I first met Varma years ago when I was putting together a creative workshop for Ogilvy South Asia. I did video interviews of ad film directors to present at the workshop in Colombo, Sri Lanka. One of the things Varma said has stayed with me. "Every film I make must be good enough to go on my showreel -- as is -- I never do a director's cut." It is this honest dedication to his craft that set him apart right from the beginning. Varma brought a new aesthetic level to Indian advertising. And he has been pushing that standard upwards ever since. When you go to him with a script, he identifies the essence of the idea and expresses it through visuals of breathtaking beauty and simplicity.
Most recently, I worked with Varma on the Diu campaign. I think he helped the nation see the place with new eyes. Ultimately, that is what defines a great filmmaker for me -- someone who makes us look at our world with new eyes.