Sarkar films are like realistic Superman films – Ram Gopal Varma
Ram Gopal Varma gave the Hindi film industry its very own ‘Godfather’ through the Sarkar franchise. After almost nine years, he is all set to bring back the iconic character of Subhash Nagre in Sarkar 3. The highly anticipated politic thriller is said to be more powerful and intense than the previous two installments. While Amitabh Bachchan reprises the role of Sarkar, a host of new faces including the likes of Manoj Bajpayee, Jackie Shroff, Amit Sadh, Yami Gautam and Ronit Roy join the story.
We caught up with the noted director to know more about Sarkar 3, his mistakes while making Sarkar Raj and a possibility of ‘Sarkar 4’.
Sarkar being a huge hit, does that give you confidence that the audience will be able to connect with this film as well?
I can’t say anything about confidence because my job as a maker is to make a film; how people perceive it depends upon how they take it. If I knew what exactly appealed to the audience, I would never make flop films. But for me as a maker, it is exciting to know that the scale of Sarkar 3 is bigger, the issues that the characters will deal with are more intense and the connectivity of the characters is deeper. In my view at least, this film is larger than the earlier two films.
Sarkar for me is not so much about the story; it is about the power of the character, the adrenaline that it creates in certain spaces and time
It has been over 15 years since the first Sarkar film, do you think this long gap will affect Sarkar 3 in any way?
The third part of Godfather came 20 years after the second one but the movie still worked. I know that normally people who have background knowledge (about the story) watch the latest film. And we kept this in mind during the conception of Sarkar 3. In fact, some might have seen both the films, but might not remember substantial details about what happened. Therefore, I like to believe that Sarkar 3 works as a standalone film without the knowledge of the earlier two films.
During this journey, how has Sarkar evolved as a character? Has your perception about the character changed over the years?
I think the Sarkar films are like realistic Superman films, and Superman doesn’t change. Situations around him change, the context changes, there is technological advancement and the packaging changes, but otherwise I don’t see any change. I don’t want to get into the realistic space of how old is he now and what his health is like. He is the Superman; for me these films are the adventures of Sarkar.
I think the one thing that I disliked about the Godfather movies, which I did not want to show in my films, was to see the deterioration of Al Pacino’s character because he reached great heights and I did not want to see him go down. At the end of the day, he is a fantasy, the realistic atmosphere around him is trying to enhance that fantasy rather than diminish it. The development of any character depends directly upon the complexity of the situation around him. I would like to believe that in Sarkar 3 I have created situations to which Sarkar has to stand up in a much stronger way as compared to the previous films.
The scale of Sarkar 3 is bigger, the issues that the characters will deal with are more intense and the connectivity of the characters is deeper
Some parts of the trailer were reminisce of Sarkar (the first film), was that a deliberate move?
When I first spoke to Amitabh Bachchan about Sarkar 3, I told him that I realized the mistakes I made in Sarkar Raj. The first was to put Shankar’s character in the forefront which somewhat reduced the impact of Amitabh Bachchan’s character. And then I killed Shankar. Sarkar for me is not so much about the story; it is about the power of the character, the adrenaline that it creates in certain spaces and time. I wanted a lot of that in Sarkar 3 so I have deliberately used a lot of dialogues from the first film, but in different situations. I wanted to create the same effect.
For me Sarkar is like a realistic Superman or James Bond for lack of a better word. He is a hero, so you always want the hero to speak in a similar manner. We have designed Amitabh Bachchan’s character very closely to the first film which was not the case with Sarkar Raj.
How different was your mindset during the making of Sarkar 3 as compared to the other films?
I think you are transported back to that time. When you are going back to visit a character, when you are trying to reconstruct the same character, I think, more or less, you come from the same headspace or mindset.
But the difference I would say is in the visual look of the film because I wanted to change the space from where Sarkar operates. Since Shankar and Vishnu died in the same place, he doesn’t want to live with those memories. The moment he shifted from his house, the visual look of the film changed. Then the characters around him changed, none of them are there in the other two films, so even that will contribute to the story.
Sarkar is Superman, for me these films are the adventures of Sarkar
And lastly, is there a possibility of Sarkar 4?
It is a little too early to say, but I never thought that Sarkar Raj would be made, but we did make it and then here we are with Sarkar 3. But I would like to believe that we will make another (film) because I think that I now really understand what Sarkar is about.