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Ram Gopal Varma best movies

Updated on May 21, 2017
RGV's book cover
RGV's book cover

Ram Gopal Varma is a person full of intrigue. He can either be loved or hated but can't be ignored. Full of raw creativity, controversy, impact and arrogance, RGV's films resemble his personality. His films are listed both in the 'best' lists and 'worst' lists. 'Is RGV a good filmmaker?' is a question similar to 'What is the ultimate purpose of life?' It is probably impossible to arrive at a conclusion. Keeping this question aside, he has made some of the brilliant films that would definitely stand the test of time and this is a look at his best work.

By end of 2013, RGV has directed 38 films and produced 27 films. Widely known for Gangster and Horror films, his films span across multiple genres - psychological thrillers, crime, road movies, horror, fictional, experimental films, musicals, parallel cinema, and docudrama. Though he doesn't acknowledge awards, he is a winner of 1 National award, 6 State awards and 2 Film fare awards. His films were premiered in International film festivals and were archived in film academies.

Best works of Ram Gopal Varma
Best works of Ram Gopal Varma

Satya (1998) - RGV's masterpiece till date

Considered one of the best Indian film and probably the best Indian Gangster film, Satya released on 3 July 1998 and remains to be Ram Gopal Varma's masterpiece.

Satya Poster
Satya Poster

Cast and Crew

Satya is RGV's eleventh directorial. Anurag Kashyap got a break by writing the screenplay for this film along with Saurabh Shukla. The screenplay of the film flows effortlessly and hooks the audience without any chance to complain. Dialogues are natural.

Gerard Hooper and Mazhar Kamran's cinematography brings the gritty feel while aesthetically pleasing without any big sets. Gerard Hooper who teaches cinematography at Drexel University shot Mumbai like never before.

Vishal Bharadwaj's songs are pleasing and enjoyable, Sandeep Chowta's background score is rocking and enhances the various emotions of the film.

Audiography is by H. Sridhar while Editing is by Apurva Asrani & Bhanodaya.

JD Chakravarthy delivered a classic performance in the title role while complemented by the beautiful Urmila. Manoj Bajpai has given a power packed performance as Biku Matre.

Storyline and mood

Satya is a newcomer to Mumbai who eventually becomes a gangster, falls in love and loses it along with his life as the events turn out. At the heart, a love story, Satya gives its audience a chance to experience Mumbai's underworld. While the activities of gangster is portrayed naturally and with heart, there are some sub-plots like friendship between Satya and Biku Matre, life of Police officers and the fragile love story that makes this film a unique masterpiece.

Must Watch

Shiva (1989) - Probably the best Indian action movie

The legend goes thus. RGV had a video library in Annapurna studios run by the veteran actor ANR whose son while speaking with RGV once asked seeing the skies "Won't there be someone else in far off galaxies apart from us?" RGV gave an affirmative answer. This answer was responsible for giving RGV a chance. The son is none other than Nagarjuna, the film's hero.

This debut film has made history apart from introducing steady cam to Indian cinema and remaining a cult classic. Before this film, RGV has worked as an assistant director for just 2 films and it's a nobody making a historical film which has inspired so many other people like Krishna Vamsi, VV Vinayak, Puri Jaganath and Teja who have become directors later.

Shiva Theatrical Release Poster
Shiva Theatrical Release Poster

Cast and Crew

While the story is written by RGV himself, the powerful dialogues were written by Tanikella Bharani.

While screenplay is the spine of the film, maestro Ilayaraja brings this film to life through his innovative and apt music accompanied by chart busting songs.

S. Gopal reddy is responsible for the technically superior look of this film. Apart from handling steady cam effectively, he has given this film a gritty look with some versatile camera movements and frames.

Title role was played by Nagarjuna Akkineni while his future wife, Amala played the heroine. JD Chakravarthy was introduced as an arrogant college student while Raghuvaran gave a rocking performance as a power hungry villain.

Storyline and Mood

Siva joins a college to realize that the college is haunted by gangster politics. In a moment where he cannot control his emotion, he gets into a fight with JD and rest of the film is a gang war weaved with inevitable events. Shiva's relationship with his brother's family and his love story remains to be a relief in this action packed blockbuster. The action sequences, be it the first punch, a cycle chase or the fight in rain still retain the power to pull your butt to the front of the seat.

Highly Recommended

Gaayam (1993) - A gripping political Drama

This is the first film of RGV where RGV showed his long lasting love for the film 'The Godfather'. In my opinion, Gaayam is the first film that brought out the immaculate ability of RGV to show realism while not missing out entertainment and glamor.

Cast and Crew

Gaayam is co-written by the legendary Mani Ratnam. This film would have been just another gangster film inspired by 'The Godfather' if not for gripping screenplay and great characterization.

Sri has given a powerful background music and evergreen melodies.

The novel and consistent look of the film with creative camera movements is given by Rasool.

The lead role is played by Jagapathi Babu and Revathi while Urmila adds glamor. Kota Srinivasarao played a memorable, entertaining and a power hungry politician.

Storyline and Mood

A happy-go-luck youth turns into a gangster after his brother's death while losing his love. After this, the film is mostly about the gang war. But, what makes this film stand out is the ideological conflict between Revati, a journalist and the rest of the world. Revati's performance, Mani Ratnam's screenplay accompanied by RGV's direction makes this film a classic and sets an example for a good political drama.

Highly Recommended

Kshana Kshanam (1991) - A cult classic adventure

In his second film, RGV ropes in his most favorite heroine, Sridevi and delivers another cult classic. Though this film was not a big success in box office, this is one of its kind film and won hearts of many Indian audience.

Cast and Crew

After the power packed Shiva, RGV writes this heart warming comedy thriller.

While RGV proves his ability to extract the kind of music he needs from a new music director at that time, M.M. Keeravani also delivered chart busting songs. Jamurathiri remains to be an evergreen lullaby song till date.

S. Gopal Reddy handles cinematography. While resembling certain action hindi films, the cinematography of this film has it's heart in the right place.

Apart from the lady super star Sridevi, Venkatesh plays the hero. This film also introduces the mighty Paresh Rawal. He played a villain while giving his trademark comedy.

Storyline and Mood

An innocent girl accidentally possesses a receipt which holds a lot of money. While a set of gangsters run behind Sridevi, police run behind the gangsters while Venkatesh, a local thief fearing police takes Sridevi away from gangsters. This film is hilarious while having it's tense moments and breath taking chases. Most of the film is in forest which inspired lot of such films. Sridevi looks at her best with just two costumes throughout the film barring songs. Certain unnecessary songs drags the film in the second half. This film was really ahead of it's time and is a pleasure to watch now.

Highly Recommended

Company (2002) - The Saga Continues

After Satya, RGV comes back with a bang with Company in 2002. Loosely based on the D company, this company is more entertaining and cinematic. Anybody interested in gangster films can't help but appreciate this film.

Cast and Crew

Jaideep Sahni maintains the racy pace of this film through his screenplay.

Sandeep Chowta music rocks as always and the song Khalas fastens the blood flow.

Hemant Chaturvedi's cinematography is inspiring. This film is probably one of those initial films which has inspired RGV to make his lower budget films later.

Ajay Devagan and Vivek Oberoi plays the lead roles while the legendary Mohan Lal plays the police officer.

Storyline and Mood

This film is more about the mood and the little details than the story and highlights the economics behind running an indian Mafia. Vivek Oberoi plays a young man who eventually joins mafia which is being led by Ajay Devagan and their business.

Highly Recommended

Rangeela (1995) - Colours of Bollywood

Rangeela is RGV's first hindi blockbuster and has also introduced the oscar award winning A.R. Rahman to Bollywood.

Cash and Crew

Ram Gopal Varma writes and produces this romantic drama.

A.R.Rahman provides the trend-setting songs and the background music to this cult film and remains to inspire even the current generation.

W.B.Rao provides Bollywood style colorful look still retaining the originality.

The character in this film remains to be one of Aamir khan's milestone roles. Jackie Shroff bags an award. But, the limelight is on Urmila who has become an overnight sensation after this film.

Storyline and Mood

Rangeela is about the journey of a girl with dreams from a group dancer to heroine. Apart from portraying the shallow lives of stars and film people, it also shows the magic and glamor of cinema. The film's emotional graph is maintained by the triangular love story. This film has kindled interest in showing the film industry as a backdrop.


Sarkar (2005) - The Indian Godfather

Sarkar is a result of merging 'The godfather' and Bal Thackrey's life. May be, it's starting from this film, RGV has run out of his creative juices. Still, this film honestly maintains the stature of the Hindi superstar Amitabh Bachan while depicting the Indian power play in style.

Sarkar Theatrical Poster
Sarkar Theatrical Poster

Cast and Crew

Amit Roy gave the stylistic look for this film. Most of the film is closeups. Innovative framing and lighting has saved it from monotony.

Amar Mohile scores the background and Bapi-Tutul composed the songs. Amar picks the background hum of 'Govinda Govinda' from an old RGV film and enhances.

Amitabh Bachchan provides a subtle and power packed performance.

Storyline and Mood

Set up in the world of Indian politics, this is really about the power play between politicians and a man who manages to run parallel government. This film takes it time to build the story and it has it's moments.


Rakta Charitra (2010) - The history of violence

Based on life of Paritala Ravindra, Rakta Charitra is a biographical crime film. With it's bloody scenes and heart pounding characters, this film takes violence to it's peaks. This film is for people who like violence.

Cast and Crew

Though this film is based on a person in Andhra Pradesh, the film's story is written by Prashant Pandey.

Amol Rathod gives the gritty and violent look to the film. There are some amazing shots which sometime highlight the story of the film.

Music is given by various people. RGV sang a song and also narrated the film.

Vivek Oberoi and Surya plays the lead roles.

Storyline and Mood

Most of the film is violent and it's again about the power play between various political entities. Family drama and love scenes adds life to this film.

Worth a watch

Raat (1992) - The horror acumen

RGV's horror acumen is visible through this cult classic Raat. Innovative cinematography and really scary sequences make this film one of RGV's best works.

Raat Poster
Raat Poster

Cast and Crew

While RGV writes, directs and produces this film.

RGV's assistants Teja along with Rasool and Prasad handles the camera and gives a consistent and a neat look.

Manisharma is another RGV's brilliant find. He has provided the much needed gripping music to this film.

Revati has carried this film on her able shoulders and has provided one of the best performances as both a naughty girl and a girl possessed by ghost.

Storyline and Mood

A naughty girl and her family moves to a new house and the girl is eventually possessed by a ghost killing some of her friends and finally revealing the secret of her killings. RGV shines in many areas especially the sequence where Revati is surrounded by crowd and by loneliness in the next moment.

Worth a watch

Rann (2010) - The reality

This is one of the very different films of Ram Gopal Varma. It's his take on media along in the political backdrop.

Rann Poster
Rann Poster

Cast and Crew

Rohit Bhanawlikar provided a solid story to this film.

With stylish lighting and different frames, Amit Roy shines though few camera movements are odd.

Music is once again provided by multiple people and Nitin Gupta edited this film.

Amatabh plays the role of a media person wonderfully and with respect.

Storyline and Mood

This film is about an honest CEO of a news channel who denies to telecast crap and biased shows just for the rating of this channel. This film is inspiring and a little depressing at the same time. This provides a chance to experience the Indian media world.

Worth a watch


While the above films are RGV's best works, the below films need a mention.

  • Govinda Govinda (1994) - This film is about a robbery in one of the most sacred places of India, Tirupati. Though this film was initially frowned upon, it remains to be a cult film.
  • Kaun (1999) - A psychological thriller set in just one house and three characters is a real experimental film. Though the film is boring at times, this is a fantastic thriller.
  • Dongala Mutha (2011) - Thought this film doesn't have great content, it need a mention because it was shot in 5 days with 5 crew members with a budget of 0.5 million rupees with DSLRs.
  • The Attacks of 26/11 (2013) - RGV's highly researched Docudrama accurately depicts the Mumbai attacks.


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