He is one filmmaker who makes more headlines for his tweets than his films. From calling Tiger Shroff a transgender, Amitabh Bachchan a ch***a on Twitter, comparing himself to a snake to using Bal Thackeray as a reference point for Sarkar, Ram Gopal Varma opens up to Koimoi in a candid interview ahead of the release of Sarkar 3!
How confident are you about Sarkar 3 after 9 years?
As a filmmaker, my job is to make it. I can’t say how people are going to perceive it or take it. If I knew how the film is going to do, I wouldn’t be making flop films. As a maker it excites me that the scale of Sarkar 3 is bigger. The film has been made keeping in mind that some people may not have seen Sarkar and Sarkar Raj; even if they have seen, they probably don’t remember substantial details. So, I would like to believe that Sarkar 3 works as a standalone, even without the knowledge of the earlier two films.
The trailer of Sarkar 3 reminds us of the first Sarkar. Is there any similarity?
The first time I spoke to Amit ji for Sarkar 3, I told him that the mistake I did in Sarkar Raj is to put Shankar’s character in the forefront, I have kind of reduced the impact of Amitabh Bachchan’s character and then I killed Shankar in the pre-climax. So I defeated both the purposes in a way. Sarkar for me is not so much about the story; it’s about the power of the character, the lines and the adrenaline it creates in certain scenes. I wanted a lot of that in Sarkar 3. So, I used a lot of dialogues from Sarkar deliberately in different situations to create the same effect. I think of Sarkar as a realistic Superman or James Bond. He is a hero. You always want to hear a hero speaking similar lines. So the design of his character is definitely close to Sarkar and not Sarkar Raj.
Is the Nagre family inspired by the Thackeray family?
Godfather for me was never a film about mafia. I never heard the word mafia before. It’s about a man in power who doesn’t have authorization but he wields something to deliver his own justice. I thought the nearest example of that was Bal Thackeray. The film is not about the life of Bal Thackeray, Shiv Sena or his family, so there is no connection at all, but for me he was just the reference point. But yes 100%, if Bal Thackeray didn’t exist, Sarkar wouldn’t have been made.
Which among your films has been the most fulfilling experience for you?
Many times I didn’t like a film which people liked because I realized at the end of it that I couldn’t do justice to what I know. I look back and think I could have done this scene or sequence in this way rather than doing it in a way I did in the film. For example Company. I hate Company now. My knowledge about the underworld increased vastly much after Company released. So it looks very fake to me now.
Why do you think Killing Veerappan didn’t work?
It is pointless to analyze a film after its result both in terms of failure and success. There are films which we don’t like and they do very well and there are films we like and they don’t do well. It is different for different people. I never go into why a specific film did work or did not work. For example Company worked but for me it was a bigger flop than Veerappan. So, I think I am the wrong person to answer this question.
You have often made headlines for your tweets. Do you think your tweets will impact the performance of your films?
I don’t think there is any connection between a tweet and a film. People might like the trailer or a particular actor or someone might tell them that this is a good film— these are the various reasons why they will or will not watch a film. They won’t be bothered about who has tweeted what. I think the tweets are more interesting to the media most of the times. I doubt whether the general public even care about it.
Don’t you think it might tarnish your goodwill?
I’ve been tweeting since 7 years. I believe my films’ working or not working has nothing to do with my tweets. Twitter for me is nothing but a medium of expression where I can express what I feel.
Did your tweets affect your equation with Jackie Shroff and his family?
No it didn’t. Even if it happens for a time, we get back again as they know I do this all the time. Last to last year I put a series of tweets on Lord Ganpati and they put some 14 cases on me across India. If that didn’t bother me, why should I be bothered now? That is a part of me. If I am like a snake, a snake is going to bite. You can’t ask a snake why are you biting! They (Shroffs) know that I do this all the time. You know what I called Amitabh Bachchan 3 years back on Twitter? I actually used the word ch***a. If after that Amitabh Bachchan is working with me, what will you say? People understand me. They know that it’s a part of my personality.
Do you dislike Tiger Shroff? You recently called him transgender…
What I spoke and what came out, both are different. In my first tweet, I tagged Tiger and asked him not to pose like a woman being a martial artist and a fantastic fighter. But this conversation was just an extension of that with somebody else. Anyway, since I have apologised for that I don’t want to get into it again.
You have recently questioned the credibility of awards…
I said that in the context that I believe just because someone is in the present time, his influence will not be noticed, that’s wrong. That’s my opinion. I have never seen a Dadasaheb Phalke film and I have never met anybody who has seen a Dadasaheb Phalke film.
You have recently said, ‘Except Sarkar, I regret doing all films with Amitabh Bachchan. Many directors including me have taken him for granted.’ Why do you feel so?
When I created the character of Sarkar, it was an embodiment of what influenced me or what impacted me over the years of watching Bachchan Zanjeer onwards. When I make a Rann or a Nishabd or something else, I take him just as an actor. Any character I have done with him apart from Sarkar, if it was not as powerful or as impactful, that itself proves that I did injustice to him.
Sarkar 3 is clashing with another film Meri Pyaari Bindu at the box office
I don’t get into this release and distribution thing. That is not my expertise. I am a filmmaker. I leave that to the experts.
You have recently tweeted calling Baahubali 2 a dinosaur and other filmmakers as dogs, tigers and lions. Your film is also not releasing with Baahubali 2. What do you have to say about that?
Everybody is included, why would I leave out myself? A lot of people don’t realize one thing, that I make the most fun of myself. They only take it seriously when I make fun of someone else. Everybody questions me about my tweets. The only person who has never uttered a word about it is Mr Bachchan. They tag him the most but he has never asked me anything about my tweets. People say Ram Gopal Varma pagal ho gaye hai, sathiya gaya hai but he will never say a word. The whole tagging business in Twitter is about bitching; Twitter is definitely not for wishing good morning every day.