Maverick director Ram Gopal Varma gives a break to horror and underworld tales and takes a potshot at media and its sensationalism in his latest flick ‘Rann’. The film has already run into controversy for numerous reasons, one of them being the apparent mockery of the National Anthem in the theme song, which was later shelved after the outrage it created.
Having started his career with the Telugu film ‘Shiva’; RGV cemented his position in Bollywood with the film ‘Rangeela’. Thereafter he made several films based on underworld and horror theme, which made him a household name.
Though his journey has been checkered with hits and flops, but RGV’s passion for films never paled and he constantly made the cinema of his choice. In a conversation he expounds on what made him make a film on media.
What was the basic idea behind making Rann?
(Laughs) I wanted to expose the media. But that necessarily doesn’t mean in a bad light but everything that’s unknown to people about media. And I think television today rules as it’s like a member of your family. It tells you and guides you on what to do and what not to. Therefore I wanted to show the viewers on what happens behind the scenes in the media arena.
So, are you portraying the drawbacks of media in this film?
I think that would be incorrect to say. It’s not about showing filthy stuff of media but it’s about media as a system and how it manages to hook the audience in matter of just minutes. It’s about the people, technology and the psychology of the people associated with it.
But media has always been there, so how relevant is the argument that media has hooked the audience of today?
I think it’s very relevant of today’s time. I will give you an example, recently, one television channel down south aired the news that Mukesh Ambani is responsible for YSR Reddy’s death, which led to the destruction of all the properties of Mukesh Ambani in South.
The news was flashed in such a way that you tend to believe on such news which is wrong on part of media. Moreover, I think remote control is a biggest enemy as it allows the viewers full freedom to switch on to other News channel in no time which enforces media to grab the attention of viewers in 5 sec, which is not fair.
So what according to you are the pros and cons of the media?
The pros of media, I think, is that it’s entertaining, informative, exposing irregularities and changing the world view and cons would be the vice versa. Like for instance, it gives information but sometimes it gives false information as well… like the news of Mukesh Ambani being responsible for YSR Reddy’s death which was wrongly informed and mislead audience.
Do you feel that commercialization is forcing media to turn irresponsible?
I don’t mean anything because it’s there in front of everyone. Moreover, when you run any channel there are lot of things to be managed right from the infrastructure, salaries are to be paid and the responsibility of the people who work with you plus media supreme want their channel to be called number 1. So, to make that happen, media has to be by default turn that way because they have no option left and if they don’t do so their shop will be shut.
For instance during Kargil war, Vivek Oberoi and Salman Khan controversy happened which was prioritized on all the channels and Kargil war disappeared in the melee.
Are you trying to tell that people are responsible for this?
I’m not saying that, as I feel people hardly have any time from their personal lives to ponder much on these things so I don’t blame them. To quote a line from my film- ‘by virtue of its nature it has no choice but to become corrupt’ explains everything.
Since you have announced this movie, there have been constant talks that you are making this film just to take revenge from media; did you get any threats from media?
I have been getting a few threats from some media houses but that’s not going to stop my movie from being screened in theaters. Some newspapers have mentioned that Ram Gopal Varma ‘Media Ki Khili Udda Rahain hai’ and some were saying Ramu media ke upper Khunas Nikaal Rahian Hai. Some are openly threatening.
Have you drawn any references from real life and have included the same in the film?
When you are making a film on real life it is bound to have real life references, but that doesn’t mean we have taken that as it is. If you take the media reports of the past year you will find the same sort of stories only characters change, but the essence remains the same. For instance, Jessica Lal changes to Arushika and so on…So; yes I’ve included some incidents from the real life but which ones that I can’t reveal.
Your movie ‘Rann’ only explores the electronic media why this specification?
It’s because the dynamics of electronic media are different from the other media, as it can play with the emotions of people. Print on the other hand cannot do that even if it wants to.
What kind of research went for this film?
My research was primarily based on my television; I scan the news carefully and critically every time I watch television.
Which actor according to you has brought the character alive on screen?
Everyone has performed well in the film, but I think Sudeep has brought the character I have written for him alive on-screen.
So what next after ‘Rann’?
I’m working on a concept for something on underworld; you will get to know everything that needs to be known very soon.
-Anil A Kanojia/ Sampurn Media