Ram Gopal Varma Blog #128. My Reactions to Reactions

1.Do you know cooking?
Ans: Forget cooking. For me even eating is just a necessary evil to get rid of the irritant called hunger.

2. What is the worst gift that you have ever received?
Ans: An unlimited budget for Aag.

3. I learned more from you than from Socrates.
Ans: It is obvious that you haven’t read Socrates. Just hearing or reading and being impressed is not learning. The point of learning is to implement it in practice.

4. How far is it justifiable of you to say I don’t make films for the audience?
Ans: I said this before and am saying it again, so please pay attention and listen to what I meant. The audience is not a singular animal for any filmmaker to study, analyze and decide in his mind on what it wants. Each member of the audience are particular individuals with very different tastes and sensibilities which depend on their individual backgrounds, IQ levels and their moods, what their expectations/non-expectations were from the movie etc. So how is it possible that you can generalize them into one entity and name them the audience.

Even if you look at the comments on this blog you can see an incredible variation in the reactions for something I said or didn’t say. A film or anything you do, at the end of the day, is nothing but a personal statement you are making which could be liked, disliked, invoke hatred or maybe boredom etc. So the point is to be sure of how intensely you really want to live your life saying exactly what you want to say versus saying what you think others want to hear.

Even though you want to practice the latter it’s not possible as you can’t really do anything for the sole purpose of completely satisfying another individual other than you, let alone the so-called general audience. When filmmakers say they are making a film for the audience what they really mean is that they are trying to copy the successful elements of a previously successful film.

Since their pride comes in the way to accept/acknowledge that to others and even themselves they say that that’s what the audience wants.

Just try this as an experiment to satisfy 5 friends of yours completely on your vision of how you want to make a film or for that matter anything else you want to do in life, if you are not able to do that, to people you personally know. What makes you think you know an unknown audience out there? In reality any filmmaker just convinces himself that what he wants is what the audiences want or otherwise he can’t go ahead and make the film. The difference with me is that I realized it and say it whereas others didn’t and hence don’t.

5. I shall be grateful if you commented on my caricature.
Ans: Nice but I wish you drew me as a monkey.

6. I absolutely disagree with you that Howard Roark cannot be captured.
Ans: Ok Sir I am eagerly waiting for you to become a director and show us how to do it.

7. David Fincher says there’s only one way to shoot a scene. Do you believe in this?
Ans: No. There are as many ways to shoot a scene as there are as many directors and each of the scenes they shoot will be liked or disliked by various viewers for reasons probably completely unintended by each of those directors.

8. Kiss Me song should end before the audience enter the fear territory in Agyaat.
Ans: It does.

9. Do you like cricket?
Ans: The only thing I hate more than cricket is people who love cricket.

10. You are a guy who makes choices to choose from, instead of choosing from available choices. Am I right?
Ans: Yes and I am pretty impressed with the way you put it.

11. I wish you make all the movies you ever want to.
Ans: Whether you wish or not I will still do that.

12. Do you think cinema can capture the reader’s imagination from a book?
Ans: Not always. I will give an example of a passage from Larry Collins and Dominique Lappiere’s book “Freedom at midnight”.

“In the August of 1947 a mirage of prosperity concealed the reality of Calcutta. The lush green sweep of the maidan, the Georgian mansions and the offices of the great trading companies along Chowringee Road were a fa├žade as false as a cinema set. Behind them lay a human sewer packed with the densest concentration of human beings on the face of earth. They included 400,000 beggars and 40,000 lepers. The slums they inhabited were a fetid stinking horror. The rare water that flowed through the pumps was usually polluted with the corpses decomposing in the Hooghly river. At the time India was about to attain her freedom 3 million people in Calcutta lived in a state of chronic undernourishment and existed on an intake inferior to that of which was given to the inmates of Hitler’s death camps. Into this hell hole that Friday morning Gandhiji got off a train.”

No director can even dream of capturing this passage visually anywhere to the same effect. On the other hand sometimes what the camera can capture no writing can describe.

13. Why do you think there isn’t a successful novelist filmmaker?
Ans: That’s a good question. I never could figure this out. The examples which come to my mind are Michael Crichton and Stephen King.

14. You said it’s impossible to portray Howard Roark but a movie has been made on “Fountainhead”.
Ans: I saw it and it’s only then that I realized it can’t be done with the same effect as that of the novel. To give you an example Ayn Rand in her descriptive genius in the book could make us go into a fantasy land of how Roark’s structures might look like but if you actually see them as sketches on paper or as built structures we will all have as many opinions as Roark’s detractors.

Ayn Rand begins her book “Fountainhead” with a line, “Howard Roark stood at the edge of the cliff naked and laughed.”

This evokes a mood and sets a profound tone for the character of Howard Roark. But in reality if this visual is actually shown all us die hard fans of Howard Roark will just forget objectivism and will zero in on the size and shape of his you know what.

You have to understand that Howard Roark is just an embodiment of Ayn Rand’s ingenious creation of an ideal man who should only be felt and not seen. In her opening passage of the article titled “The Goal of My Writing” in the Romantic Manifesto she wrote, “The motive and purpose of my writing is the projection of an ideal man. The portrayal is of a moral ideal as my ultimate literal goal and as an end in itself”.

Apart from my belief that Howard Roark cannot be visually captured I also believe that there is no need to capture him on screen and that’s why I maintain that he is a mind thing.