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Born on April 7, 1962, Ram Gopal Varma, fondly called as Ramu, hails from Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. Varma is a civil engineering graduate, but he has been a movie buff, ever since he remembers! (All photo courtesy/mid-day archives, AFP and Instagram account of Ram Gopal Varma)
In picture: RGV posted this picture with his mother and captioned: That's my mother desperately trying to cover the barbaric and monstrous side of me.
While studying at Siddhartha Engineering College, Vijayawada, Ramu used to bunk classes and head off to the theatres to watch films. He used to watch at least eight to ten films per week. The filmmaker had cultivated the habit of watching a film multiple times, to specifically watch certain scenes which interested him. And, that is how Varma learned direction.
In picture: A young Ram Gopal Varma with his mother. "This beautiful woman is my mother and the joker looking nerdish guy standing next to her is me," described the filmmaker.
Did you know, before entering the movie industry, Ram Gopal Varma ran a video rental store in Hyderabad? Well, after completing his graduation, Ramu tried his luck to enter the film world. But soon, he gave up the idea and thought of going to Nigeria and earn some money.
In picture: RGV shared this quirky picture of his from his teen days and captioned, "I am also recalling my old techniques of Bruce Lee from my college days to protect my ass from being kicked by my daughter. [sic]"
But, there came a turning point in Varma's life, when a friend took him to a video library in Hyderabad. Soon after, he started a video library of himself to make money. The library business led to Ramu meeting a director coincidently and his filmmaking journey kickstarted.
In picture: In February 2019, he posted this picture and captioned: "30yrs back same day.. Launching Of Shiva [sic]"
Ram Gopal Varma made his directorial debut with Siva, 1989, an action, crime, drama, that attained cult status and is considered Akkineni Nagarjuna's breakthrough film. He went to direct films such as Rangeela, Satya, Company, Bhoot, Sarkar, Nishabd, Darling, Phoonk, Rann, among others.
In picture: Shekhar Kapur, Ram Gopal Varma and Mani Ratnam's picture from their younger days.
While his body of works is known to all, we dig into his personal life here! Ramu is primarily a psychologist; he likes to study extreme people. He likes to learn why they did what they did.
In picture: "I can't believe I used to look like a roadside Romeo...This is a pic from my Shiva days," Ram Gopal Varma captioned this picture of his.
In school, Ram Gopal Varma was fascinated with bullies who pinched and pulled hair. "I graduated to studying gangsters. Studying people who are violent doesn't make you violent. A zoologist can study snakes, but that doesn't make him a snake," RGV said in an interview.
In picture: "Me and my daughter in the good old days before I lost it," RGV captioned this image. For the unversed, RGV's only daughter, Revathi Varma, became a mother to a baby girl in February 2020 and Ramu has become 'Nanu'. Revathi got married to Pranav, a doctor, in 2013 in Hyderabad, in a low-key ceremony.
Actor Manoj Bajpayee, who worked with Ram Gopal Varma in Satya, Kaun, Road, Shool, Dau, had told mid-day in an interview, saying, "Ramu is like this stubborn child who when hit once, will do the same thing again and again just to annoy you! But he knows what he's doing."
In picture: A working still from RGV's award-winning film Satya (1998). "Good old times, when we both were in our bad young times. #Satya #ManojBajpayee" - Varma captioned this picture.
Ram Gopal Varma is known for bold comments on Twitter. He expresses himself candidly on the social networking website and more often falls into trouble. But, Ramu feels negativity has more creativity. "Whenever you tweet, it is the way of expression. Whatever I want to say, I say through a tweet. Whatever I want to say I don't mind sharing with whoever wants to listen," said Varma in an interview with mid-day.
In picture: Another working still from the sets of Satya. "Me with Kallu Mama and Inspector Khandilkar during the climax shoot of SATYA" - Varma captioned this picture.
"On Twitter, they follow you and if they don't want to listen to you, they will unfollow you. So, it is their choice, not my choice. I don't have a problem with anybody reading my tweet. I have nothing to hide...sometimes I could be offensive. Generally, human beings are negative. There is nothing more creative than being bitchy," he added.
In picture: RGV with his niece Shravya Varma. "My amazingly talented costume designer niece @shravyavarma promised to apply her costume designing talent on dear old ME!," he captioned this picture.
Though he is always in the middle of controversies, instead of killing them, Ram Gopal Varma says he is at peace when people call him an "attention seeker". "People ask me - 'Are you an attention seeker?' Yes, I am an attention seeker. Why should I speak when I don't want attention. Whatever I say or do, I would want a response from the audience. Just like if someone would slap me or smile at me, he would expect a response - I also do things for a response," Varma said.
On being asked if he has ever been told to not rant on Twitter and why he doesn't listen to anyone, Ram Gopal Varma joked and said, "I don't listen to anyone. Ever since my mom dropped me on my head when I was 2 years old. It's my mom's fault, not mine."
Ram Gopal Varma has been part of the film industry since 1989. It's been more than three decades but Ramu claimes that he doesn't have any friends in the industry, neither in personal life too. "Nobody is close to me. In fact, I don't have any friends at all. I don't have friends in personal life also. I don't see a need for friends. I am my own friend," he said.
Talking about his on-off friendship with Anurag Kashyap, who had begun his journey in the film industry as a writer on Varma's films such as Shool, Kaun, and Satya, the duo fell out and exchanged some taunts at each other. Varma had once said that there was no cold war between them, but it was always a "hot war"!
But things changed in 2017. Ramu and Kashyap met with a bunch of friends for dinner and drinks. Spirits were high and they ended their feud by planting kisses on each other. "A kiss is not a sexual expression but the purest form of love, which can happen between a mother and child or the thickest of friends or bitterest of enemies. But my kiss to Anurag is for his sexy mind," RGV captioned this picture, further adding, "No matter what all horrible people think about us I doubt they will suspect our sexual orientation. But we truly love each other."
Ram Gopal Varma is a huge fan of Sridevi. "My journey to the real Sridevi from being just an obsessively die-hard fan of hers started when I was preparing for my debut film Shiva. I used to walk from Nagarjuna's office in Chennai to a neighboring street where Sridevi used to live and I used to just stand and watch Sridevi's house from outside her gate. I just couldn't believe that the goddess of beauty lived in that stupid looking house. I say stupid because I believed that no manmade house deserves to house that beauty called SRIDEVI" he said in an interview.
In picture: Ram Gopal Varma, Sridevi with Lord Balaji.
In his autobiography titled Guns and Thighs, Varma described Sridevi as the "Goddess of beauty" and why he cannot forgive her husband Boney Kapoor. "It was a love letter... I was going overboard but that was my feeling. To see Sridevi making tea in Boney Kapoor's kitchen was a huge letdown. I won't forgive him because he brought the angel down from heaven to the kitchen of his apartment," he wrote in his book.