Friday, November 5, 2010

The De-Evolution of Ram Gopal Varma

 
Few months back I had written a post on Ram Gopal Varma called “The Truth about the Man”. It was intended to be a two part series but somehow I never wrote the second part. Part 2 was originally intended to focus on Ramu’s technical accomplishments and the illustrious list of proteges that he has given to the film industry. However, in the few months since I wrote the first part I noticed something strange. By looking at Ramu’s statements and the movies that he has been attempting to make we can safely arrive at one conclusion. 

Ram Gopal Varma is acting against the laws of nature and seems to be in a state of constant De-Evolution.

In order to understand why I made the above statement, we need to first look at the evolution of Ram Gopal Varma. Only then will we be able to see the process of his De-Evolution.

Evolution to immortality

If one were to write in detail about what Ramu has accomplished as a filmmaker it would be a colossal task. This time I will try and stick to one paragraph where I could actually write a book about him. If I were to write a book about him then I would passionately write about his first movie and how it inspired an entire generation of filmmakers’ right from his assistants to the tea boy on his sets. I would write about the way he introduced new techniques of filmmaking, his innovative use of the steady cam, effective use of sound design, and the way he gave greater prominence to technicians over stars. The way he reintroduced the item song to Hindi cinema and at the same time showed how one could make movies without songs. I would write about how he made horror fashionable and how he managed to kill the Salwar Kameez effectively from the wardrobe of Hindi film heroines. I would also write about how he made wannabes into overnight stars and at the same time gave second life to many fading stars. There is a lot more to write about but the purpose of this blog post is not to talk about Ramu’s accomplishments. Rather it is an attempt to understand how the mind of a man who has achieved so much work. Just as in the case of the sage who renounces all his worldly pleasures in pursuit of enlightenment, Ramu seems to be on a mission to accomplish something that is anti evolutionary, he seems to be seeking to become that sage who is interested only in the naked truth about life and nothing else. Let me explain further...

De-evolution

The thought about de-evolution came to me very suddenly while I was going through the publicity of Ramu’s latest movie Rakta Charitra. The movie uses a famous tag line sourced from the Mahabharatha.

Revenge is the purest form of emotion.

This line set me thinking on the purest forms of emotions. I was imagining what man would have been like without the conditioning of society. What emotions would a man feel when he has no idea or no regard for the ways of society. A sentiment which seems to embody Ramu and his current statements and body of work. How else would one explain his reason for making a gory blood fest like Rakta Charitra? How would one explain his bold statement asking women and kids to stay away from his film? No sane filmmaker would say that openly, yet he did. Few of my friends say he needs a doctor and few say he has a dirty mind, all I have to say is he is de-evolving.

Ramu has always challenged the ordinary and tried new things. It might seem to us as if Ramu is evolving as a film maker but he is infact de-evolving as a human being and focussing increasingly only on the purest forms of emotions, which according to me are RAGE and LUST.

Yes, Rage and Lust are the only two emotions one would feel if there was no society; love is too sophisticated a word and is best left to the likes of Karan Johar to talk about. Infact even revenge is a complex thought and a raw mind would only have rage and would never understand revenge. To a great extent we can add fear as another primitive emotion with very basic societal conditioning. So that brings us to only three of the purest forms of emotions.

Fear, Rage and Lust are the only three forms of pure emotion. Everything else is a product of social conditioning.

It is quite evident from the process of Ramu’s evolution as a filmmaker that he is shunning society and its methods and focussing primarily on the above basic emotions. Want proof? Consider the following.

Fear

The first movie that Ramu wanted to make was Raat, but had to wait till he made movies that were commercially more viable and made Raat the moment he knew he had commercial clout of his own. This is where his roots lie and his desire to make that perfect horror movie is still intact, fear being the driving factor, Raat, Deyyam (Telugu), Kaun, Bhoot, Darna Mana Hai, Darna Zaroori Hai, Agyaat, Phoonk, Phoonk 2,etc are all examples of his madness. Probably no other mainstream filmmaker in this world has attempted to make so many horror movies, and to think of it, Ramu made all these movies being an Indian filmmaker where horror isn’t even accepted as a mainstream genre.

Rage

Violence is an outcome of rage, and violence has been a trademark of most of Ramu’s films. Be it his first movie Shiva which redefined the role of an action hero to all the subsequent underworld and gangster movies of his, if there is one master of violence then it is Ramu. Show me one more filmmaker who has more consistently produced more violent films and I will take my words back. Ramu owns this genre and is now set to outdo himself, this time with far more bloodshed and rage than ever with his latest Rakta Charitra and its sequel.

Lust

Lust is a very basic human emotion between the sexes which through societal conditioning has transformed into the more acceptable term called love. Love can have many more layers of emotion embedded within it based on whom we direct it at unlike lust which is direct and unambiguous. Ramu is no stranger to this too, he has tried to cater to this basic instinct of his through the means of item songs and countless other sensuous numbers on his heroines but my guess is we still haven’t seen his best yet. The subject of his Nishabd was just the tip of the iceberg; I won’t be surprised if Ramu announces in the near future the first mainstream Porn film from India. Don’t be surprised and shocked, remember, it is inevitable.

Comedy

I am tempted to add one more to the list of pure emotions, comedy or laughter. To some extent it still is a basic emotion and the purest of sounds one would hear from a child is that of laughter. Ramu is no stranger here too. Infact he has made very few comic films in Hindi, but anyone familiar with his films down south would know the amazing comic films that he has produced right from the iconic film Money and its sequel to his next direct Telugu film under production KSD Appalraju. This is one genre where he is still waiting to have the last laugh.

Celluloid Nirvana

Only by continually attempting to better himself in the above genres will Ramu be able to attain the state that he is heading towards, a state of total disobedience and abandonment of the norms of society. He wants to discover his primitive instincts because he is bored of catering to the structured ways of the society, also explains his fetish to tinker with well known classics like Sholay as well as a remake of his own Shiva. The only other thing that would probably excite him or be reason enough to make a movie is the use of new technology like 3D or something equally out of the box. Otherwise Ramu is a living example of a bored mind which is seeking to attain nirvana through a medium that is immortal.

Film making has never been the same since Ramu arrived on the scene and my guess is it won’t be the same, the de-evolution of Ram Gopal Varma is still underway and we are yet to see what more surprises he has in store for us. Till then we can all take evolved guesses as to what his next move will be while he continuously de-evolves into a sage like state leaving us in shock and awe.

Till then,
Cheers!!!
Kartik Dayanand Boddapati

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