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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 July, 2004, 10:25 GMT 11:25 UK
'A filmmaker is like a journalist '
Ram Gopal Varma
Varma is one of India's new generation filmmakers
Leading Bollywood filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma does not think he glorifies violence in his films, as some critics feel.

Two of his most successful movies, Satya (Truth) and Company, are gritty gangland stories with their share of gunfights and colourful language.

"I have made only two films on the underworld. I am not educating the people on the underworld. Underworld films are not being made for the first time," Varma told BBC World in an interview.

He is among five Indian directors who feature in a new series on BBC World called Bollywood Bosses, which begins on Saturday.

The other directors are Karan Johar, Yash Chopra, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Rakesh Roshan.

'Mirror to the world'

Varma's 1998 film Satya is about a group of youngsters who are lured into a life of crime by the underworld in the western Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai).

The point is that a filmmaker is like a journalist in projecting reality in the true sense of the word
Ram Gopal Varma

"Everybody who took the gun died a miserable death at the end of the day in the film," he says.

"So when people accuse me of glorifying violence, this is my answer."

Varma says a filmmaker is like a journalist holding a mirror to the world.

"The point is that a filmmaker is like a journalist in projecting reality in the true sense of the word.

"Only thing is he dramatically packages it to make more effect."

New-age director

Based in the western Indian city of Bombay (Mumbai), Bollywood is one of the world's most prolific film industries.

Vivek Oberoi was the star of Varma's film Company

Varma, a civil engineering graduate who ran a video rental store, began making films in 1989 after a meeting with a southern Indian superstar.

In less than a decade since his Bollywood debut, Varma has produced 17 films, nine of which he directed.

He has also set up a production house in Bombay that hires directors and produces their work.

Varma's oeuvre is vastly varied - from frothy romantic musicals to grim underworld tales to thrillers to edge-of-the-seat ghost stories.

He leads a new generation of filmmakers who are trying to break out of familiar Bollywood cliches of song and dance.

Varma recently produced a song-less movie based on Bombay's 'trigger-happy' policemen.

Bollywood Bosses begins on Saturday 31 July. For timings consult

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