Everything you think you know about Bollywood—if you are unaware of Ram Gopal Varma—is wrong. In an industry best known for its song-and-dance extravaganzas Varma has become Bollywood’s biggest director with crime flicks and horror movies devoid of flashy production numbers…Yet while Varma’s one of Bollywood’s most successful name-brand directors, he’s not even from Bollywood, which, don’t forget, is just the largest of the country’s seven centers of film production. For 10 years Bollywood has depended on its Southern sisters for fresh talent and Varma has been its most lucrative import.
Varma claims that everything a film director needs to know can be learned in 24 hours, and he proved his point at age 28 with his first movie, Shiva (1989). A civil-engineering student turned video-store owner, Varma pitched his tale of a college kid who’s a street fighting prodigy to Telugu actor, Nagarjuna, who agreed to produce and star. At the time, action in Telugu movies mostly featured… read more