TAB 200601 Ram Gopal Varma-1590997252915
Director Ram Gopal Varma Image Credit: IANS

You may like him or loathe him, but you can’t ignore him. And filmmaker Ram Gopal Varma makes every effort to make sure people don’t ignore him.

When COVID-19 made its ugly foray into India, he was one of the first few to write a song about the deadly virus and sing it in his inimitable style. And now he has made a film ‘Coronavirus’ and released an official trailer on social media.

Everything that Varma does becomes an instant sensation. We saw that when he made ‘GST’, an adult film starring Mia Malkova in 2018, which he said was a tribute to female nudity. He was reviled for pandering to the base.

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But the irrepressible Varma justified his film notwithstanding the media onslaught.

While most other actors, celebrities and filmmakers either came out with shorts urging people to stay home, wash their hands, wear masks and maintain social distancing or were posting videos of their chores under the coronavirus-induced lockdown, the civil engineer-turned-filmmaker conceived a story on the pandemic that has shaken the whole world.

Directed by Agasthya Manju and produced under Varma’s banner, it is claimed as the ‘world’s first film on coronavirus’ while strictly following lockdown norms. The trailer, released six days ago, has already garnered more than 5 million views. The thriller is made in Telugu with English subtitles. Srikanth Iyengar plays the lead role.

The four-minute trailer shows a family of six and their struggle when they find out one of the women is infected with the virus after she coughs repeatedly, the sound of which only grows louder and scarier.

In a tweet, RGV, as Varma is known, said the movie has been shot entirely under lockdown.

He wrote: “Here is the CORONAVIRUS film trailer. The story is set in a LOCKDOWN and it has been SHOT during LOCKDOWN.. Wanted to prove no one can stop out work whether it’s GOD or CORONA @sheryaset.”

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Taking a dig at celebrities who have been posting videos of them doing household chores and cooking, RGV tweeted: “When the rest of film people were SWEEPING FLOORS, COOKING FOOD, WASHING UTENSILS, DRYING CLOTHES etc etc I MADE A FILM (sic).”

In another tweet, he wrote: “CORONAVIRUS is not a HORROR film. It os about the HORRORS which are inside all of us including our great political leaders and bureaucrats who actually know only as much as us which is just nothing. THE ONLY THING I KNOW IS THAT I KNOW NOTHING”-Socrates [sic].”

Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan, who has worked with RGV in ‘Sarkaar’, tweeted: “The irrepressible Ram Gopal Varma, ‘Ramu’ to many .. ‘Sarkaar’ to me .. makes an entire film about a family in Lockdown, shot during Lockdown .. Titled: CORONAVIRUS .. perhaps the first film to be made on the virus .. This be the TRAILER .. [sic]”

In reply, RGV tweeted: “THANKS SARKAAAAR! .. I couldn’t just let a chongoo mungoo VIRUS to LOCK me down (sic)”.

Varma has not revealed when the film will be released.