Ram Gopal Varma

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July 28, 2003
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Ram Gopal Varma (born 1962), a civil engineer by education, ran a video library. Hollywood certainly rubbed off, and in inventive ways. The urban action film Shiva (1989) provided a sensational start to the young directorís career in the Telugu film industry, and he went on to try his hand at a number of genres, including comedy. Uneven success made him turn to Bombay, where he has come to be identified with visceral genres: gangster movies (Daud, 1977; Satya, 1998; Road, 2002; Company, 2002) and horror movies (Raat, 1991; Kaun, 1999; Bhoot, 2003). While the output is uneven, his risk-taking is impressive and so too the support to younger directors through his Varma Corporation. Varma knowingly picks up themes of ordinariness even when he chooses glamorous subjects: thus a male fanís adored female star is the victim of a repressive domestic situation in Mast (1999), and the young female extraís rise to stardom in Rangeela (1995) matter-of-factly highlights her working girl persona.
Author: House of World Cultures

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New Perspectives from India

(19 September 03 - 16 November 03)