By Subhash K. Jha, Mumbai, Sep 1 IANS | 3 months ago

Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma, who was embroiled in controversy for his objectionable tweets on Lord Ganesh recently, believes in freedom of expression. He says expressing what he feels in a manner he likes, is the way he enjoys being.

Varma was Sunday booked under four sections of the Indian Penal Code, with a complainant alleging that the filmmaker hurt the religious sentiments of Hindus by insulting Lord Ganesh through his series of tweets.

In an interview, he has spoken about his controversial tweets, his films and his lack of camaraderie with people in the film industry.

Excerpts:

Q. You've done it again, stirred up a huge controversy, this time with your remarks on Lord Ganesh?

A. The moment you say, time and again it also means that it's a part of my nature and inner personality to express what I feel in a manner I chose to. And this is not the first time I've done this. If people are interested, they can go and check my tweets in the last four years and they will find many similar ones.

Q. Are you proud of offending people?

A. It's the way I am. If you remember, there was a huge furore over an abusive word I used against Amitabh Bachchan. Everybody got into a frenzy except him, whereas in reality, he should have been the only one to get upset. He didn't get upset only because he knew and understood the context.

Q. I believe you are getting a lot of death threats after your Ganesh tweets. Doesn't this kind of situation scare you?

A. It's not true that I got death threats... as per the random comments from unknowns on the social network, everyone knows that those are just wild snarls from a hideout of anonymity.

Q. A lot of people believe you deliberately provoke people with your tweets to get attention?

A. People will believe what they want to believe irrespective of what I say. So there's no point in saying anything.

Q. Are you anti-religion or just a cynic? Don't you think it's wrong to attack religious beliefs?

A. I am anti-anything I don't agree with and I am not attacking anything or anyone other than just expressing my opinions which I have a right to do like any one else in a free democratic country.

Q. You've been missing from Mumbai for nearly six months now? Have you decided to quit Hindi films and make only Telugu films?

A. I wanted to take some time off from Hindi films and reinvent myself in terms of doing very different kind of genres from what I have been doing

Q. Your new Telugu film "Ice Cream" flopped. You apparently threw a party celebrating the failure. What does this mean?

A. This is the funniest thing I've heard. "Ice Cream" is probably the biggest hit in a ratio of investment versus return. And my proof of that is "Ice Cream 2" is just being wrapped up.

Q. Have your friends from the Mumbai film industry kept in touch with you while you are stationed in Hyderabad?

A. I don't have any friends and never had.

Q. Don't you feel isolated from the entertainment industry by your own cynicism and sharp tongue?

A. I like being myself, by myself and I live for myself and I don't have time or mind-space for people who waste their time and mind-space thinking about me.

(Posted on 01-09-2014)

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