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Bhavani, You Thug

All that you wanted to know about Ramgopal Varma and the making of Shiva but didn't know who to ask

Bhavani, You Thug

RGV studied in Siddharth Engineering College at Vijayawada and used a lot of his experiences from that period in Shiva. In fact, the first scene is exactly how he saw goons assault a student outside the college.

In the original script, the villain’s name was Shiva and RGV had modelled him on a goon called Radha, who he remembered from his days in Vijayawada. As in real life, RGV eventually used a woman’s name for the brutal don, Bhavani.

Before getting into films, RGV ran a video parlour called Movie House. It was very popular, though RGV had to spend a night at the police station for pirating Bach­chan-starrer Aakhree Raasta. He made friends with the cops that night, studied their psychology and used it for police characters in the film.

Shiva was the first Indian film to use a ‘steadicam’—an equipment that had been imported but was lying unused in Chennai. After seeing its impact in Shiva, many filmmakers started using it. A year after the film’s release, 10 steadicams had been imported.

After Shiva’s iconic ‘cycle chain’ idea came to RGV, he tried to do it but realised it was impossible to pull out the chain from a cycle. He nevertheless filmed it and it looked very impressive on screen. (It’s cameraman Rasool’s hand which is seen breaking the chain in the film)

Shiva was the debut film of Chakravarthy, who went on to play the title role in Satya. His real-life nickname, ‘JD’, was used in the film too

RGV was a huge fan of Ilayaraja and he said his biggest high was when he saw his name right next to the legendary music director’s on Shiva posters. But he lost int­erest in the music director’s work after this. They never worked together again....

(Diptakirti Chaudhuri’s Bollybook: The Big Book of Hindi Movie Trivia is just out)

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