal's film Collector Gari Abbai, Varma directly ventured into film direction, with the 1989 Telugu film, Siva.
Career in Telugu cinema
Before Varma started his career in the Telugu film industry, he lingered on the sets of films such as Collector Gari Abbai and Rao Gaari Illu. His father Krishnam Raju Varma, was a sound recordist at Annapurna Studios, which was then owned by thespian Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Varma managed to meet Nagarjuna Akkineni and narrated a scene to the actor which impressed him. The result of their collaboration was a film on the criminalisation of student politics — Siva. It was a blockbuster with Varma demonstrating his technical expertise and storytelling skills. The success of the film in Telugu led to a Hindi remake with similar success.
Varma's next film was Kshana Kshanam with Venkatesh and Sridevi which got him noticed by Bollywood critics. It was dubbed into Hindi as Hairaan. Then he made films such as Raatri and Antham. While Gaayam with Jagapathi Babu and Anaganaga Oka Roju with J.D. Chakravarthy were successful, Govinda Govinda with Nagarjuna and Sridevi proved to be a moderate success at the box office. During this period, Varma produced films such as Money and Money Money and was the screenwriter for Mani Ratnam's Tamil movie Thiruda Thiruda.
Career in Hindi cinema
While Varma's first successful Hindi film was the remake of Siva. His next film was Drohi. What really put the spotlight on him was the blockbuster Rangeela. The film won Filmfare Awards for Rahman and Shroff. According to Varma, it was dedicated to actress Sridevi. His next film Daud (1997), however, sank without a trace.
In 1998, Varma was an executive producer for Dil Se.., directed by Mani Ratnam and starring Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta. The film won the NETPAC Award for Special Mention at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as two National Film Awards and six Filmfare Awards.
Indian gangster trilogy
In 1998 came his masterpiece, the critically acclaimed Satya, based on the Mumbai underworld. A script written by Anurag Kashyap and Saurabh Shukla, music by Vishal Bhardwaj and Sandeep Chowta, acclaimed performances by J. D. Chakravarthy, Manoj Bajpai and Urmila Matondkar, and Anurag Kashyap's screenwriting brilliance, contributed to a landmark. The film won six Filmfare Awards, including the Critics Award for Best Film.
In 2002 came his commercial as well as critical success, Company, again set against the backdrop of the Mumbai underworld, in which he cut off the song-and-dance sequences, common in Bollywood films at the time. It was based on the real-life underworld organisation, the D-Company. It won seven Filmfare Awards and earned him a Filmfare Best Director Award nomination. Malayalam actor Mohanlal debuted in Bollywood doing an extended cameo in this film.
A prequel to Company was made in 2005: D, produced by Varma and directed by Vishram Sawant. Satya, Company and D are together considered an "Indian gangster trilogy". Satya and Company, in particular, were cited by British director Danny Boyle as influences on his Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008), for their "slick, often mesmerizing portrayals of the Mumbai underworld", their display of "brutality and urban violence", and their gritty realism.
During the years between his trilogy, from Satya in 1998 to D in 2005, Varma experimented with different film genres. In 1999, he directed Kaun, a suspense thriller set entirely in one house and featuring only three actors, and Mast, a subversion of Hindi cinema's masala genre. In 2000, he directed Jungle, set entirely in a jungle, for which he was nominated for the Star Screen Award for Best Director.
Following the success of Company in 2002, Varma's next film as director was Bhoot (2003), a psychological horror film, which was a major success. It starred Ajay Devgan and Urmila Matondkar, who earned a number of awards for her performance. Varma himself was nominated for the Filmfare Best Director Award for the film.
Following the success of Bhoot, Varma produced two other experimental films: Sriram Raghavan's Ek Hasina Thi (2003), a psychological thriller, and Shimit Amin's Ab Tak Chhappan (2004), a film about an inspector in the Mumbai Encounter Squad famous for having killed 56 people in police encounters.
Varma's next film as director was Sarkar, released in June 2005, starring Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek. Amitabh played the character of Sarkar who is a self-righteous and powerful businessman and social worker, while Abhishek played his son. Sarkar was a loose adaptation of Mario Puzo's 1969 novel The Godfather. Sarkar went on to become a critically acclaimed venture.
In 2007, he directed Nishabd, followed by the ambitious Sholay remake, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag, as well as Darling. He was written off by the media and public until June 2008, when he reclaimed, to some extent, his lost reputation with his much hyped venture, Sarkar Raj, a sequel to Sarkar; it was an average and met with good reviews. The primary cast featured Amitabh and Abhishek Bachchan reprising their roles from the prequel alongside Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. Supriya Pathak, Tanisha Mukherjee and Ravi Kale reappeared in their respective roles from Sarkar.
Phoonk (2008) was another horror film which was a success compared to its minuscule budget. Agyaat, which released on 7 August 2009, was again a commercial as well as critical failure. Next was Rann, a film about the media. It had Amitabh Bachchan, Kannada actor Sudeep, Ritesh Deshmukh and Paresh Rawal. Released on 29 January 2010, it was praised by some critics but was a commercial disaster. Then he began the promotion works for Phoonk 2, a sequel of Phoonk, which was released on 16 April 2010.
Next came Rakta Charitra, in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages. The movie was based upon the faction backdrop of the Rayalaseema in Andhra Pradesh. As it lasted about five hours, the film was released in two parts, with a gap of three months. It depicts the life of slain political leader Paritala Ravindra, played by Vivek Oberoi, with Tamil actor Surya Sivakumar, enacting the role of Maddelacheruvu Suri, Shatrughan Sinha, Radhika Apte and Priyamani star in other pivotal roles. The film released to a good opening following Varma's clever pre-release marketing using the controversy surrounding the main characters to his advantage.
Varma roped in Amitabh Bachchan for the lead role in his film Department, the plot of which revolved around the internal politics of the police department. He was quoted saying that this film may be considered as "the other side of Company." Sanjay Dutt and Rana Daggubati are reportedly going to play supporting roles, nevertheless the entire film revolves around them. It was a much anticipated collaboration of Sanjay Dutt with the director after their earlier venture Daud
Varma's recent flick The Attacks of 26/11 received huge critical acclaim for its brilliant portrayal of the real life terrorist attack on Mumbai which happened on 26 November 2008.
Varma's film Satya has been referred to as a modern masterpiece and "perhaps" one of the best films of the 1990s. Film critic Rajeev Masand has labelled it (along with its sequel Company) one of the "most influential movies of the past ten years."
British director Danny Boyle has cited Satya as an inspiration for his 2008 Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Satya's "slick, often mesmerizing" portrayal of the Mumbai underworld, which included gritty and realistic "brutality and urban violence," directly influenced the portrayal of the Mumbai underworld in Slumdog Millionaire.
Satya has spawned countless imitations in Bollywood, some by Varma himself, but all are considered largely inferior.
- National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi (producer) – Shool – 1999
- Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards
- Nandi Award for Best Director – Siva (1989)
- Nandi Award for Best First Film of a Director - Siva (1989)
- Nandi Award for Best Director – Kshana Kshanam (1991)
- Nandi Award for Best Director – Prema Katha (1999)
- Nandi Award for Third Best Film (director) – Prema Katha (1999)
Varma wrote an autobiography titled Na Ishtam, which discusses his thoughts, opinions and ramu style philosophy.'Naa Ishtam' was released on December 2010 at Taj Banjara, Hyderabad. Vijayawada MP and RGV's friend Lagadapati Rajagopal launched the book.
Sirasri – poet, lyricist and writer wrote a book in biographical tone on the interactions he had with Ram Gopal Varma with the title Vodka With Varma. Director Puri Jagannath launched the book in December 2012 at Aros Pub in Hyderabad.
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ram Gopal Varma.|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Ram Gopal Varma|
- Ram Gopal Varma's Official Blog
- Ram Gopal Varma at the Internet Movie Database
- Ram Gopal Varma profile at Gomolo.in
- Interview with RGV
- Ram Gopal Varma At Taj by Chance
- RGV's Twitter
- Curation of All Question & Answers By Ram Gopal Varma