Ram Gopal Varma debuts on OTT with Dahanam
The Telugu film also stars Isha Koppikar reprising the role of a police officer.
Director Ram Gopal Varma finally makes his OTT debut with Dahanam and in the genre that he masters — crime thriller. With blockbusters like Satya, Shool, and Company among others in his awardwinning oeuvre, RGV ventures into the long format as a producer. The crime thriller set in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh is all about disputes and power struggles centring on families, landlords and Naxalites. The Telugu film also stars Isha Koppikar reprising the role of a police officer. We caught up with the master of crime dramas and talked about why crime always fascinates the human psyche and more. Excerpts:
What does Dahanam mean?
Dahanam means burning in Sanskrit. And it represents the theme of the show which is about revenge or burning with revenge. You have made so many films in the crime genre.
How different is Dahanam from your previous hits?
While most crime dramas are city-based, predominantly in Mumbai, Dahanam is based in the interiors of Andhra Pradesh and has a Wild West kind of a look and feel. While there are fights between landlords, there is an underlying family dispute with power games dominating the fights. So, there are conflicts at multiple levels. Agasthya Manju, who has directed the film, has good knowledge of the region and has done a remarkable job.
How come a debut in the OTT format?
I have been planning to do something in this medium but the pandemic delayed my plans. We see you as a producer here, with Agasthya taking the directorial seat. Tell us about your partnership. I have worked with Agasthya before and I know his temperament. We know what we want from each other. Being the director or the producer doesn’t make a difference to me in the context of this show as I am the principal architect of Dahanam. We have seen every OTT show giving birth to stars.
Who do you think will steal the show in Dahanam?
There are three actors who I think will stand out from the rest of the cast — Abhishek Duhan has essayed the role of Hari, Naina Ganguly plays Pavani and Abhilash Chaudhary plays the antagonist, Obul Reddy. I am sure these actors have a bright future in the industry.
What do you think makes crime thrillers such hot property on OTT?
Crime is something that fascinates people. I think everyone has a rebel inside them which is controlled by society, religion and other factors. And that’s where the fantasy element of a crime thriller works. In a series, you get ample time to get emotionally invested in a character, but in a feature film that becomes difficult.
Any crime thriller that impressed you recently?
I watch a lot of content and not just in English but in regional and foreign languages as well. I loved Dark and Looming Tower.
I did a martial arts film called Ladki that is going to release in June. It’s an Indo-Chinese project and we are just waiting for the pandemic situation to improve in China.