The curious case of Ram Gopal Varma

Written by Shruti Misra

I remember watching an interview of Ram Gopal Varma last year, where he was talking about his film, Veerappan. He said there are only two ways to engage an audience, either entertain or irritate.

This statement alone was enough for me to be drawn towards the madness of RGV, one of the bravest and boldest voices of Indian cinema in the last two decades.

His last directorial, Sarkar 3, may have received a tepid response from the critics and audiences, that hasn’t stopped Varma from exploring and expanding his fixation for the gritty world of crime.

Recently quitting Twitter to emphasise more on his professional work, the filmmaker has now forayed into the world of web-series. Varma always had a delightful and disturbing penchant for thighs, delightful for him and disturbing for us, and that’s why he aptly titled his first film as Guns & Thighs. As what the trailer and title suggest, it seems to be a heady cocktail of sex, subterfuge and substance (both in terms of content and drugs).

Here are some of the director’s most solid and spectacular works till date:

  1. SHIVA (1990)

A remake of Varma’s own Telugu film, Siva, the film was a take on an ordinary college student and how he gets sucked into the web of politics and violence. Scrupulously portraying the quotidian college life and nefarious politicians, Shiva was a perfect debut for a filmmaker, who was brimming with wild and fervid ideas.

  1. COMPANY (2002)

Easily one of the most gripping dramas to come out of Hindi Cinema, RGV’s compelling film about a young man sucked into the world of crime was taut and edge- of -the seat stuff. The always delightfully dependable MOHANLAL pitied against the charismatic and flamboyant Ajay Devgn gave us a film we can cherish for like, forever.

  1. RANGEELA (1995)

Migrating from the vile world of gangsters to the alluring world of Cinema, Varma’s protagonist in this film was Milli, played by Urmila Matondkar, who aspires to be a movie star. The other vivid character was Munna (Aamir Khan), who was a rock solid support in her life but couldn’t muster up the courage to say those three magical words.

Varma’s most charming film till date, the maker proved he understood the splendour of love as deftly as the squalor of the underworld.

  1. SARKAR (2005)

This ambitious adaptation of The Godfather saw Amitabh Bachchan portray the role of Subhash Nagre, a messiah for the poor, a malefactor for the rich. Taking a cue from that Hollywood classic and creating a fascinating world of his own, Varma chose his favourite theme of the Mumbai Underworld and gave us an immensely gripping and powerful crime drama. With exemplary performances and haunting characters, SARKAR is a timeless classic that never ceases to amaze, every time you revisit it.

  1. SATYA (1998)

It’s not crucial but almost mandatory to mention Satya in the list of the Finest Underworld Films ever made in Hindi cinema. A palette of colourful characters and powerful punchlines, Satya is the finest film by RGV. Many filmmakers have burned their hands in trying to replicate the magic and mastery of this classic, including this film’s director as well. Even today, it is one of a kind cinematic experience that should not be missed at any cost.

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Shruti Misra

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