Publisher: Rupa Publications
Price: 500 INR
“I was obsessed with films and everything in them. Be it the gun in Amitabh Bachchan’s hands in Zanjeer or Sridevi’s thighs in Himmatwala … Everything about films used to give me almost orgasmic pleasure.”
‘Guns and Thighs: The Story of My Life’ is Ram Gopal Varma’s way to let us into his mind and discuss the man behind the pioneering Telugu and Hindi films such as ‘Shiva’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Satya’, ‘Sarkar’, ‘Bhoot’ and ‘Company’. He elaborates on his journey from an engineer to becoming a director and later talks about his influences and lessons he learns on the way.
There is no particular flow in which RGV chooses to tell his story. He starts off by writing about how he chose to work with certain people only because they approached him first rather than seeing the inner talent in them. He writes about his struggles initially as an engineer and how his love for films pushed him to start a video library even though he had got a job in Nigeria. The video library was a success and it opened the door to making films for him. Here, he discusses his choice of logic over emotions as his father was disappointed with him over wanting to open a video library. An interesting point that Ram Gopal Varma raises is that you are only as good as your last film. He explains this by giving an example of his friendly interaction with director Basu Chatterjee.
The book is filled with interesting anecdotes, especially the one where RGV reveals how he manipulated two people in order to push forward the making of his first film, ‘Shiva’ as no one was willing to take a risk by working with a director who had no prior experience. He writes about the mistakes he made while making certain films and casting Amitabh Bachchan in roles that were experimental in nature like ‘Sarkar’, ‘Aag’ and ‘Nishabd’.
He also uses the book as a way to clear the air on various controversies surrounding him including the issue where he was seen at the Taj Hotel in Mumbai after the 26/11 terror attacks which sparked a lot of outrage in the media.
Ram Gopal Varma writes about his obsessions with tough guys, gangsters and Sridevi using a simple language. The book is probably written exactly the way he speaks and that makes it very readable. Though, it may be just a one time read, Guns and Thighs is certainly an enjoyable book that anyone can finish within two days.
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