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I visit the graveyard; I like to scare people: Ram Gopal Verma

What made you cast Manisha Koirala, who hasn’t been doing films for a long time now? 
I worked with her in Company and I know she is a brilliant actor. She hasn’t been doing films for personal reasons but that doesn’t take away her talent. And that should also not affect the success of Bhoot Returns — she has done a great job in the film. 

What are the pros and cons of making a sequel like Bhoot Returns?
Bhoot Returns is not a sequel to Bhoot. The pros are that the audiences know what kind of a film they are going to watch, as they have seen the original. The cons will be the pressure of repeating the success of the first film. In Hollywood, Jaws had many parts. The parts were in no way related to each other
yet people went and watched them.

Why did you choose the 3D format for Bhoot Returns?
The 3D effect scares people, because everything on screen jumps right at you. One has to make certain changes in the screenplay to suit the 3D format. You have to imagine each and every scene to utilise 3D to the optimum. A story can fail but genuine innovative technique can never fail.

Many people chose to see Raaz 3 in a normal format. They were averse to 3D.
I don’t think many people belong to that category. In any case, if they do, they don’t exist for me.

Today, A-grade stars are attracted to this genre whereas, earlier, only B and C-grade actors agreed to be a part of horror films.
A-grade actors were always part of horror films. Films like Mahal (1949) and Madhumati (1958) starred A-league actors such as Madhubala and Vyajanthimala respectively. It is not a new phenomenon.

But these films were mystery thrillers and can’t be categorised as horror films.
What is a horror film? It’s a film that has elements, which thrill and scare you. Mahal and Madhumati had these two elements.


A still from Bhoot Returns 

While making films on other genres, you take inspiration from people you observe. What is your reference point while making a horror film?
I visit the graveyard (laughs). And I like to scare people.

You have made breezy musicals such as Rangeela, Daud and Mast and balanced the yin and yang as a creative filmmaker. Now you focus only on the dark side of life. Why?
I am a filmmaker and I don’t think about such things. My work is to tell a story. I wanted to make those films so I made them. Now I want to make these kind of films, so I am making them. I admit I have a liking for darker films. But I have always put the same passion in all my films be it a Rangeela or a Daud. I read and I pick up whatever suits my convenience.

Can we expect lighter films from you in the near future?
Yes.

In the recent past, your films haven’t been successful at the box office. What, according to you, has gone wrong?
Had I known what went wrong, I wouldn’t have repeated the mistakes in my next film. My job as a filmmaker is to make films. I don’t think about these things. No one can truly understand or guarantee what the audiences will watch.

Maybe it’s because you have been making back-to-back movies. Have you ever contemplated taking a sabbatical to get a fresher insight into subjects and tap the pulse of the audience?
I read a lot, and I don’t have a rigid thinking process. My mind is constantly thinking of fresh ideas.

Didn’t the failure of Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag deter your spirits? Will it haunt you for the rest of your life?
Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag is the angel of my life. The only way I look at the criticism heaped on the film is that people love to lash out at others.

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