The box office results of Department are clear – it is a colossal flop! Not only was it rejected by critics, Ram Gopal Varma (RGV) fans were also disappointed. Even the much talked about use of Digital SLRs and innovative camera shots were rejected by many. The film not only opened poorly, but failed to take off in India and abroad. That places Department amongst one of the lowest openers for a Hindi film, despite having big star names, such as Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjay Dutt.
Despite all that, RGV still stands firmly behind his film stating “Some critics panning the film doesn’t bother me because I didn’t make the film for them…In Department, it’s the rapid swish pans and some hitherto unseen movement perspectives which bothered some people, but the same were liked by many others…I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with the script. I have always put the same passion in all my films, be it a Rangeela or Daud. Now a lot of people tell me that Daud was ahead of its times, but when it came out, it was panned more than any of my films.”
However, the whole event has taken a further turn for the worse, with RGV now placing the blame for Department’s failure on the shoulders of actor Sanjay Dutt and the CEO of Sanjay Dutt Productions, Dharam Uberoi. RGV tweeted “Whatever else happening to Department I am supremely happy that I don’t need 2 see the faces of Sanjay Dutt and Dharam Uberoi for rest of my life”. He also added “From forcing me 2 take Kangana (Ranaut) out of the film to constantly cornering me to change screenplay I had the most horrible time working with Dutt.”
Dutt responded a little more cordially with “Hits and flops are a part of the industry. But I really don’t know if I shall work with Ramu again.” Uberoi also commented “I don’t want to work with Ramu on any other project in my life. We told Ramu so often those 5D cameras, which he used, are not apt to make a film, but to no avail. Ramu just does not listen.” He added that “Department would have been worse had it not been for a few scenes that were reshot at Dutt’s insistence.”
It seems like the only people remaining silent on the issue are the Bachchans. It was reported that RGV was also placing part of the blame for having to work with Dutt on Abhishek Bachchan. Abhishek was originally due to play the role which eventually went to Rana Daggubati, but could not accommodate the role in his schedule, however RGV clarifies this claiming “The truth is that when Abhishek was supposed to do Rana’s role, it was he who convinced me about Dutt against my better judgement. Later on, he couldn’t do the film and I was left with Dutt. So I definitely blame Abhishek for making me go through this though it was unintentional on his part.”
Hit and flops, breakups and makeups, downfalls and comebacks – all part of the Bollywood cycle, lets see what is in store for RGV…