Ravi Varma: Shivarajkumar's Rustum will satisfy all kinds of audience
The stunt choreographer-turned-director talks to us ahead of his film's release on June 28
June 28 is a big day for Ravi Varma, as it marks the release of his directorial debut, Rustum. He started his journey in cinema as an action choreographer 23 years ago, and has worked with some of the top actors of Kannada, Hindi, Telugu, and Tamil film industries.
Ravi Varma says the thought of directing a film first occurred to him about a decade ago. “Though I have been in the industry for so long, it's only during the last 10 years that I've seriously thought about trying my hand at directing. This thought became a reality only a couple of years ago.” Through the process, he adds, he realised that direction was not as easy as it seems. “As the film’s director, you are responsible for spearheading the entire project.”
The debutant director adds that Rustum was possible because of teamwork. “Suri from Hyderabad, director AP Arjun, and art director RK Naagu were the first people with whom I built the story of Rustum. Later, we formed a team of amazing technicians and actors.”
He says his experience as a stunt choreographer helped him when it came to directing. “While choreographing an action sequence we plan the 'before’ and ‘after’ scenes of the particular portions. I feel this practice helped me plan things better. However, as a director, I had to manage all 24 crafts that encompass filmmaking. This wouldn’t have been possible without the help of producers — Jayanna and Bogendra, cameraman Mahendra Simha, music director Anoop Seelin, editor Deepu S Kumar, and dance masters Imran Sardhariya and Raju Sundaram. I won't call Rustum a 'Ravi Varma film', it is a team effort.”
Ravi Varma says that he has evolved over the years. “There is a difference between a newcomer and me. Rustum is a complete entertainer, tailor-made for all kinds of viewers. Having worked with various people in the industry, I have taken cues from Hindi and Telugu films, and I have added my own texture to it in terms of richness, style and making.”
Asked why he chose a cop thriller for his debut, Ravi says, “My father was a sub-inspector, and most of my family members are in the police service. Even I wanted to be a cop but somehow landed up in cinema. So, it was natural for me to do a cop film.”
He remains tight-lipped about the plot, however, and just says Rustum is a story of a cop who is deputed outside the state, and the challenges faced by him.
Ravi goes on to talk about his hero Shivarajkumar. “It is impossible to measure his energy level and I think it is just God’s gift to him. He is an actor who is always on the toes.”
It is Shivarajkumar's popularity across states that helped Ravi Varma bring together actors from diverse industries for Rustum. The film marks the Kannada debut of Bollywood actors Vivek Oberoi and Ganesh Yadav, Tamil-Telugu actor Harish Uthaman, Tamil director-turned-actor J Mahendran, and newcomers Arjun Gowda and Shivamani. Rustum also has Shraddha Srinath paired opposite Shivarajkumar, while Mayuri plays his sister. Rachita Ram has an important role in the film as well.
As the countdown for Rustum’s release begins, Ravi is already getting ready for his next directorial. “I have two new scripts in hand and I want to proceed with them post the release of Rustum,” he says.