Ram Gopal Varma is considered an institution in himself.
While the mercurial filmmaker might be going through a lean patch of late, if there was to be made a list of directors who have shaped Indian cinema, it’d be foolish to leave Ramu’s name out.
At his peak, Ramu churned out many small-budget gems from his production house, aptly named The Factory. All these films were directed by upcoming directors, had unique stories, and his trademark minimalistic style. But long before he became a producer, Ramu earned his street-cred by making gritty films in his early years. Most of his films are enjoyable even after all these years.
So if your boss is out of office, or you have no work today, or if you just feel like taking a dip in nostalgia, here are five awesome early RGV movies for you to enjoy!
Satya (Sridevi at her peak) is a pretty girl who unfortunately gets sandwiched in a criminal gang’s ploy to loot a bag with lots of cash in it. She runs into a petty thief (Venkatesh, before he became a family hero) and the two of them set out on a road movie to throw off the goons (headed by a vicious Paresh Rawal) and the police.
Kshana Kshanam was probably the first road movie in Telugu, and the film follows the two as they evade trouble, and find each other!
Written by Anurag Kashyap, Satya is the first in the famed ‘Indian Gangster Trilogy’. Satya is a simple man young man who has come to Mumbai to find work. As it often happens with gangster movies, he gets embroiled in the dirty world of guns and mafia, and has to scrape out with the help of his friend Bhiku Mhatre (Manoj Bajpayee in the role that set his career in motion).
Satya boasts of songs composed by Vishal Bharadwaj, and background score by Sandeep Chowta.
While RGV is generally known for making gritty, realistic films, Govinda Govinda begins in a completely different way. There is a scene in Vishnuloka where Vishnu is relaxing and is cursed by a rishi.
Just when you wonder if you’ve started watching the wrong movie, you realise that the writer of the film is Jandyala. RGV’s noir-new age style, coupled with Jandyala’s hilarious writing, creates this masterpiece starring Nagarjuna and Sridevi. That it was a heist film that dealt with the jewelry of the deity in Tirupati just added to the curiosity.
THIRUDA THIRUDA / DONGA DONGA : Stumped you there, didn’t we? ☺
While most people know that Thiruda Thiruda was one of Mani Ratnam’s earliest collaborations with AR Rahman, not many know that the film was written by our very own RGV.
As is his wont, the story is peppered with archetypical RGV elements. There’s a robbery at the Reserve Bank of India, and miscreants do away with 10 crores of money. Caught in this chase is a pop-star (Annu Agarwal), who finds unlikely accomplices in two thieves in Prashanth and Anand. Watch it for the twists and turns, and AR Rahman’s epic soundtrack that was light years ahead of its time.
Yet another film written by Anurag Kashyap and directed by Ram Gopal Varma, Kaun is a psychological thriller that was shot at the time when RGV was obsessed with Urmila Matondkar.
The film follows the story of a woman stalked by two suspiciously seedy strangers, each claiming to work for her protection and well-being. Using these three characters, and a taut screenplay, Kaun proceeds to create a thriller unlike any seen on Indian screens at the time. The climax, of course, will jolt you out of your seat! We aren’t revealing any spoilers here!
Those were five early RGV films that you can watch when you are bored. If we missed out on any early RGV movies that you think should have been on the list, let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll gladly add them to the list!