Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma celebrates his 58th birthday today. Over the years, conversations about his films have been reduced to his recent throat on social media. Despite the current discourse, there is little debate about his talent as a director. With the trendsetter film Siva (1989) he proved his skills and continued to make films that later achieved cult status.
Things may have changed today when the director appeared as the shadow of his former self, but we can always hope for a revival. On his birthday, we’re bringing you five of his cult Telugu hits that must be on your watchlist.
Kshana Kshanam (1991)
Varma’s films in the 90s always turned out to be trendsetters. Kshana Kshanam is his second director in Telugu, starring Venkatesh Daggubati and Sridevi. It’s not the first caper film in Indian cinema, but it has inspired many filmmakers to create heist thrillers. Not only was the film very well received by critics and audiences, but it also featured memorable songs like “Jamu Rathiri” and “Jumbaare”.
RGV’s obsession with gangster war dramas is well known. Gaayam, starring Jagapathi Babu, is believed to be inspired by the Vijayawada gang war in the 1980s. Not only did the film show the volatile lives of socialmediagossips associated with crime, but also the insidious ways in which one is drawn into the underworld.
Govinda Govinda (1994)
Govinda Govinda was ahead of his time. This Varma director with Nagarjuna Akkineni and Sridevi was about the theft of Lord Venkateshwara’s crown. While the film had RGV’s trademark style, it also showcased Varma’s impeccable taste in music. The pieces composed by Raj-Koti continue to entertain music lovers. Given the plot of the film, it deserved more credit, but remained on average rougher at the box office.
Deyyam should be on your must watch list movies no matter what your current thoughts on RGV. The film not only shows how diverse Varma can be. It’s also rare to see a sad climax in Telugu films, but the uncertainty about the movie’s ending was contrary to convention.
Anaganaga Oka Roju (1997)
Considering the dark films he’s made; It seems bizarre to imagine that RGV can handle humor just as well. In addition to producing comedy hit hits Money (1993) and Money Money (1995), he directed Anaganaga Oka Roju with JD Chakravarthy and Urmila Matondkar as the main couple. While situational humor is the biggest draw, Brahmanandam as Michael Jackson remains unforgettable.