Ram Gopal Varma Blog #60. Mohan Krishna.

The first time someone ever associated the word Director with me was a friend of mine called Mohan Krishna back in my engineering college days. Inspite of me being a major movie buff and constantly talking and analyzing movies I remember being quite taken aback that someone thought I can be a film director. I would go to the extent of saying that Mohan Krishna was the one who planted the seed in my head that I should become a Director.

I was not in touch with him for more than 20 years ever since we left college and recently he happened to mail me from Australia after getting my contact from somewhere. Just wanted to share his mail with you.

Ram Gopal,
Read your journey to becoming director and reminds me of the belief I had at college. When I read these, I can feel the same intensity observed back in college. When you mentioned that I was the first who consciously said of you becoming director, I definitely could feel the reality of it. I may not distinctly remember the conversation per se.

But I always thought that I knew more than any body else about future success in your path, probably I remember Kamineni as a skeptic like any body else at the time would have been. Getting back in touch after such a long time, I thought it may be good thing to write some of my impressions of our association at college as you are one person (in philosophical sense) other than the environment that influenced me and I always thought that I had similar influence which may not be true. My belief in your success probably is reflected in these impressions . These impressions are distant but clear for possible reason of being restated a few times over last 25 years in my mind and in some instances for narrating others.

I remember the karate exercises we did as group and you had mobilized and organized with definite confidence. That was the first time I saw any one taking a raw egg, seeing quite a few (dont remember faces) in the group taking raw eggs and soon I evolved myself taking raw egg with ease. And when I was struggling to do normal push-ups, you were able to do the knuckle push-ups. That was kind of a true demonstration of intensity in doing any task at hand. And then coming from a small town and looking at some one kicking and punching the punching bag, I initially remember that (your confident attitude) as confidence from a city boy. After a while, I realized it was something more than that and then continued to have admiration..

I remember the practical experiments that were done at understanding peoples feelings and emotions.  The mask that Kaiser or some one brought from overseas was used to note reactions of panic, fright or horror from several people. Another one was the distance of guilt and temptation of reward experiment, wherein we asked people if they press a switch, a dog in South Africa dies and so if the person, for a reward, is ready for it. Continued this by increasing the reward and at the same time closeness of the victim to check when morality sinks into human mind. Another one was that when you had strong judgment on who was the most handsome etc., (I don’t remember the name, and it was room mate of Lahoti in the hostel you thought). The only reason I remember this was, when you asked me, I said without even thinking I said that it was me the most handsome, then you came back to pick excluding myself.

As a social thing, I remember having my first beer at Benz centre with yourself and Papi Reddy. Also remember the time when yourself and KS Rao (Kamineni, I am not sure if he is still in touch, if so pls pass his contact) both used to celebrate the Bday on the same day. Some of the films we watched together like The Beautiful People, The Friday 13th and a number of others that you wanted to analyse after the viewing. Then in final years, I remember the intense philosophical discussions we had when we moved to a house, and that was when I had first exposure to philosophy by which time you were well into Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra. I had a book from you by the name The Political Thought (from Aristotle to now) and that book got me into philosophy in general. I also remember the long letters you used to write and discuss intensely on films, love, lust and human nature. That was the time, I distinctly remember myself thinking you should one day become a director to vent those ideas.

Another incident that clearly stays in my mind was the catching of snake. I am not sure if you remember. You, Samba (Gutta Samba Siva Rao) and Myself, one day ended up a catching a snake on the road (of course it was Samba who curled the snake on his forearm) and putting it in the show case for a couple of days and looking for its species in Britannica Encyclopedia. Initially we thought it was a water snake (a non poisonous one), but when alerted by a man on the street that it was crate, I still remember the fear and the instant sweat Samba had until he realized the creature’s neck was well and truly under his thumb. On research from the book, we found that some crates in India have bands only for half length and the rest long stripes or some thing similar and these are the most poisonous of the crates. In the end, we ended up leaving the snake in wild at nearby sugarcane farm carrying it in hessian bag.

I also remember the number of films that we watched together with KS Rao and others, your hatred towards cricket, by the way you are the one who made me not to use country vulgar language, not sure if you remember this. Enough memories for now and of course all this with a number of other interactions including fights and man manipulations etc.    After all these years, It is not surprising that I enjoy reading Spinoza’s Ethics, Schopenhauer’s World as Idea and World as Will and Nietzsche’s Genealogy of Morals.    Any way, I did try to get in touch only once some time in 1996 or 97 (that was when I was in New Zealand) or so by just calling your number and was told you were in Mumbai then, and then on never tried considering the busy nature of your work.

As for me, since leaving college, I moved to Bengal and lived there for 10 years and in 95 moved to Sydney then to NZ and now I call Brisbane home since 2000. For living, I design steel and concrete structures to serve a purpose, try to understand their behavior of these inanimate objects and keep wondering how they do not fall down. Good to read your blog, I can appreciate the process now better. Also, happened to go through “Biggest flop of my Life” being such a personal note, reminded me of the time spent together.  Drop a sms when you get this.

Mohan Krishna
St.Kenmore – 4069