Choose your channels

RGV on 'Lakshmi's NTR', AP elections & more

Friday, March 22, 2019 • Tamil Comments

RGV on Lakshmis NTR, AP elections & more

'Lakshmi's NTR' is slated to hit the screens on March 29.  In this interview, Ram Gopal Varma talks about the film, the controversies surrounding it, telling a story from his point of view, and more.  

Don't you think controversies over 'Lakshmi's NTR' are more intense than your films based on the Mumbai underground mafia?  What do you think this is happening?

It's because some people are scared that the truth will be out because of 'Lakshmi's NTR'.  They are worried that unknown secrets will be let out by my film.  That's why so many controversies.  They are trying their best to stall the release of the movie.  If truth is on their side, why are they trying their best to scuttle my film?

Have you made 'Lakshmi's NTR' from only Lakshmi Parvathi's point of view?

It's wrong to say that.  My film takes off from the day when she entered the life of NT Rama Rao.  It doesn't mean that my film presents her point of view.  

Since we don't know every detail regarding what transpired back then, would you give Chandrababu Naidu the benefit of the doubt?  What if he thinks there was no conspiracy against NTR?

If he is confident that he has the truth on his side, let him make his own movie then.  

Didn't it occur to you that you should cast Lakshmi Parvathi herself for her role?

This film is a period one telling the story of the incidents that happened some 25 years ago.  She is not of that age now.  

Nadendla Bhaskar Rao had staged a coup against NTR in the 1980s.  Many years later, it was Naidu.  Who do you think was a bigger backstabber?

Obviously, the conspiracy hatched by Naidu was worse.  Bhaskar Rao joined the TDP for politics and he was not related to NTR in any way.  However, a family member's deception is always the worse of all sorts of machinations.

Nowadays, biopics and political dramas come with a star cast.  For a change, you have cast newcomers/unfamiliar faces in 'Lakshmi's NTR'.  Why so?

When you are doing a film based on real-life characters, unfamiliar faces lend an air of credibility.  My films 'Killing Veerappan' and 'Vangaveeti', thus, had unfamiliar faces.

There is a perception that 'Lakshmi's NTR' has been backed by YSRCP politicians.  As for Lakshmi Parvathi, she has been openly critical of Naidu.  Can we say that your film is anti-TDP?

It's not true.  Whatever you may say, the other person will believe it only if he wants to believe it.  I didn't know that the producer belongs to the YSRCP.  Even had I known it, I wouldn't have had any objection to work for him.  As a filmmaker, I have made a film narrating the incidents that took place 25 years ago.  My film may be against a particular individual but how can you say that this is in favour of someone else?

There have been certain allegations against Lakshmi Parvathi.  Will this film whitewash them?

You have to watch the movie to know if those allegations will get wiped out or continue to stick.

Back then, it was believed that Lakshmi Parvathi wanted to become the Chief Minister.  Does the film touch upon that aspect?

I have made the film from my own perspective after going through all the perspectives.  I have not made a cinematic movie.  I have told the incidents the way I see them.  

It has been rumoured that you were offered Rs 50 Cr if you stall the project.  Is it true?

It's not true.  I am a filmmaker.  When I work hard on a film, I would want to release it somehow.  I have nothing against Naidu.  I have nothing to gain from Jagan.  As long as you are doing something legal, it's nothing wrong in a democratic country.  

It's said that you are addicted to controversies.  What is your take?

I am addicted to so many things.  I would be happy to be addicted to controversies.  Most of my movies have generated out-of-the-box controversies.  'Sarkar', 'Vangaveeti' and 'Raktha Charitra' to name a few.  

Is it true that the film's distributors were warned against releasing the movie?

All this is just YouTube gossip.  Who will make such calls and give warnings?  Why will anybody do that?  

How was it working with the newcomer P Vijay Kumar, who has played NTR in the movie?

We have all seen NTR in films and while delivering political speeches.  In this film, you are going to see him in his living room.  You will see how he behaved at home.  It needs a tremendous emotional depth for any actor to capture that.  Vijay Kumar has done that job very well.

Sriteja, who played YSR in the 'NTR: Kathanayakudu' and 'NTR: Mahanayakudu', will be seen as Naidu in your movie.  How do you see this coincidence?

When I roped him in for this role, I didn't know that he was doing YSR's role in those films.  

Nowadays, you are giving directorial responsibilities to your assistants.  Why so?

Filmmaking is always a teamwork.  In the case of 'Lakshmi's NTR', I loved the way my assistant Agasthya Manju dealt with things.  That's why his name is there as one of the directors.

What do you think went wrong with Balakrishna's NTR movies?

They came with no emotional connect.  The scenes were just strung together without an emotional conflict.  Suppose, you are making a movie on Mahatma Gandhi.  If you take out the Britishers out of his life, where is the scope for emotional drama?  

Do you think 'Lakshmi's NTR' will affect the poll outcome this time?

We all have our favourite politicians.  If we come to know that a leader did this or that (negative things) in the past, it may have an effect on our subconscious mind somewhere.  But I can't say to what extent the new information will influence voting decisions.

What I have shown in the film is not just the Viceroy Hotel saga but also the incidents/situations that led to that saga.  I have made the film by respecting the censor rules.  We have not changed the names of places even.  After 'Padmaavat' and 'Udta Punjab', the Supreme Court gave much freedom to the filmmakers.  Even in 'Mahanayakudu', they used Nadendla Bhaskara Rao's name as it is.

All said and done, who is going to win in Andhra Pradesh?

I am not an astrologer.  It makes no difference no matter who comes to power.  Change is a long haul that comes with change in processes, not after an election.  But I want to choose between Pawan Kalyan and KA Paul as CM.  If the former wins, a film star's pics will be all over on front pages.  If the latter wins, there will be no dearth of comedy.  I have not seen anyone who lies more than KA Paul all my life.  

What about KCR's biopic?

I am doing research on his life.  There are no controversies in it.  A web series will be out this September.    

Get Breaking News Alerts From IndiaGlitz