Very few filmmakers experience a tonal shift in their work as drastic as Ram Gopal Varma has in the last two decades. Even his film industry colleagues have noticed. The acclaimed filmmaker, who was known for creating masterpieces such as Satya, Rangeela and Shool, has lately been making films such as Climax, Naked and Enter The Girl Dragon.
During a roundtable chat with film critic Rajeev Masand, multiple actors of the Hindi film industry were discussing one of RGV’s best works, 1998’s Satya. Starring Manoj Bajpayee and JD Chakravarthy, the film paved way for the gritty gangster dramas that Bollywood had rarely seen or made before.
When asked about how the actors present at the roundtable approach filming a death scene, they all agreed that Manoj’s non-dramatic death in Satya changed their perception on how a hero was supposed to die in a movie.
Nawazuddin Siddiqui said, “The first time I was shocked by a death scene, it was Manoj Bajpayee in Satya. Because before that, the hero would deliver a long soliloquy as he died. It felt like such a hassel to die on screen. Please die quickly man, I have been watching the movie for so long. In Satya, the shot gets fired and ‘wham!’ he goes to the floor. Now on to the next scene. The next scene started playing but my mind was stick stuck on the previous one. Because for the first time in the history of Hindi movies, I saw a death sequence like this one which kept me thinking about it.”
Responding to him, Rajkummar Rao said, “And it was so sudden, the way Ramu sir executed it. No drama. No talking. Wham!” However, it was Pankaj Tripathi’s comment that got everyone’s attention. “Baad mein Ramu ji bahut drama karne lage ( Ramu ji started doing a lot of drama after that),” he said as everyone broke into big laughs. Even Saif Ali Khan said, “I was wondering who was going to say that. Pankaj ji is fab. But that was a badass film. Lovely movie.”
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Satya was written by Saurabh Shukla and Anurag Kashyap and also starred Urmila Matondkar and Shefali Shah. It won Manoj a National Award for Best Supporting Actor.
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