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In these delightfully candid musings about his life and his cinema, RGV reveals the man behind pioneering Telugu and Hindi films such as Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Sarkar, Bhoot and Company. Discussing a wide range of subjects, from the influences and circumstances that drew him to films to his cinematic techniques, his successful and unsuccessful films, his Bollywood idols, h In these delightfully candid musings about his life and his cinema, RGV reveals the man behind pioneering Telugu and Hindi films such as Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Sarkar, Bhoot and Company. Discussing a wide range of subjects, from the influences and circumstances that drew him to films to his cinematic techniques, his successful and unsuccessful films, his Bollywood idols, his relations with the media and the controversies dogging him, Guns & Thighs is as much about RGV’s life and philosophy of life as about his films and the Indian film world. Characteristically, he pulls no punches, whether he’s talking about movies, women or the media. Even when it comes to his own films, he embraces his failures as much his successes and dissects them with rare honesty and humility. Refreshingly contrarian and politically incorrect, this book discloses a perspective as colourful and larger than life as Indian films. It is not for RGV fans alone but for all those passionate about cinema and the people associated with it.


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In these delightfully candid musings about his life and his cinema, RGV reveals the man behind pioneering Telugu and Hindi films such as Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Sarkar, Bhoot and Company. Discussing a wide range of subjects, from the influences and circumstances that drew him to films to his cinematic techniques, his successful and unsuccessful films, his Bollywood idols, h In these delightfully candid musings about his life and his cinema, RGV reveals the man behind pioneering Telugu and Hindi films such as Shiva, Rangeela, Satya, Sarkar, Bhoot and Company. Discussing a wide range of subjects, from the influences and circumstances that drew him to films to his cinematic techniques, his successful and unsuccessful films, his Bollywood idols, his relations with the media and the controversies dogging him, Guns & Thighs is as much about RGV’s life and philosophy of life as about his films and the Indian film world. Characteristically, he pulls no punches, whether he’s talking about movies, women or the media. Even when it comes to his own films, he embraces his failures as much his successes and dissects them with rare honesty and humility. Refreshingly contrarian and politically incorrect, this book discloses a perspective as colourful and larger than life as Indian films. It is not for RGV fans alone but for all those passionate about cinema and the people associated with it.

30 review for Guns & Thighs: The Story of My Life

  1. 4 out of 5

    Madhulika Liddle

    In his memoirs, Guns & Thighs, film maker Ram Gopal Varma recounts an incident from his early years, when a friend lent him a copy of Mario Puzo’s bestselling The Godfather—with explicit instructions to read the racy sex scene on page26. Varma read it, and then proceeded to read the rest of the book, because Puzo’s novel about the mafia was so engrossing. He read it several times, he recalls, finding new things to appreciate in each re-reading. Years later, those repeated readings of one of mode In his memoirs, Guns & Thighs, film maker Ram Gopal Varma recounts an incident from his early years, when a friend lent him a copy of Mario Puzo’s bestselling The Godfather—with explicit instructions to read the racy sex scene on page26. Varma read it, and then proceeded to read the rest of the book, because Puzo’s novel about the mafia was so engrossing. He read it several times, he recalls, finding new things to appreciate in each re-reading. Years later, those repeated readings of one of modern literature’s most popular novels inspired Varma to create a cinematic classic: Sarkar (2005). Besides providing an insight into the inspiration behind one of Varma’s most popular works, that episode also highlights (as does the very title of the book) the two—or so they appear—dominant elements of Ram Gopal Varma’s cinema: crime and carnality. From writing about his days as a campus gang leader to his unabashed admiration for Sridevi’s beauty (especially her thighs in Himmatwala), Varma is candour itself throughout his memoirs. Divided across six sections, which cover everything from Varma’s ‘Gods’ (Sridevi, AR Rahman and Amitabh Bachchan) to his views on cinema, these reminiscences are an interesting, if sometimes unsettling, glimpse into the life of a man who came in a roundabout way to cinema. Having operated a video rental store (and been arrested for piracy in the process), Varma had worked briefly as an engineer, too, before ending up in cinema—the latter through a combination of persistence, luck, connections, and manipulation. Guns & Thighs is, first and foremost, about Ram Gopal Varma’s thinking. Not so much about his films (though there is some interesting trivia here), and precious little about his personal life. What holds centre stage are the thoughts, the views and opinions of Varma. The creator of cult classics like Satya, Sarkar, Company—and that massively embarrassing flop, Ram Gopal Varma Ki Aag. In these pages, Varma talks about his views on cinema: why awards don’t matter; why cinema exaggerates; the difference between an actor and a star; Varma’s relationship with critics, and more. As an extension of this, the reader gets an idea of Varma himself. A complex man, whose words at times mark him as a philosopher, and at times as impulsive, candid to the point of insensitivity. This is a man who freely admits to manipulating people—yet who still has a ‘faintly uncomfortable memory’ of a meeting with veteran film maker Basu Chatterjee, whom (despite his best efforts) Varma was unable to help. This, too, is a man tongue-tied in the presence of Sridevi, yet capable of a sweepingly sexist statement like “... I find it highly objectionable to use beautiful women like Katrina Kaif, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Deepika Padukone to draw attention to ugly diseases like AIDS and cancer… God has created beautiful women. They are the only solace in this otherwise ugly world…” Brutal? A man of childlike naivety? Doesn’t give a damn? All of the above? Possibly. At any rate, this is a close look at how Ram Gopal Varma’s mind works. (An edited version of this appeared as my review for The New Indian Express, January 11, 2016: http://www.newindianexpress.com/lifes...)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Sumeet Mahendra

    You may find the title quite enticing but mark my words the book or should call it the collection of weird memoirs is total, yeah totally disgusting. If you're going to purchase it than control your emotions if you've brought then return or replace it at earliest. Maybe in case if you've wasted the money, then don't waste your time & efforts in reading it. And just to ascertain my views go through any page of the book & after a minute or two, you'll throw it out...! RIP RGV's Books & Movies. You may find the title quite enticing but mark my words the book or should call it the collection of weird memoirs is total, yeah totally disgusting. If you're going to purchase it than control your emotions if you've brought then return or replace it at earliest. Maybe in case if you've wasted the money, then don't waste your time & efforts in reading it. And just to ascertain my views go through any page of the book & after a minute or two, you'll throw it out...! RIP RGV's Books & Movies.

  3. 5 out of 5

    GRV

    GUNS & THIGHS Rating 5/5 "We live the life of others when we read their thoughts." —Ayn Rand. We connect to the life of others when we connect our thoughts to theirs. I was always obsessed with either with his films, interviews, thoughts and everything. Nothing other than his movies and thoughts that gave me more pleasure. Always eager to watch and hear from him. As always reading RGV is itself reading my own life. GUNS & THIGHS Rating 5/5 "We live the life of others when we read their thoughts." —Ayn Rand. We connect to the life of others when we connect our thoughts to theirs. I was always obsessed with either with his films, interviews, thoughts and everything. Nothing other than his movies and thoughts that gave me more pleasure. Always eager to watch and hear from him. As always reading RGV is itself reading my own life.

  4. 5 out of 5

    A Man Called Ove

    While the credit of bringing back audiences to theatres in the 90s is given to Rajshri and Yash Raj Films, to those fed up with b-grade action and crime movies, Ramgopal Varma had his own style and sensibility in "Shiva", "Satya", "Company", "Sarkar". And ofcourse "Rangeela" was super fun and so was "Daud" for me. And before every1 began producing films using their brandnames, I think RGV was also the first guy to do it in Bollywood with Rajat Mukherjee, Shimit Ameen, E.Niwas. I was a fan of RGV While the credit of bringing back audiences to theatres in the 90s is given to Rajshri and Yash Raj Films, to those fed up with b-grade action and crime movies, Ramgopal Varma had his own style and sensibility in "Shiva", "Satya", "Company", "Sarkar". And ofcourse "Rangeela" was super fun and so was "Daud" for me. And before every1 began producing films using their brandnames, I think RGV was also the first guy to do it in Bollywood with Rajat Mukherjee, Shimit Ameen, E.Niwas. I was a fan of RGV upto Sarkar :) The book is like Dr.Jekyll and Mr.Hyde or like Company and RGV ki Aag. When he talks of his movies, the anecdotes etc the book is a joy to read. But, a lot of it is just Whatsapp level tapori-chhaap gyaan, his lusts and rants. To its credit the book isnt a biography or formal memoirs and we are spared details of his personal history. But, it seems like a first draft and a very short one at that. Chapters seem to end abruptly and it could have been written better. Avoidable.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ranjan

    If there is a director in the last twenty years who has had the most profound impact on Hindi cinema and spawned a tradition that took long-established cinematic norms head on by creating a realistic idiom hitherto unknown to mainstream Indian cinema, it is undoubtedly Ram Gopal Varma. From his stable emerged writers and directors like Jaideep Sahni, Shimit Amin, Anurag Kashyap, Sriram Raghavan and so many others who radically redefined Indian cinema which till then seemed to have been stuck in If there is a director in the last twenty years who has had the most profound impact on Hindi cinema and spawned a tradition that took long-established cinematic norms head on by creating a realistic idiom hitherto unknown to mainstream Indian cinema, it is undoubtedly Ram Gopal Varma. From his stable emerged writers and directors like Jaideep Sahni, Shimit Amin, Anurag Kashyap, Sriram Raghavan and so many others who radically redefined Indian cinema which till then seemed to have been stuck in a groove of formulaic stories that had reached its nadir by the 90s. The industry – and the audience suddenly woke up to the phenomenon from Hyderabad where he was already a house-hold name since his debut with action-thriller Shiva in 1989. So when Ramu – as he is popularly known – decides to pen down his autobiography, Guns and Thighs: The Story of my Life, the overwhelming curiosity to know the man behind the innumerable anecdotes that surround the maverick – some of them apocryphal – is irresistible. Through his controversial, and often witty tweets and interviews – and from people who had associated themselves with him professionally – we always knew him as an arrogant, self-obsessed director and producer who also had the capacity to laugh at his own failures: “The only way Salman Khan could have a flop is if he acts in one of my films,” ran one of his tweets. In the book he is candid enough to acknowledge that “In a good film, everything just falls in place. Everyone connected with it should just be happy it’s panned out so and not believe themselves to be the architects of its success. They should feel thankful that nobody realizes that a good film or a bad film happens just by chance.” That’s about the frankest evaluation of one’s self-worth that no director would ever acknowledge, and this is what makes Ramu unique: “I am a failure in terms of intent and successful by chance.” In the preface to the book he writes provocatively, “I have never, ever since I’ve been old enough to have a mind of my own, believed in God, respected elders, valued friendship or cared for education.” And truly enough, he follows up this declaration with his life story where he narrates how he ruthlessly manipulated people – both movers and shakers of the Telegu film industry, and experienced assistant directors craving for a break – to make his debut film. There is no remorse in his recounting, only arrogance and apathy towards others’ fate. It is a quality that he would put to good use that had people eating out of his hands – men who trusted his vision, but whom he failed as often as he succeeded. His musings on life might look like trite philosophy but it comes from deep within, a man who early on realized the insignificance of certain experiences in the larger scheme of things that humbled him as a human being; but his elucidations on his craft score with their perceptiveness and simplicity: “Cinema is much more than stark, linear narration of a story… it is the form (that) matters more than the substance.” In the section entitled ‘My Gods’, he writes extensively about his obsession with ‘thunder-thighs’ Sridevi, veneration of Amitabh Bachchan, and his critical appreciation of A. R. Rahman’s craft which offers a rare insight to the genius’s working methods. Elsewhere he recounts personal anecdotes from his college days when he reluctantly studied engineering in Vijaywada, a period in which he flirted with amateur gangsterism, bunked classes to watch films at a local theater and obsessed over a construction worker who ‘carelessly draped a sari around herself’, sending him and his friends to a carnal tizzy. From being a failed engineer – and husband – to the owner of a successful video rental store where chance brought him in contact with people whom he eventually conned to make his first film, Guns and Thighs is a remarkable account of a remarkable man – selfish, arrogant, frank, and humane too – whose analysis of scenes from his own films like Satya, Company and Sarkar could well serve as a lesson to any aspiring filmmaker and film student. So what if he is politically incorrect?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Pradeep T

    To write a review for an autobiography is not really a good idea though. For me, Ram Gopal Varma is one of the finest filmmakers in India in the past 20 years. Coming from a humble middle class background, and going on to establishing a cult like status was no easy task. RGV had his share of ups and downs, hardworking days, smart moves, and coning people to get a movie to direct, etc.. This book exactly doesn't fit into the category of Autobiography, because, he starts directly from his college To write a review for an autobiography is not really a good idea though. For me, Ram Gopal Varma is one of the finest filmmakers in India in the past 20 years. Coming from a humble middle class background, and going on to establishing a cult like status was no easy task. RGV had his share of ups and downs, hardworking days, smart moves, and coning people to get a movie to direct, etc.. This book exactly doesn't fit into the category of Autobiography, because, he starts directly from his college days, and gives less detail about his family and his childhood. I liked the way he tried explaining the events that made him popular and events which made him a villain. His tryst with the filmmaking should be an inspiration for the younger aspiring filmmakers. In couple of chapters, he wrote about his family life and his never ending crush on actress Sridevi!! Overall, a good time pass read. I've read the same book in Telugu titled as 'Naa Ishtam' and for English version, he had chosen an apt title as 'Guns and Thighs'.. But why? You must read from the book. And, still I give 3 stars, because it deserved only that much. Can be read once!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sulaiman Taji

    No guns and hardly any thighs discussed. Ram Gopal Verma aka RGV! The maverick! The man most responsible for bringing new flavor to the Bollywood of the 90s; rustic yet hyperrealistic aesthetics to Hindi movies. He gained a solid cult status. He's known for kickstarting a lot of careers, including Manoj Bajpayee and Anurag Kashyap among many others. By 2010, he had more bad films than good films. And now, he is known for his explicit Twitter rants and making highly publicised flop movies. This bo No guns and hardly any thighs discussed. Ram Gopal Verma aka RGV! The maverick! The man most responsible for bringing new flavor to the Bollywood of the 90s; rustic yet hyperrealistic aesthetics to Hindi movies. He gained a solid cult status. He's known for kickstarting a lot of careers, including Manoj Bajpayee and Anurag Kashyap among many others. By 2010, he had more bad films than good films. And now, he is known for his explicit Twitter rants and making highly publicised flop movies. This book is his extended blog/Twitter account, talking about life and movies. Most of the book is just talking about about what his thought process is. He doesn't dwell much into his later career. In fact, the latest this book goes (in terms of movies) is RGV ki Aag. We all know what happened to that (look it up kids). Some of his life recollections are fine. I really enjoyed the way he defined what (majorly) went wrong with RGV ki Aag. The guy admitted to a lot of the wrongdoings there, and took the blame for most of it. That said, this book is riddled with typos. Certainly needed proofreading. I got this dirt cheap on Kindle, and since I've appreciated his movies, I bought it. I didn't have anything to read this Sunday so dug into it. Wouldn't really recommend it to anyone except for fellow RGV enthusiasts.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Kiran

    I remember the first time I saw 'Shiva'. More importantly, I remember the first time I saw a poster of 'Shiva'. It was a stark white poster with nothing on it except a chain that dangled from the top to bottom and the name of the movie. No image of the hero, the heroine or the villain. I do not quite recall whether there were any credits at all on the poster, but I would think not. Ram Gopal Verma's best movies are for me, a reflection of the poster. They are single minded, there is grit drippin I remember the first time I saw 'Shiva'. More importantly, I remember the first time I saw a poster of 'Shiva'. It was a stark white poster with nothing on it except a chain that dangled from the top to bottom and the name of the movie. No image of the hero, the heroine or the villain. I do not quite recall whether there were any credits at all on the poster, but I would think not. Ram Gopal Verma's best movies are for me, a reflection of the poster. They are single minded, there is grit dripping off every frame, and the movie stays with you for a long, long time. Unfortunately, there are perhaps just 3 movies that fall within the definition of RGV's 'best movies'. There is 'Shiva'. 'Rangeela'. 'Satya'. There are a few that are not in the iconic list, but are good movies anyway - 'Sarkaar', 'Company', 'Kaun' and even 'Daud'. And then there are the absolute disasters. 'RGV ki Aag', 'Raat', 'Nishabd'. (I claim little knowledge of his Telugu films, but am told that 'Kshana Kshanam' belongs at the top of the list). While his absolutely illogical unpredictability when it comes to the qualities of his movies is a topic that is much discussed, as is his run-ins with the media and his own film fraternity, what is perhaps apparent, but not widely discussed is the man's own thoughts about his his movies. And this is what got me to buy the book as soon as it hit the online stands. The book enamours and disappoints you in equal measure. RGV is one of the very few people who do not get so caught up with their own work that they cannot look at it dispassionately. (As an aside, the last filmi autobiography that I read was Dev Anand's 'Romancing Life'. Dev Anand's obsession with himself and his work was so apparent that in a 400 page plus tome, there was nary a mention about any other film or film maker barring a passing reference to a couple; even as he extols the virtues of some of his biggest disasters including those such as 'Awwal Number'!) So, when RGV speaks about taking responsibility for some of his worst blunders (he is deeply apologetic that he got Amitabh Bachchan to be associated with 'Aag'), it does not come across as being insincere. While his contention about any film being ultimately the responsibility of the Director, given that it is the latter's vision that everyone is being led by, reeks of self importance, it is also an honest peep into his own reality. It is fascinating to read about the way he manipulates producers and actors to get his first break as a Director (and this includes Akkineni Nagarjuna), or his star-stuck obsession with Sridevi and making a film with her. While these are what make for an interesting read, what disappoints is the casual manner in which he flips through the making of the film. And frankly, his discourse on his approach to life, and his philosophy keep getting repeated and start feeling like a drag. But then, that is who RGV is. Doing things his way. Unapologetic. Straight from the hip. And very, very unconventional. Wait for a paperback to give this a read if you are a big fan of his. At least of his 'best' movies.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pankaj Goyal

    Guns and Thighs: The Story of My Life is the autobiography of Ram Gopal Varma, the man behind iconic films like ‘Satya’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Company’ and ‘Sarkar’. While Ram Gopal Varma has given us these really impressive movies, he is also the man behind some horrendous movies like ‘Aag’, ‘Daud’, ‘Naach’ and ‘Darna Jaruri Hai’, etc. Known as the ‘king of controversy’, Ram Gopal Varma has tried to maintain this notorious image throughout this book also. Nowhere in the book, Ram Gopal Varma has attempt Guns and Thighs: The Story of My Life is the autobiography of Ram Gopal Varma, the man behind iconic films like ‘Satya’, ‘Rangeela’, ‘Company’ and ‘Sarkar’. While Ram Gopal Varma has given us these really impressive movies, he is also the man behind some horrendous movies like ‘Aag’, ‘Daud’, ‘Naach’ and ‘Darna Jaruri Hai’, etc. Known as the ‘king of controversy’, Ram Gopal Varma has tried to maintain this notorious image throughout this book also. Nowhere in the book, Ram Gopal Varma has attempted to mince any words or endeavored to be politically right. On the other hand, he has spoken his mind and delivered his opinions both loudly and clearly. For Varma, “this book is a penning down of his thoughts, some of which might irritate readers, some amuse readers, some entertain readers and some even make readers hate him, but, at the end of the day, it won’t stop him from speaking his mind and doing as he please.” Read the rest of the review on: https://pgalmora.wordpress.com/2015/1...

  10. 4 out of 5

    Hiren

    What's Quentin Tarantino to Hollywood, RGV is to Bollywood! Both self proclaimed 'Film Geek', started their career working in a video store and its their passion of cinema to become one of the most happening, stylish and made their own stamp of cinema. The book shares and reflects RGV's honest and sometimes blunt opinions about his life, career and his encounters with life in general. But at the same time its too repetitive and too short to clarify RGV's mind as one moves on further. It has pret What's Quentin Tarantino to Hollywood, RGV is to Bollywood! Both self proclaimed 'Film Geek', started their career working in a video store and its their passion of cinema to become one of the most happening, stylish and made their own stamp of cinema. The book shares and reflects RGV's honest and sometimes blunt opinions about his life, career and his encounters with life in general. But at the same time its too repetitive and too short to clarify RGV's mind as one moves on further. It has pretty interesting Preface and I like the first two sections named 'Everybody is Nobody' and 'My Gods'. The rest is too noisy and repetitive. I haven't explored RGV's blog which is the source behind the book and that's the reason why it seem fresh reading for me. However I am disappointed with the book and its title as RGV has not clarified or gave enough space for his inspirational baggage behind it or the explored much about his own brand of cinema. The only solace is some interesting stories and anecdotes to enjoy for cinephiles or RGV fans.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Balu

    This book is about the journey of RamGopal Varma about His life, films, family, Beliefs, Interests and his Ideas The starting part of this book, is so much close to the information, that even a common audience who knows something about RGV was familiar.. And this book took complete next level in the following pages where he detailed more information about his admiration towards Sridevi, A R Rehman and Amitabh Bachchan Followed by take 1 and take 2, deals with his Ideas, situations (that makes him t This book is about the journey of RamGopal Varma about His life, films, family, Beliefs, Interests and his Ideas The starting part of this book, is so much close to the information, that even a common audience who knows something about RGV was familiar.. And this book took complete next level in the following pages where he detailed more information about his admiration towards Sridevi, A R Rehman and Amitabh Bachchan Followed by take 1 and take 2, deals with his Ideas, situations (that makes him to observe people and things in the way they are). My films is complete journey of his film making and the realistic incidents and people who influenced him, and the way characters in his films are designed. His take on Media, and Inbetweenists are insightful PS: I Didn't read any of his blogs earlier

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rural Soul

    Owing to their tremendous contribution to my life in a way or the other, I dedicate this book to Mad magazine, Ayan Rand, Urmila Matondkar, Bruce Lee, Amitaabh Bachan, pornstar Tori Black and a few gangster. Well That's quite weird and blunt dedication I ever read in starting of any biography. It's just starting and so on book happens to be very different than usual books. I must say that my rating is biased. As it's not entirely on book's prospective but because of my admiration towards Ram Owing to their tremendous contribution to my life in a way or the other, I dedicate this book to Mad magazine, Ayan Rand, Urmila Matondkar, Bruce Lee, Amitaabh Bachan, pornstar Tori Black and a few gangster. Well That's quite weird and blunt dedication I ever read in starting of any biography. It's just starting and so on book happens to be very different than usual books. I must say that my rating is biased. As it's not entirely on book's prospective but because of my admiration towards Ram Gopal Varma. Our Lollywood was never at it's feet. I always yearned for two things in previous decade of my life. I never had much chance to explore them as I wanted. First thing was Movies and second was Books. So I can remember when I sneaked in TV lounge of my relatives house at late night when i visited them in city and cable network was enough for a movie buff like me to turn into a crazy. It was 2006. I stumbled upon a movie scene where a Softy looking police officer was staring at a goon. After some mind blowing dialogues. Suddenly goon takes a female journalist on a knife point while for my surprise officer takes out his gun like a cowboy of Sergio Leone (mind it's Sergio not Sunny....... 😁) movies and explodes his brain out. That was my first introduction to Ram Gopal Varma and movie was "Shiva (2005)". I don't know why do I step aside from the things which are always "in" the market and trend. This is why I never liked romantic musicals of Bollywood and I even got irritated since from the age when a female monkey can turn you on if she comes in skirt. I can still remember when we were kids, me and my cousins snoopped in our ranch/outhouse and found it empty of our elder ones and started watching movies on DVD player. Some time later certainly the dogs, cattles and chickens could have thought that their masters have gone out of their minds when they heard our insane laughter over "Mithun Chakraborty's" deadliest punches which demolished walls which were built without cement, Over his drawing a circle for a club dancer to step in and used his semi superheroe skills to beat the shit out of thugs who were waiting to receive a blow and to hit the turf to finish their part. So this is how traditional movies sounded to me. So what I want to explain here is that names like Ram Gopal Varma, Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bhardawaj (Who's famous for his Shakespeare adaptations into Mumbai underworld and modern times), Mani Ratnam, Meghna Gulzar, Hansal Mehta, Tigmanshu Dhulia, Neeraj Pandey, Navdeep Singh etc are the reason that I am still sticking to Bollywood. Ram Gopal Varma was always obsessed with "Guns of Gangsters" and "Thighs of Sridevi". Still as a civil engineering student, he was more of a movie buff and more he attended theatres than his classes. Novels by James Hadley Chase (So they did to me) and Fredrick Forsyth inspired him more to in orthodox movie plots and ideas regarding crime and underworld. One of best chapters in the book in my opinion is which explained disastrous flop of Aag (2007) which was supposed to be remake of Sholay (1975). It was big disappointment for anyone and nearly ruined reputation of Ram Gopal Varma as filmmaker. But after reading inside story of that project, I can understand the reason of its failure. Non stop changing in screenplay and story due to copy right issues. Wrong guideline by lawyers. Still after a lot of care receiving fine notice by court. Eventually it all choked the genuine shape and idea of the project. The book nicely explores the main ideas and inspirations for his films. E.g. Staya (1998) was inspired by a mysterious neighbour who never looked like a gangster until he was found dead in newspapers headlines, a chapter of Mario Puzo novel gave idea for Sarkar (2005), stories of A personal chef of Dawood Ibrahim and Chota Rajan kicked off the idea of Company (2002) and a street goon's unfinished love story was the main point of Rangeela (1995). It's evident that how stories always take place around us but we never notice. The book keeps a slightest of self help theme. Journey from a Civil Engineer to Video library owner. There to assistant director and so on to a successful filmmaker couldn't be easy and walk in the park. Life teaches you a lessons which eventually become your philosophies. Without a clear goal in mind you can't achieve what you desire. The narration in the book recalls the changes of mindset because of every incident told in the book. Whether it's lock up night or discouragement for video library. Books also reveals misunderstandings regarding controversies which were associated with him like tweet about Amitabh, his false media quotation regarding Amir Khan and alleged invitation of Chief Minister to the Mumbai Attack site. In short it's a fine, compendious and humble account of personal beliefs and personal experiences. I used word humble because Gopal Varma claims that credite of every success goes to his team. And responsibility of every failure is on his head. Chapters like Everybody is nobody; Success is a chance, Awards are Bulls, You are good as your last film, Wrong is right are pure examples of guideline for every Kickstarter of any filed, specially for a aspiring filmmaker. As they say, do what you love and you won't work your entire life. In my humble opinion, this is what he did. He surely is a filmmaker after Jim Jarmusch Quinton Tarantino and Anurag Kashyap Whos all movies have been explored by me. But most of all I loved his D (2005) Ek Hasina Thi (2004) Dil Se (1998) Darling (2007) despite low rating. Shiva (2005) Sarkar (2005) Satya (1998) And Company( 2002). I am one of his biggest fans in Pakistan.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Satyajit Chetri

    I like this book because it makes me laugh out loud. RGV used to be *the* filmmaker of the 90s, with every new release making us writhe in anticipation. But then he wasn't. But he didn't stop being entertaining, and his straight-from-the-hip, possibly vodka-fueled musings on life, movies and filmmaking were a hit on the blogosphere. Ramu still tweets, but most of the one-liners sound tired and a little too deliberate; outrage as a domain has been stripped clean elsewhere. The book collects the b I like this book because it makes me laugh out loud. RGV used to be *the* filmmaker of the 90s, with every new release making us writhe in anticipation. But then he wasn't. But he didn't stop being entertaining, and his straight-from-the-hip, possibly vodka-fueled musings on life, movies and filmmaking were a hit on the blogosphere. Ramu still tweets, but most of the one-liners sound tired and a little too deliberate; outrage as a domain has been stripped clean elsewhere. The book collects the blog-posts, and I am glad they are free from the temporality of domain names and server spaces. A fast, breezy read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Diptakirti Chaudhuri

    A little disappointed to find most of the material in this book is rehashed from RGV's popular blog that he used to write a few years back. Some of the anecdotes are brilliant and RGV writes with brutal honesty. The book is short and sweet, that can be finished in a few hours. A bit of editing would have helped in removing some of the duplicate mentions of the same incident in different contexts. Recommended if you haven't read RGV's blog earlier. A little disappointed to find most of the material in this book is rehashed from RGV's popular blog that he used to write a few years back. Some of the anecdotes are brilliant and RGV writes with brutal honesty. The book is short and sweet, that can be finished in a few hours. A bit of editing would have helped in removing some of the duplicate mentions of the same incident in different contexts. Recommended if you haven't read RGV's blog earlier.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Raja Muthyala

    I started hesitatingly, and bought because it is available at throwaway price on Kindle. It turned out to be a surprisingly good read. I see people judging the book and the author. Well ! this book is not meant to learn something. This book is his experiences and perspectives. Perspectives are good reads as long as they are honest. They did sound honest to me. This book is not mediocre like some of his latest films. So, you may read it.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Selva

    Honest and interesting. Only wished he had more things to say.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Soul longings

    awesome book written in bindass style with bare it all attitude of his real life accounts , i loved it

  18. 4 out of 5

    Prakash

    First book to complete in one go, maybe after sivagamiyin selvan. Must read for movie buffs

  19. 4 out of 5

    HSB

    For a few months, RGV blogged on some ridiculously short-lived platform. He seemed to spend his every waking moment, through those months, either writing blog posts, or indulging in long-winded arguments with the people who commented on his posts, accusing him of being a terrible filmmaker. A lot of those posts, which I had feared were lost in some great sinkhole of the Internet, make it to Guns and Thighs (thankfully minus the boring repetitive comments threads). There wasn't any sort of an edit For a few months, RGV blogged on some ridiculously short-lived platform. He seemed to spend his every waking moment, through those months, either writing blog posts, or indulging in long-winded arguments with the people who commented on his posts, accusing him of being a terrible filmmaker. A lot of those posts, which I had feared were lost in some great sinkhole of the Internet, make it to Guns and Thighs (thankfully minus the boring repetitive comments threads). There wasn't any sort of an edit job done before compiling these together. And so the same incidents are alluded to, as many as half a dozen times, across multiple chapters. What made sense in terms of setting a context in a blog post, gets a little annoying in a book. With that quibble out of the way, I really liked Guns & Thighs. RGV is a better or at least a more consistent writer than he is a filmmaker or producer. The book is full of insights into his thought processes on life and film, many of which are utterly fascinating. While not one for self help manuals, this is a book bursting at the seams with practical advice, delivered with a lot less ponderous bullshit than you'd find from the talking heads of the motivation industry. There are some chapters that have a heftier emotional impact than you'd expect - particularly the one about his return as a successful filmmaker to a theatre where he spent a lot of his youth, bumming around. And for those mortally offended by one or the other of his output, there are veiled apologies for his 'bad' films along with the disclaimer that he didn't know they'd turn out 'bad' when he was making them, otherwise why waste the time? I heard the same thing from Dev Anand once. When a journalist asked him 'After so many flops, why are you still making films?', the then 84-year-old director said 'Shouldn't your question be 'After so many years, how are you still making films?''. He then launched into a rant on how the audience was impossible to predict and who could tell what would be a hit or a flop until it landed in the theatres? While these points of views are interesting, I'd say it is perhaps more difficult to predict a hit than it is easy to predict a flop. A flop announces itself early on with weird performances, nonsensical scripting and a series of bad decisions that impress themselves on even the most indifferent viewer. The worst films by RGV and Dev Anand have these by the spadeful. But by the time they become apparent, I guess, the process is already well underway and it is impossible to put the genie back in the bottle. And yet, especially in the case of RGV, who is at least not as overtly narcissitic as Dev Anand, the intelligence and capability for ruthless self examination that fills much of this book, seems at odds with some of atrocities he has made or produced. Which is why this is a book worth reading if you are at all into Indian cinema. There's an old cliche about how you are unlikely to ever want to eat a sausage after seeing one being made. RGV and to an extent Dev Anand in Romancing With Life show us EXACTLY how they made the sausages, especially the gamey ones with a terrible aftertaste and which were entertaining only because of how unselfconsciously atrocious they were. In an industry full of humble brags and self aggrandizing bullshit, we should be grateful to these men for taking us through the sausage making process in their autobiographies. It remains up to you, the viewer, if you want to sink your teeth into one ever again.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alok

    Ram Gopal Varma/RGV has always been an interesting director for me. Not only was he responsible for introducing a very specific flavour to Indian cinema - characterized by eccentric camera angles, moody framing and zooming in/out, lack/absence of customary songs and a melancholic background score - several of his protegees(E. Niwas, Anurag Kashyap, Prawal Raman, Manoj Bajpayee, etc.) went on to bestow greater gifts on the industry later. It is equally true that the man seems to have gone into the Ram Gopal Varma/RGV has always been an interesting director for me. Not only was he responsible for introducing a very specific flavour to Indian cinema - characterized by eccentric camera angles, moody framing and zooming in/out, lack/absence of customary songs and a melancholic background score - several of his protegees(E. Niwas, Anurag Kashyap, Prawal Raman, Manoj Bajpayee, etc.) went on to bestow greater gifts on the industry later. It is equally true that the man seems to have gone into the 'period of berserk' after the 'period of greatness', like many others have in the past. It's hard to believe that the man who gave us gems like Raat, Bhoot(horror), Kshana Kshanam, Daud, Road(comic crime capers), Satya, Company, Sarkar, D, Rakhta Charitra(organised crime and politics) and Mast, Rangeela(romance, musicals) is the same man responsible for churning out turds like Aag, Department, Naach, Phoonk, Contract, Attacks of 26/11, etc. and and destroying his own legacy in Bhoot Returns, Satya 2, Sarkar 3, etc. Reads for an interesting man, doesn't he? The book, though isn't exactly a tell-all, does tend to my curiosity to some, rather extremely limited, extent. It is barely a glimpse into an equal parts eccentric and maverick director. What is amusing is how RGV comes out as an extremely profound thinker at one instance, giving time and thought into the events of his life, trying to make sense out of it, and then immediately follows that by saying something totally juvenile. He has commanded some of the biggest stars of the Indian film industry, but then becomes a totally besotted teenager when it comes to his favourite actress. He talks about females and female form, both as an artist and an absolutely regressive creep. The only thing of which you can't take the credit away from him is being brutally honest, and especially upon his own self. He doesn't mince words when talking about his greatest works being rip-offs, his relationship with his family and friends and outlook towards life, tricks he indulged in to get what he wanted in professional career, etc. At some places, he overdoes that, but then that ceases to come as a surprise after a while. Overall, the book doesn't live up to the reputation of the man. I still need to wait for someone more articulate, analytical and objective to pen a professional biography on the man.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Vrushali Telang

    I am a huge fan of RGV and admired him for changing the narrative of mainstream Hindi films. From Shiva , Raat, Rangeela , Satya all the way to Sarkar (no other film post Sarkar though) every film that he directed or produced has been re-watched multiple times. Picking Guns and Thighs was not an option . I bought it on kindle one late Saturday afternoon and was done by mid-night. The read is as racy as his cinema. He is brutally honest . But I wish he had discussed his conscious filmmaking decis I am a huge fan of RGV and admired him for changing the narrative of mainstream Hindi films. From Shiva , Raat, Rangeela , Satya all the way to Sarkar (no other film post Sarkar though) every film that he directed or produced has been re-watched multiple times. Picking Guns and Thighs was not an option . I bought it on kindle one late Saturday afternoon and was done by mid-night. The read is as racy as his cinema. He is brutally honest . But I wish he had discussed his conscious filmmaking decisions in depth. Ofcourse it is mentioned e.g the final shot of Sarkar which as as viewer I loved but did not know why...I wanted to know more. e.g the Ganesh Visarjan shooting of Satya's climax or when Malik tells the old gangster to rest and Chandu is shrouded behind the veil etc, or choice of music . Because that's what we love Varma for. His cinema .

  22. 5 out of 5

    Shivam Sundriyal

    Ram Gopal Varma's view of the world. Guns are the men with power and thighs are women Ram Gopal Varma objectifies unapologetically. The story of his life stems from an old man's memory and does not go beyond what people can expect of him. He does not try to promise to reveal any secrets nor does he tries to be anything other than his honest self. Ram Gopal Varma writes about his life before he became the big shot that he is today, and shows what goes in the making of a genius or a fool or a geni Ram Gopal Varma's view of the world. Guns are the men with power and thighs are women Ram Gopal Varma objectifies unapologetically. The story of his life stems from an old man's memory and does not go beyond what people can expect of him. He does not try to promise to reveal any secrets nor does he tries to be anything other than his honest self. Ram Gopal Varma writes about his life before he became the big shot that he is today, and shows what goes in the making of a genius or a fool or a genius fool. His philosophical take on success and life, in general, is apparent throughout the chapters in the book. How he got his first film, what people he met, and what he made out of what was thrown at him. He extensively writes about his obsession with power and sex appeal and is unapologetically honest about his relationships with women in his life. He also critics the role of media especially in the city of Mumbai and ends the book after leaving a strong impact on his readers like me. I loved how clear the writer's vision is and how it is apparent in his choice of words. His view of the world is clearly black and white and he is ashamed of neither and is arrogant of neither. It almost looks like he wants to use this book as a trigger warning for everyone who wants to work with him, and it is the paragraph where I compliment the writer. How Ram Gopal Varma views women -I hope no minor reads this book. He, or at least what he portrays of himself in this book, is the cool and intelligent guy you go to for advice or to simply hang around with but make sure he doesn't visit your family. The language used is pedestrian. A simple and apt choice of words. A good and fun book to spend a Saturday with.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Keshav Kulkarni

    Typical RGV. Has read most as blog posts before. Now read as a book. If you haven't watched his earlier movies as they were released and if you haven't watched them for RGV, it is not possible to dwell into the book. As a mainstream Telugu film maker, he entered to the Hindi film world with Rangeela. He manipulated the camera the way he wanted to show the world and he writes about it in his unique style. Typical RGV. Has read most as blog posts before. Now read as a book. If you haven't watched his earlier movies as they were released and if you haven't watched them for RGV, it is not possible to dwell into the book. As a mainstream Telugu film maker, he entered to the Hindi film world with Rangeela. He manipulated the camera the way he wanted to show the world and he writes about it in his unique style.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nameali

    In page 120 he summarizes himself very well. ‘Forget yesterday, live today and fantasize tomorrow’ is the motto of my life and has always been: as an unruly kid, as an irresponsible youngster and as an erratic and eccentric adult. He presents himself naked through success and failure, it is up to the reader to take whatever they want to take. You can like him, you can hate him, but you cannot ignore him. I like his clarity of thought overall.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jagadiswar Mohapatra

    Ram Gopal Verma is an interesting character. In this book he shares his uncanny ways of looking at life, luck success and failure. His madness for cinema is what propels his life as well as this book. The biggest take away from this book is "I will make 100 below average movie rather than bashing other's work". Thank you Ramu I wish you enjoy life the way you have enjoyed till now. Ram Gopal Verma is an interesting character. In this book he shares his uncanny ways of looking at life, luck success and failure. His madness for cinema is what propels his life as well as this book. The biggest take away from this book is "I will make 100 below average movie rather than bashing other's work". Thank you Ramu I wish you enjoy life the way you have enjoyed till now.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Paschalia

    This is a collection of texts of RGV's memories and opinions on goondas, sexy women, his films and media. An entertaining read that gives a bit of insight on his creative process and the history of how some of his films were made. It would be better though if it was focused more on these details as we are hungry to know him more as a filmaker! This is a collection of texts of RGV's memories and opinions on goondas, sexy women, his films and media. An entertaining read that gives a bit of insight on his creative process and the history of how some of his films were made. It would be better though if it was focused more on these details as we are hungry to know him more as a filmaker!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Juhi Bansal

    He is brutally honest about his flops(with details about RGV ki Aag which apparently Amitabh Bacchan thought would be a hit), his success,the world of Bollywood and about himself...!!! . Read this one if you want to look at things from someone else's perception... . Not to forget he has given us movies like Rangeela, Shool, Company, Sarkar series, Satya He is brutally honest about his flops(with details about RGV ki Aag which apparently Amitabh Bacchan thought would be a hit), his success,the world of Bollywood and about himself...!!! . Read this one if you want to look at things from someone else's perception... . Not to forget he has given us movies like Rangeela, Shool, Company, Sarkar series, Satya

  28. 5 out of 5

    Megha Sharma

    I am not sure if I should comment on this piece of autobiography as a distant fan of his movies or I should insert a critique on the book with no proper format and a striking heap of typos, all I can so to urge you to read the book and why I read it will be for the honesty of the book. All that he wanted to say but never interviewed...

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gunjan1982

    Spoken fearlessly Ramu bares all, spares no one including himself and cares two hoots about what others think. He comes across as a damn intelligent fellow, very sharp who makes luck how to his demands.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bharat

    Cinema stories from RGV I've posted by review here Brutal, gripping, honest write-up and stories from RGV who did interesting movies like Siva, Satya etc https://anveshane.substack.com/p/rgvs... Cinema stories from RGV I've posted by review here Brutal, gripping, honest write-up and stories from RGV who did interesting movies like Siva, Satya etc https://anveshane.substack.com/p/rgvs...

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