'Godfather' meets Bal Thackeray in 'Sarkar'

Jun 26, 2005 IANS, Jun 26

New Delhi, June 26 (IANS) Filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma cannot really make up his mind - is his "Sarkar" inspired by Francis Ford Coppola's epic "The Godfather" or not?

In the press kit of the much-awaited film, Varma writes: "Like countless directors all over the world, I have been deeply influenced by Francis Ford Coppola's unforgettable movie 'The Godfather'.

"Yes, 'Sarkar' has been inspired by the classic film."

But on many occasions, Varma told IANS that "Sarkar" is not really a take on "The Godfather" and any speculation that it was is merely gossip. "That (the inspiration) is public speculation," Varma said.

But some things are evident from the look of the film.

For instance, and in spite of Varma's denial, Amitabh Bachchan's character as the patriarch of a powerful family that transcends law is clearly and deftly a take-off on Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray.

From the loose flowing kurta to the rudraksh beads around his wrists, Bachchan is a clear picture of Thackeray. Even the last name of Bachchan's character, Subhash Nagare, rhymes with Thackeray.

As Varma explains: "He (the character) is a man who has rewritten the law. He has risen with time and circumstance to wield unchecked and autocratic authority over the people living in a so-called democratic form of governance.

"By nature, he possesses the ability, the charisma, the intelligence and the Machiavellian cunning to control the working of the city. He even dispenses justice when the common man cannot obtain it from the law keepers - the government, the police, the judiciary."

The filmmaker has said that more than a tribute to Coppola's film, "Sarkar" is a tribute to Mario Puzo's book of the same name.

Varma also says that his two previous and much talked about films created the ground for "Sarkar".

"'Satya' and 'Company' were just preparatory prints for 'Sarkar'. With this film, I hope that my trilogy on crime and punishment - within the reality of our country, our city and our neighbourhood - has come full circle."

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