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Naach... Now and how!

Ramgopal Varma talks straight as he takes the stage with `Naach' this week



MUSE OF THE MOMENT: Bold and bewitching Antara Mali revealing it all in Ramgopal Varma's "Naach"

BREAKING RULES is his forte and he does it with such nonchalance that the prudes of the industry take it as the latest policy. Be it breaking the star system or establishing a talent factory, or for that matter experimenting with fresh genres and marketing tools, Ramgopal Varma has democratised the film industry in more than one sense. And the reply is: "Economics of film making is changing. Industry can no longer be run by dynasties." Some doubts still lingering? His last offering was Bhoot. This Friday he was at it again. The mode is Naach but the rules remain the same. This time a multitude of dance forms, lots of aggression blended with dollops of skin show, exuded by two performers, Antara Mali and Abhishek Bachchan both keen to kiss glory but often rebuffed by the box office.

Will it dance to Ramu's tunes again?

"The title Naach is symbolic. It is about the choreography of life. Over the years we have been used to sweet love stories. It is an intense love story where the two characters want to fulfil their dreams but in different ways. Antara plays the choreographer who wants to rise in life without compromising on her values while Abhishek is practical and knows how to use the system to achieve his ambition."

If promotional videos make you feel otherwise, Ramu quickly adds, "There are all the ingredients of a love story like dream sequences, songs and, of course sensuality. The difference lies in treatment. It is a raw love story which deals with real people."

And if the plot reminds you of Rangeela, Ramu clears, "As similar as Satya to Company."

Past immaterial

His stars' past doesn't trouble him. "I don't judge actors on the basis of box office failures and media. I know Antara was good in Company but things went wrong in Gayab. As a filmmaker I can spot the weakness and correct it. She is a trained dancer. The kind of movements and agility that were required for the role suited her.As for Abhishek, I needed a man for this role and the kind of brooding demeanour he has. Unfortunately, industry is full of chocolate boys. I told Abhishek I want him just as he is in real life." A firm believer in the stars-don't-provide-initials formula, Ramu feels with the understanding of film making percolating down to the masses you can attract viewer only through a sound product and proper marketing. "Promotion of the film has become part of the package because a good initial has become very important. You can't cheat the viewer any more. He likes to be prepared about what he is going to see. That doesn't mean anything will work. Promotion needs to be done cleverly with style. We did it with Vaastu Shastra and now with Naach, up till now promos were concentrating only on Antara and Abhishek but just a week before the release, we have introduced Ritesh Deshmukh, suggesting there could be another angle." Releasing with magnum opuses of present and past Veer Zara and Mughal-e-Azam, Ramu, maintains he is not apprehensive about the outcome.

He calls holding back the music of Veer Zara as a sign of overconfidence and terms it an old marketing tool. "Plus I feel today's generation used to sharp cuts won't be able to digest the long monologues of Mughal-e-Azam in 35mm and today Prithviraj Kapoor is not good enough even to the television soap standards. Moreover, my film has cost Rs. 5 crores, while the colouring of Mughal-e-Azam has cost around Rs.10 crores. I need just three days of packed shows. They need at least a week." Believe him, after all he runs a factory.

ANUJ KUMAR

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