Ram Gopal Varma’s answer to critics and how he made Department!
I LOVE YOU TOO
I am not surprised at the hatred of some towards “Department” for the reason that when you do anything completely different from a beaten path many tend to pounce upon you with claws and knives. When Oliver Stone made “Natural Born Killers” most reviewers said it’s a piece of visual crap, exhibitionistic, he lost his head etc., which then in the later years came to be recognized as a cult classic. When DW Griffith cut to a close up they said how can a man be shown cut in half and when the camera moved in a Georges Melies film they said how can a point of view suddenly move.
Anyways the norm of critics these days is to bury the baby even before its born and kill the mother for giving it birth. It’s incredible to see the sadistic glee they take in running the Director down on a personal level even more than they run down the Film.
They accuse me of chaotic self-indulgence. I don’t know what that is but a Film eventually is a self expression of a subject matter which I as a maker chose to tell in a certain style and in Department I chose a graphic pattern in terms of angles and movements which were intended to represent the mindsets of the characters the film is dealing with.
A photographic image is a combination of the look of the location, the lightning, the costume, the make-up, the look of the actor etc. and any camera will only record whatever is kept in front of it. Then ofcourse there are the features of lensing, angles, movement perspectives etc., which would be employed as per the intended effect. In Department it’s the rapid swish pans and some hitherto unseen movement perspectives, which bothered some people, but the same were also liked by lots of others.
Also the rogue method I employed for Department is an alternative method I proposed but not as a replacement to a conventional method. The conventional usage of the cameras used for Department have been already used in “Slumdog Millionaire”, “127 Hours” and many other films the world over. In Department it’s their unconventional rapid movements, which created problem for some.
In “Department” I just attempted to do a realistic story with characters that intrigue and make one think rather than spoon feed and I attempted to package that in a never before seen visual style and some people got it and some didn’t.
It goes without saying that at the end of the day a Film’s likeability is about its content and its narrative grip and the technical style employed doesn’t matter to the viewer.
But having said that a constantly evolving innovative usage of the medium does add and sometimes also gives an emotional tone to the content and film eventually in its purest form is an emotional experience.
- Ram Gopal Varma