Just Six Ram Gopal Varma
‘I should get the flak’
Photo: H. Satish
Tough act Ram Gopal Varma
Ever since he revealed his plans to revisit Sholay, he has been under scrutiny. He called his film Ram Gopal Varma ki Sholay and finally has to contend with Ram Gopal Varma ki
Aag when the Sippy’s objected to him using the word Sholay. Basanti’s (Hema Malini) tonga has been replaced by Ghungroo’s (Nisha Kothari)’s taxi. The setting is Mumbai but a
lot has changed since the time of Ramesh Sippy’s Sholay in 1975. Ajay Devgan steps in as Veeru, newcomer Prashant as Jai, Sushmita Sen breathes fire as Durga and there’s Amitabh Bachchan as Babban Singh. Varma states, R
20;I’ve made this film with sincerity, honesty and due respects to the original.”
Epitome of formulae films: Sholay was an epitome of formulae films of the 70s – heroes, heroines, larger-than-life villains, a mandatory item number and so on. It’s like sampling a thali. We’ve stop
ped making films like that for the last 20 years. Aag is throwback to that era and genre. I see Sholay a drama just like China Gate or Seven Samurai. Aag, in spirit, is closer to
Shaping up Babban: Amitabh Bachchan laughed when I first asked him to act as Babban Singh. When I talked to him at length about how I wanted to interpret Sholay, he was convinced. On paper, both Gabbar and Babban are
ruthless and mouth one-liners. But that’s where their similarity ends. Spiderman, Superman and Batman do the same job but in their own way. Likewise, Babban and Gabbar are different. Babban doesn’t look or talk like Gabbar.
The onus is on me: We first wanted Babban to look like any other normal guy on the street. As the character evolved, he turned out to be exotic. The idea of this film and all its characters are mine. So I should get the flak too.
Veeru and Ghungroo: If the romance between Ajay Devgan and Nisha Kothari seems in-you-face, it’s because you are comparing them with Dharmendra and Hema Malini. I’ve just stayed true to what a formula film stands for –
; a teasing song, a romance number and an item song
Reverse treatment: Jaya Bhadhuri’s character was intended to draw sympathy. The character of Sushmita Sen, as Durga, gets a reverse treatment. There’s a certain bitterness and resignation to life after her family gets kille
d. But life has made her stronger. She would not have been different if she was a man. I don’t differentiate between men and women in emotions. In some scenes, Jai gets intimidated by Durga.
Godfather: After Aag, Sarkar Raj is a big project. This film is a natural progression from the original. It’s not Godfather 2.
SANGEETHA DEVI DUNDOO