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Ram Gopal Varma Biography

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Ram Gopal Varma
Ram Gopal Varma
(Ramu)
Hyderabad

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Ram Gopal Varma Biography

Ram Gopal Varma was born in Hyderabad, the capital city of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. As a young man, he was a dropout from Siddhartha Engineering College in Vijayawada before taking up a career initially as a video store owner before eventually becoming one of India's leading film directors. He was not a regular at classes, but was known more as a film fanatic during his college days and would watch both American and Indian cinema regularly. He and his uncle would often miss class and instead head straight to the local cinema halls. There was no support from his family when he decided to join the film industry, but Varma made his decision regardless.Ram Gopal Varma started his film career in Telugu Cinema (the Hyderabad film industry). Varma made a huge mark in the Telugu industry with his debut film Shiva, a violent stylized crime drama set in a college backdrop. At the age of 28, with little film background or training, Varma was able to convince Nagarjuna, a young Telugu star, to star in his debut picture. Nagarjuna liked the narration of the script and energy displayed by the young Varma, and produced the movie himself. Shiva became a landmark film for the Telugu industry and was remade by Varma in the Hindi language a year later. His next film Kshana Kshanam (starring Venkatesh and Sridevi), an adventure drama, was another huge blockbuster for Varma.Varma followed this up with films such as Raatri, Varma's homage to William Freidkin's Exorcist starring Revati and Om Puri (which Varma would remake over a decade later in Hindi as Bhoot) and Antham, a stylized crime drama, with Nagarjuna and Urmila Matondkar (which Varma would also remake later as Satya) but all failed to repeat the commercial success of his first two features.His next release Gaayam, with Jagapathi Babu and Urmila Matondkar, was a violent crime epic set in Hyderabad. The screenplay was co-written by tamil film director Mani Ratnam, and the script was based on Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather. It became another huge success for Varma. He went on to repeat the casting of Urmila Matondkar as the female lead in many of his films as the two shared a long and close relationship.Varma then decided to start his own production banner Varma Corporation Limited, and produced successful Telugu films such as Money, Money Money, Gulabi and Anaganaga Oka Roju.His first huge success in Hindi cinema (the Mumbai film industry) started with the commercial blockbuster Rangeela, a stylish romantic drama with Aamir Khan and Urmila Matondkar. A.R. Rahman, a tamil music composer, was introduced by Varma with this film and won the award for best film music.Varma followed up with the ground breaking gangster saga Satya, a violent crime epic set in the Mumbai underworld. The film was brutally realistic, reinventing the crime genre in Indian cinema. Varma had done extensive research for the film, which was a remake of his earlier film Antham. Satya was widely considered Varma's first true masterwork. Made with a shoestring budget and new faces, this film won awards for actor Manoj Bajpai and music composer Vishal Bharadwaj. Satya became a turning point in Varma's career, winning best picture of the year, and Varma would be forever associated with Mumbai noirs.Varma then, with good friend and fellow director Shekhar Kapur, created a joint film production company in 1998 called India Talkies. The first venture of the production house was the ambitious terrorist drama 'Dil Se', with Shahrukh Khan, Manisha Koirala and Preity Zinta. The film was a box office disaster, suffering huge losses. India Talkies would thus be short lived. Varma would return to focusing on his own production house Varma Corp.The hard hitting masterpiece 'Shool' followed shortly after, written and produced by Varma. The film depicted the life of an honest police officer in the harsh rural setting of Bihar. The film was a commercial and critical success with both Manoj Bajpai and Sayaji Shinde winning awards for their performances.Varma lightened things up next with the romantic drama 'Mast'. The film was inspired by Varma's own college days, and featured Aftab Shivdasani in an award-winning turn as a film crazy college student.Varma decided afterwards to only direct films in the Mumbai film industry. He realized that there is much more talent in Mumbai than in the southern film cities like Chennai and Hyderabad. Varma had always admired directors such as Shyam Benegal, Govind Nihlani, Basu Chaterjee and Gulzar. He considers Kalyug, Ardh Satya, Rajnigandha, Mere Apne and Angoor among his favorite Indian films of all time.At a time when popular Indian Cinema featured either over the top action films or glamorous love stories, Varma's films were more deep and realistic. Varma is known to frequently cut out song and dance sequences in his films, which are usually commonplace in Bollywood films. His films almost always deal with the contemporary and urban, mainly set in the city of Mumbai. He often uses Indian stage actors in his films rather than established bollywood stars. Mainly known for creating the 'Mumbai noir', Varma brought psychological depth and cinematic virtuosity to genre films.Varma returned again with the corporate crime masterpiece 'Company'. The film was again set in the Mumbai underworld, and was based on real life Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and his criminal outfit D-Company. The film featured award-winning performances by Ajay Devgan, Vivek Oberoi and Manisha Koirala. The film also won awards for the best editing by Chandan Arora and best story by Jaideep Sahni. The film was lauded by critics and audiences alike.His recent release Naach, which Varma called his best film yet, was a largely self reflective piece, about the relationship between an idealistic choreographer and an ambitious actor. The film did not do well commercially but was a critical success. In a recent interview with the Indian Express newspaper, the filmmaker criticized Indian audiences saying "I gave Ayn Rand to a Municipal School."He spends most of his time these days producing small budget films for his successful production house Varma Corp. Though not credited, he is often believed to be the 'ghost director' for many of his productions. He produces films at a fast speed that is unfamiliar to the Indian Film Industry. He has had many recent successes including - 'Ab Tak Chhappan', based on the experiences of infamous Mumbai police Daya Naik, 'D', a prequel to his earlier hit Company based on the early years of Dawood Ibrahim during his days under Pathan underworld boss Karim Lala, 'Ek Hasina Thi', a female revenge thriller, and finally 'Road', an adventure drama. He has also produced lighter films such as 'Love Ke Liye Kuchh Bhi Karega' and 'Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon'.


Ram Gopal Varma Trivia

Frequently casts Urmila Matondkar in his films - His first venture with Urmila was Drohi and since then he has directed 9 Hindi films out of which he has cast her in 7 of them (excluding the special appearence in 'Company')

Owned a video rental shop in the South Indian city Hyderabad before venturing into film-making.

The first film-maker from South India who carved his own place in Hindi films.

Majority of his films are either set in a jungle and/or involve the Bombay underworld.

His first ever movie Shiva which he made in Telugu, catapulted him into a potential and fine film-maker. Sadly, after he started doing hindi films, no one really knows that his first movie ever was Shiva.




 
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Movie Review: 'Satya 2' is full of RGV clichés   - ApunKaChoice   - 271 days ago
‘Satya 2’ is a tacky film with umpteen RGV clichés. The ApunKaChoice movie review of Satya 2. For a long time now, Ram Gopal Varma has been teete more...

Ram Gopal Varma Videos 

Trailer of Ram Gopal Varma’s 'Satya 2' (Satya 2)

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