27 September, 2020

Ball ’N Chain Moments

Shiva broke many moulds, set up the career of RGV. Now, 25 years on...

P. Anil Kumar
Ball ’N Chain Moments

“People say I broke all the rules but the fact is I didn’t know any of the rules,” says Ram Gopal Varma of Shiva, the movie that announced his arrival in Telugu cinema. The gritty tale of 1980s college politics and local mafias was a huge hit, remade in most southern languages and in Hindi. Varma, then a 27-year-old bespectacled vet­­eran of the film buff’s sta­ple, the video library, referen­ced every­th­ing from Coppola to Holl­y­w­­ood B-movies like Tuff Turf in this tale of a strong, silent college- goer who takes on the mafia and later becomes a ganglord himself.

Actor Nagarjuna Akkineni was 28 when he played Shiva, a role which in retrospect Ramu says he was born to play—the tough new college student who wouldn’t back down when the local mafia comes for him. “Even today, when I watch Shiva, I feel that shock, a small shiver. It was a revolution in Indian films. Many people say that Telugu cinema can be classified into two categories, ‘Bef­ore...



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