Revisiting Satya: 44 facts about the first film in Ram Gopal Varma's gangster trilogy Published: 30th September 2020 As the cult movie completes 23 years, we give you some interesting trivia on its making... Satya is the first of Ram Gopal Varma's 'Gangster trilogy' about organised crime in India. Varma initially planned to make an action film, but decided to make a film focusing on felony after meeting some criminals. RGV hired Anurag Kashyap and Saurabh Shukla to write the film, and opted to use lesser-known actors. The soundtrack and score were composed by Vishal Bhardwaj and Sandeep Chowta, respectively, while the lyrics were written by Gulzar. Manoj Bajpayee won the National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor for Satya The film, which was shot in Mumbai on a shoestring budget of less than ₹2 crore, made 15 crore at the box office. Danny Boyle watched Satya and Company (2002) to understand the true colour of Mumbai before he started filming his acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire. He acknowledged this in an interview. Earlier, Manoj Bajpayee was to play the role of Satya. However, as the roles were developed, RGV realised that Bhiku Mhatre needed someone with good command over hindi and Manoj portrayed Bhiku. While shooting the 'Mumbai Ka King Kaun Bhiku Mhatre' scene Manoj Bajpai really had a hard time due to his fear of heights as he had to stand at the edge on the high rocks and utter his dialogue. When asked why he did not cast famous actors for the lead roles, Varma stated he needed actors who had no set image in the audience's mind. JD Chakravarthy lives next door to Urmila, but she doesn't know that he is a gangster. This plot-point was inspired from a real-life experience of RGV's friend. Satya was Manoj Bajpai's first lead role that literally launched his career. Mahima Chaudhary was first signed for the lead role, but later was dropped and replaced by Urmila. The stampede scene at the cinema hall was inspired from the tragedy at Uphhar Cinema in Delhi on 13 June 1994, when fire broke out during a show of Border and cost many lives in a major stampede. In 1984, Dilip Kumar was to write, produce, and direct a film titled 'Sattya' starring Dilip Kumar and Saira Banu. The film kept getting postponed and was finally shelved. Debut film of Sushant Singh, who played the role of Pakya. Saurabh Shukla's role of Kallu Mama - a fearless gangster - was based on Ram Gopal Verma's experience with a Borivali bar owner connected to the underworld. Saurabh Shukla and Anurag Kashyap were discussing names for character of Manoj Bajpai. An office boy named Bhiku entered just then and they decided to name the character Bhiku. Bhiku's character was inspired from Ram Gopal Verma's friend from his village, who was fan of Jeetendra and wore colourful clothes and was short tempered. Ram Gopal Verma initially wanted to make Satya without any songs, but finally obliged due to commerical reasons. Sathya at first did not have a theatrical release overseas due to its star cast. But when the film gathered steam and started to do well, the overseas distributors demanded prints. Ram Gopal Verma wanted Vijay Tendulkar to write the dialogues, but he wasn't able to work on the film because of prior commitments. J D Chakravarti played the antagonist in Shiva, which was RGV's debut film as a director in 1990. Goli Maar Bheje Mein had a remix in the album Fix To Mix Volume 4 by Harry Anand. This was released in 1999. Saurabh Shukla's name was suggested to Verma by writer Anurag Kashyap as a co-writer. He took up the offer only because he also got a meaty role to perform. The song playing during Bhiku Mhatre's arrest is Arre Re Arre from Dil To Pagal Hai, which is composed by S. Bhattacharya, who is also the music composer of Satya. S Bhattacharya was the music arranger and had composed the background score of RGV's film Rangeela. Impressed with his work, RGV offered him Satya (just score, songs were added later). The look of music director Ronu Saagar was inspired by that of S. Bhattacharya. Altaf Raja's song 'Tum to thehre pardesi' is played in the bar scene where the girls are dancing. Ram Gopal Varma stated that he named the film Satya for two reasons: one being a homage to Ardh Satya and the other one was a namesake girl whom he used to love in college who did not love him back. Manoj took suggestions from his maid on how to get the nuances of the Marathi accent and worked on the character for three to four months before filming began. Manoj took Bhiku's accent from his cook who was from Kolhapur. He also gathered his own costume from Rs 25,000 given to him by the production. Urmila Matondkar's costume for 'Satya' was designed by Manish Malhotra. Several scenes in the film were improvised, including the entire death scene of Bhiku Mhatre. The song 'Kallu Mama' was filmed by Varma himself because the cinematographer was absent on the day of the shoot. The scene in the beginning where Manjrekar and Bappu murder a film producer on a busy street was shot on a set; the street was created inside the studio, with the parked cars belonging to the crew. The film's first cinematographer was the American Gerard Hooper, recommended to Varma by Kannan Iyer (who had written Daud).Hooper roamed Mumbai, filming the city even when no shooting was scheduled. However, Hooper could not devote enough time to the project and left when it was thirty percent complete. Mazhar Kamran was the cinematographer for the rest of the film. The film's 23-track background score was released as a separate album, Satya: The Sound, in November 1998 after the film's success. A test screening of Satya's rough cut was shown to 60 people at Dimple theatre in Bandra. The response was negative; the audience thought the film advocated amorality. Some portions were then reshot. Satya was dubbed in English for screenings at international film festivals, with Vivek Oberoi dubbing for one of the characters. Satya was part of the Indian Panorama section at the 1998 International Film Festival of India. Music director and composer Vishal Bhardwaj named his studio, Satya Studio, after the film. Satya was the first film of Varma's Gangster series. It was followed by two other films, Company (2002) and D (2005) and a sequel, Satya 2 (2013). JD Chakravarthy became an overnight star with this film. Satya received an A (adults-only) certificate, with no objections from the board. Satya was the second soundtrack produced by the Gulzar-Bhardwaj collaboration; the first was Maachis (1996). The film won six Filmfare Awards and a National Film Award. Over the years, Satya has been regarded as a cult film, and is considered one of the greatest films ever made by a number of critics.