Ram Gopal Varma speaks to Subhash K Jha about his upcoming film Rann and working with Big B.
You’ve cast Amitabh Bachchan in a larger-than-life role in Rann?
It goes without saying that if I had to personify the conscience of the media it had to be Mr. Bachchan. I called his character Vijay after all the popular man-of-the-masses he played in the 1970s and 80s.
How do you think this film will effect Mr. Bachchan’s equation with the media?
I think he’d be very much liked by the media. There are bad media- persons and good media- persons in my movie, just as there’re good and bad cops. Eventually the media as an institution is noble. We must not confuse some bad elements in the media for the whole institution.
Eventually the media as an institution is noble. We must not confuse some bad elements in the media for the whole institution.
It was rumoured that Mr. Bachchan didn’t want to work with you after Sarkar?
What do you want me to say to that? We’ve fallen out and we can’t stand each other? We’ve been constantly working together. We keep on toying with various ideas. His versatility is infectious. When I saw him in Paa, I was completely blown. He has shown a dimension none of us filmmakers thought existed. Hats off to Balki for pushing him so far. As for my fall-out with Mr. Bachchan, in this industry people don’t want to see anyone co-existing peacefully with anyone else. Fair enough. That’s human nature. All we do morning till night is bitch about one another.
What about the female characters?
I’d call Rann a men’s film. The girls don’t have much to do with the plot per se. Gul Panag plays Riteish Deshmukh‘s love interest. She plays someone who does her work and forgets about the corruption that lies underneath as opposed to Riteish who’s troubled by the world around him. Neetu Chandra is obsessively in love with Sudeep.
I’d call Rann a men’s film. The girls don’t have much to do with the plot per se
There were reports linking you with Neetu Chandra?
Thank you very much. That’s all I need. I’m tired of these link-ups.
Like Rann Aamir Khan‘s Peepli Live is also about how sensational news is manufactured to increase TRPs.
I’ve never heard of this film. Any number of films can be made on the role and function of the media. If there’re ten thousand love stories why can’t there be two films on the media?
Rann is a multi-starrer!!
Not intentionally. As a director you need to be clear in your head about your requirements. Then there’s the comfort level with the actor. If a star has an image, like Mr. Bachchan, you can use that image to your advantage. For example, Riteish Deshmukh…I’ve known him personally and always found him to be a serious person. Strangely he has constantly been cast in comic roles. I’ve cast him in Rann the way I know him. He’s one of the most serious and intense persons I’ve met. I thought it’d be nice to cast him the way I know him. And I also thought it’d be interesting to see Paresh Rawal in a menacing villain’s role.
How have you resolved the issue of the Jana gana mana song?
To start with it wasn’t a lip-sync song. So it was easy to replace. Instead of going through courts and litigation we replaced it with ‘Vande Mataram‘. We’ve composed a new song with the words ‘Vande Mataram‘.
Suppose sections of the media take offence to Rann and give bad reviews?
I’ve no problems with that. My job is to make films. Their job is to trash them.
Rann is being released with Ishqiya. Which film would you see first?
I normally see a film only a month after it releases.