Exclusive: Ram Gopal Varma Speaks About His Film on Arnab Goswami

RGV talks about his upcoming horror film with Mithun Chakraborty and the film he intends to make on Arnab Goswami.

4 min read

Ram Gopal Varma's horror film 12 o'Clock is all set to release on 8 January.

12 o'Clock revolves around a young girl, Gauri, who starts getting traumatised with frightening nightmares and incidents of eerie sleepwalking. Mithun Chakraborty plays the role of a psychiatrist in the film.

The film also stars Makarand Deshpande, Divya Jagdale, Manav Kaul, Ali Azgar, Ashish Vidyarthi, Dalip Tahil, Flora Saini, and debutant Krishna Gautam.

The Quint caught up with Ram Gopal Varma to talk about his love for the horror genre. Varma also opened up about his announcement of a film he's making on Arnab Goswami.

You’re someone who redefined what horror was all about in India. You made films like ‘Raat’, ‘Kaun’, ‘Bhoot’. What is it about the genre that excites you?

Ram Gopal Varma: I think I always loved scaring people ever since I was a kid. And secondly, as a genre and as a filmmaker, horror requires maximum usage of film tools like music, sound effects, camera movements and performances. I think that’s what attracts me to come back to the genre again and again.

In the west we are seeing a lot of series being made out of horror now. We saw ‘The Haunting of Hill House’ and ‘The Haunting of Bly Manor’. Do you think that’s something that can excite Indian audiences as well? is that a space you’d like to explore?

Ram Gopal Varma: I have my reservation on something like that working in series because horror is more theatrical. Any time people watch a horror film, any time they get scared, they laugh together. It works like a roller-coaster ride. But I think one-to-one viewing of a horror film on web (won’t work) because you actually can’t see a horror film alone. So personally, for me a horror series doesn’t excite me that much.

A lot of horror films in India resort to a lot of jump scares and sound effects. How do you make sure you reinvent and not repeat something you have tried before?

Ram Gopal Varma: See, for me fear is to do with something that chills you from inside. Things that you mentioned like jump scares are a very momentary thing. A horror film should make you take the fear back home. In fact, one of the greatest compliments I have got in my life is when my mother saw ‘Bhoot’, she told me she went back home and she was alone at home for some reason and she didn’t know whether to keep the windows closed or not. She told me she was very confused and then she kept on telling herself this is my son’s imagination. Truly good horror film shakes up your belief systems.

Recently we saw that you tweeted a lot about certain things that the film industry was going through and you announced a film on news anchor Arnab Goswami. Some people criticised what you wrote. Why did this idea come to you?

Ram Gopal Varma: I mean, see for me Arnab is an example of what the future of the news media is going to be. We talk about freedom of press; I don’t think we expected someone like Arnab will come along. There’s a very thin line between reporting the news and influencing the minds of the people with probably what’s not true. So, my film is going to deal with this aspect - where the reportage starts influencing people. If news media is going for trial by media, they become the judge, they become the investigator… I think that defeats the purpose of any kind of a process.

Even with the Aarushi (Talwar) murder case in Noida, even then we saw a lot of media trial go on. Why do you think now is the time one should be talking about the reportage we see?

Ram Gopal Varma: Even till Aarushi there were questions being raised but I don’t think they were insinuating anything. For example, if you take the Sushant (Singh Rajput) case, I don’t hear about it anymore and it’s almost as if we have already forgotten that. But if you remember three, four months back everyone was made to believe that Rhea (Chakraborty) was responsible and now everyone’s silent, including the investigating agencies. But by that time, the characters and their reputation has been tarnished forever. A serious doubt has been sown by the media regarding so many people and I think that’s grossly unfair and unjustified.

You also wrote saying that the “industry has given us heroes but it’s also villains like Arnab Goswami who we should be standing up against.” Can you explain that statement?

Ram Gopal Varma: Generally, the film industry people are scared of media because they think that media has a direct connect to their so-called fan base and they think that if the media starts talking negatively about them, they might lose their popularity, they might lose their stardom and because of that they tend to remain silent. But from inside they are hurting a lot. So, I was just trying to provoke them that enough is enough. Everyone has a voice in a democratic country, not just the media.

Watch the video to find out more.

Video Editor: Veeru Krishan Mohan

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