Fascinated by the dreaded don

Fascinated by the dreaded don

True story

Fascinated by the dreaded don

Director Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) sees the same things that we all see around us but the difference is that he looks at the ordinary things from an extraordinary perspective. The ace director has picked up the most mundane of things, to come up with high voltage films like ‘Satya’, ‘Company’, ‘Sarkar’, ‘Rakta Charitra’ and his latest ‘Killing Veerappan’ in Kannada. RGV has now returned to the Kannada film industry to direct another biopic on Bengaluru's now reformed underworld don — Muthappa Rai. In an interview with Nina C George, Ram Gopal Varma talks about his latest venture and what keeps him going.

What inspired you to make a film on Muthappa Rai?

Right from my first film, I have always had a fascination for larger-than-life rebellious figures which prompted me to make films like ‘Satya’, ‘Company’ and ‘Sarkar’. But of whatever I have read, heard, seen or made so far as films, paled in comparison when I heard the details of the ‘Rai’ story.

What is it that impressed you most about him?
I am most impressed with the fact that I’ve never met a man who can live up to his legendary background.  Muthappa Rai as a man, I think, is bigger than what his legend is.

How did you manage to gather vital information about him? Was it easy to source it?
I got my research material from various sources and Mutthappa Rai is just one of them. A bulk of my research is what I got from his ex-colleagues, officers involved in investigating his cases, his lawyers, friends and also from his enemies.

How do you think  Muthappa Rai’s opponents would react to a movie like this?
Frankly, I don't care about who will think what about the way I portray him. All I know is that I have got an opportunity to project the most dynamic character, I have ever come across. I would like to do justice to it.  

Initially you had decided on Sudeep for the main lead. Why didn’t he do the movie?
There were some technical issues which I don't want to get into but there's no bad blood between Sudeep and me.

What did you see in Vivek Oberoi (who has replaced Sudeep) to play the character?
I think Vivek as an actor shines the best in intense and hard-hitting roles like ‘Company’, ‘Shootout at Lokhandwala’ and  ‘Rakta Charitra’. I think Muthappa Rai’s character will suit him well.    

What message do you intend to send out through the movie?
I only send messages through WhatsApp and not through films. I want to make ‘Rai’an unforgettable movie experience. It will have an extraordinary range of human emotions captured in the most dramatic way ever because I have never heard of more drama than what actually happened in the life of Muthappa Rai.

How have you dealt with the concept of violence and compassion in this movie?
Violence and compassion might seem opposite but they actually go hand-in-hand and that's because extreme violence only comes from an intensely felt emotion which will always need the support of compassion.

What next?
I am working on ‘Sarkar 3’.