Divya Kapoorwrote on Aug 20 2008 6:14PM
Ram Gopal Varma was born on 7th April 1962, in Hyderabad. He was a dropout from V.R.Siddhartha Engineering College in Vijayawada before taking up a career initially as a video store owner before eventually becoming one of India's leading film directors. He was not a regular at classes, instead was a big film fanatic during his college days. He and his uncle would often miss class and instead head straight to the local cinema halls. There was no support from his family when he decided to join the film industry, but Varma was adamant. Varma started his film career in Telugu Cinema. He made a huge mark in the Telugu industry with his debut film Shiva (1989), starring Nagarjuna. His next film Kshana Kshanam (1991), starring Venkatesh and Sridevi, an adventure drama, was another huge blockbuster.
Ram Gopal Varma’s debut in Bollywood was marked with the horror flick Raat (1992), starring Revathy and Om Puri, failed to do well. The film was Ramu's ode to William Fried kin's The Exorcist. He then did a couple of more films in Telugu like the hit film Gaayam (1993) starring Revathi and Urmila, and Govindha Govindha (1993) starring Nagarjuna. He also did Antham (1992) with Nagarjuna and Urmila. The movie was dubbed into Hindi as Drohi (1992). He went on to repeat the casting of Urmila as the female lead in many of his films as the two shared a long and close relationship. Varma’s first success in Bollywood started with Rangeela (1995), a romantic drama starring Aamir Khan and Urmila. The film was widely appreciated, and so was A.R.Rehman’s music. Varma’s next film Daud: Fun On The Run (1997), starring Sanjay Dutt and Urmila, flopped badly, though its songs were quite popular. The following year, he released Satya (1998), starring J.D.Chakravarthi and Urmila, which gathered good collections and was also critically acclaimed. It also brought the best from an unpopular actor like Manoj Bajpai. Varma then became a hot property in the film industry. Kaun (1999), starring Urmila and Manoj Bajpai, was an innovative movie and again had superb performances by the lead cast. The movie was a hit in the metros. Mast (1999), starring debutant Aftab and Urmila, was inspired from Ramu's own fantasies about actress Sridevi, whom he admires. Aftab portrayed the guy who dreams of being involved with the film star Urmila Matondkar. The film failed to make an impact on the audience. The hard hitting masterpiece Shool (1999) followed shortly after, written and produced by Varma. The film was a commercial and critical success. Varma’s next film Jungle (2002), starring Fardeen Khan and Urmila, was said to be based on the life of notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan. It was a significant film in the careers of Fardeen Khan, Sunil Shetty and Sushant Singh. It also had good performances by Sunil Shetty, Sushant Singh and Kashmira Shah.Though not Varma’s best work, Jungle nevertheless is considered a good movie. Company (2002), starring Ajay Devgan and Mohanlal, proved that Varma is one of the best directors in the industry. The movie was critically acclaimed and won many awards in various categories. Varma has also produced lighter films such as Love Ke Liye Kuch Bhi Karega (2001) and Main Madhuri Dixit Banna Chahti Hoon! (2003). Road (2002), an adventure drama, Darna Mana Hai (2003) were his other productions during that period. The horror flick Bhoot (2003), directed by Varma and starring Ajay Devgan and Urmila, was average. Naach (2004), starring Abhishek Bachchan and Antara Mali, flopped, but was critically acclaimed. Sarkar (2005), starring Amitabh Bachchan and Abhishek Bachchan, was widely appreciated as well. Varma also produced Ek Hasina Thi (2004), a female revenge thriller, Ab Tak Chhappan (2004), D (2005), a prequel to his earlier hit Company based on the early years of Dawood Ibrahim, all of which were critically acclaimed. Gayab (2004) and Vaastu Shashtra (2004) flopped. 2006-2007 proved to be very unlucky for Varma. He made Shiva (2006) again, with Mohit Ahlawat and Nisha Kothari, which was a huge flop. Darna Zaroori Hai (2006) and Nishabd (2007) flopped as well, though the latter was critically acclaimed. Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag (2007), the remake of Sholay, was one of the most awaited films of the decade. The movie was a complete disaster. Darling (2007) failed as well. He produced Go (2007) which again flopped. Ram Gopal Varma's much hyped sequel Sarkar Raj (2008) as well as Contract (2008) did not quite do well. Leelai (2008) starring Madhavan and Shamita Shetty, and Zabardast (2008) starring Karan Nath and Nisha Kothari are his forthcoming films.