Despite having been associated with Vijayawada and the story of Vangaveeti Ranga for nearly three decades, it’s surprising that Ram Gopal Varma took so long to make a film on his life. “That’s because it has been with me in the capacity of a story, not a film. In Shiva I recreated my experiences as a viewer. In fact, I was just around 1000 yards away when Devineni Gandhi was murdered. That inspired how Sudhakar was murdered in the film. I recreated a part of the atmosphere there and totally forgot about it. But a couple of years ago, when I happened to meet someone who wasn’t just a spectator but a participant in the whole situation, I saw it all with a new perspective. I thought that would make for an interesting period film,” he shares.
How did he go about it without distorting facts? “No one really knows what happened and I met a lot of people with each one having their own version of the story. I had to decide which one to believe. When you speak to multiple people, it’s easy to understand who is the most credible because credibility comes with the intricate detailing in the story. For instance, everyone told me about the 72 knife stabs on Chalasani Venkata Ramana’s body when he was killed, but I personally found it too farfetched to be true. It was only when I met one of the stabbers who told me exactly how the whole scene panned out that I realised it is believable. A story can be made up, but not intricate details. Such moments have been recreated in the film,” he says.
What about the violence? “This is undoubtedly my most violent film,” he says, adding, “There’s an entire sequence of 15 minutes where they plan the murder of Devineni Murali. The violence is because of the way it was done back then. They wanted to make an example out of it. It was supposed to be a warning to anyone who dared the next time.”
RGV’s Twitter banter
- For anyone who follows RGV religiously, it’s easy to think of him as a man who keeps announcing films, whose Twitter banter is all drunken talk and as someone who doesn’t think before he talks.
- “People may assume that my tweets are all just a result of the influence of vodka but that’s not true. A lot of thought goes into everything I write, but it’s another thing that I may want to make it sound like a drunken tweet,” he explains. “When I announce a film, I may or may not make it. But the idea in itself is very interesting and that’s why people are tempted to write about it. There have been films which I announced but didn’t make but I worked on films way after they were announced too. I am instinctive there,” he reasons.
After making films on the lives of so many people, one wonders what a film on the life of the director himself would be like. “I think my biopic would be more about the way I approach life. That would be the most interesting part of the whole story,” he says.