'Urmila Was a Painting and I Simply Framed Her': Ram Gopal Varma
When the director revealed his deepest feelings in his autobiography
In a shockingly revealing autobiography Guns and Thighs, published by Rupa, director Ram Gopal Verma may have opened a can of worms about his peers that may not particularly put him in a good place with them. The filmmaker, who has been linked to so many women in the film industry, admitted that he was bowled over by Sridevi and completely mesmerised by Urmila Matondkar.
An excerpt from the book reads: “After coming into films, the first girl to have an impact on me was Urmila Matondkar. I was mesmerised by her beauty — from her face to her figure... everything about her was just divine. She had done a few films before Rangeela, which hadn’t done well and she hadn’t made much of an impact on the audience either. Then, after Rangeela, she became the nation’s sex symbol. That doesn’t mean it was I who made her look beautiful. I would say that she was a painting and I simply framed her. Apart from the frame, for a painting to be truly relished, it also needs the right place for it to be displayed in, and that place was Rangeela.''
The filmmaker also admits to feelings of guilt about letting his actors down. And the guilt of damaging Neha Kothari’s career still haunts him. He writes about her, “Of all the actors I have introduced, the one I truly feel guilty about is Nisha Kothari. I still remember the first time I saw the cute, innocent, wide-eyed girl from Delhi whom I cast in the film James, which I produced. While James was being made, I was directing Sarkar and I cast Nisha in a small but very memorable role in it, in which she was really appreciated. My big mistake with regard to Nisha was to weigh her down with the role of Basanti in Aag, my remake of Sholay. It’s another matter that in Aag, I let down even great actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgn and Sushmita Sen. But for an upcoming actor like Nisha, it was really damaging. Whether out of arrogance or overconfidence or plain foolishness, I made her suffer a crippling blow to her career and I still feel tremendously guilty about it.”