Ram Gopal Varma Blog #184. Blood Learning

From the time I started researching the story of Paritala Ravi, to now editing the film, I am discovering so many things within me and also learning so many facets about my own perceptions of various things and this is happening mainly because of my ongoing continuous understanding of the characters of Rakta Charitra as I travel emotionally along with them in the course of filming it.

To truly understand a character actually means that you should have lived the life of that person in one way or the other and the fact that the particular person lived such an extreme life means that you also will get such extreme understanding. Satyendra once told me that if you truly seriously read a book, just in a few hours you can get all the knowledge of that author what it probably took that author a lifetime to gather and understand to put it in a certain perspective.

Rakta Charitra is not really about a realistic portrayal of the faction violence of Anantpur. It’s more about a realistic understanding of the extremely turbulent emotional mindsets of certain individuals trapped in certain situations.

When some people asked me how the Rakta Charitra story which happened in Andhra Pradesh could be identifiable to a Hindi audience as they would not be knowing of Ravi or Anantpur, my answer was that a film works on identification with emotions and never on an identification with a background. For example when I read or saw Godfather I had never heard of even the word Mafia or Italian families before that, but I simply connected to the character conflicts in the story.

So a Godfather story can happen anywhere whether it is New York or Mumbai or a village in Tamil Nadu. So likewise I am creating a world in Rakta Charitra based, inspired and interpreted from those true life characters and those true life incidents.

So for me to try and understand and interpret the characters of Ravi, Suri, Obul Reddy, Moddusreenu to name just a few of the plethora of characters from Rakta Charitra and then as an exercise to see the same story from the point of view of each of those characters so as to arrive at a reasonably close realization of what could be the truth and also to arrive at the actual reasons behind some of those unbelievably terrible decisions they took was the greatest and the most enriching process that I have gone through in the process of researching Rakta Charitra. But now that those thought processes turned into flesh and blood, and I can see the characters and hear them on film puts in a new meaning to my own understanding because they now from a perception have become a reality albeit only on film.

When people ask me how real Rakta Charitra is going to be, I said ‘It will be as real as what I think is real”. This I say because it’s impossible for anyone to be factually and absolutely correct in the context of such a story for the simple reason that I was not present there when those terrible incidents were planned and made to happen but the fact that I was privy to all the various versions of the participants, the eye witnesses and also the accounts of investigative officers by playing half a detective and half a journalist to get to the core of the truth, I would say that what I am filming is the truth or atleast truth as perceived by me.

But the irony is that the truth as I perceived it is seeming truthful even to the people who were directly involved in the actual happenings. That’s because each of those individuals were only privy to their own individual reading of the incidents and motivations whereas I tried to show them what actually happened mixed with even their opponents motivations.

When I showed some finished scenes of Rakta Charitra to a certain involved individual whose name I cannot take for obvious reasons, he had tears in his eyes as he understood the compulsions of his opposing individuals behind a certain act that happened a long time ago which he would not otherwise ever have bothered to think about at the time period it happened.

When Obul Reddy was hacked to death in Maheshwari Towers in Hyderabad by a group of men who came clad in burkhas I remember it sending shockwaves of fear throughout the city.

As an incident it is chilling to hear but the moment, in the course of my research, I got into the mindset of Obul Reddy and into the mindset of the man who planned it and also into the mindset of the man who actually physically hacked him, the incident now to me is from a completely different perspective because now I am watching a culmination of 3 individuals thought and emotional processes and because of that a truly unique understanding happened to me which resulted in me having lived and learned from and also about such unimaginably extreme people.

At the end of the day every one of us at any given point of any moment in our lives are the sum result of what we read, who we meet and what we experience because all three would amount to new inputs in us thereby adding to our overall understanding of life, so it follows that our learning, our intelligence and our analytical power depends completely upon what situations we will dare to put ourselves into and on, what kind of people we will take efforts to meet and interact with.

The story of Rakta Charitra the way it happened, the way I understood its various people as in how they themselves understood it and then the way I myself understood it and analyzed it surely made me learn a hell of a lot about the blood life and the blood people in general and about some very very extreme blood people in particular. And I call this my BLOOD LEARNING.