EPIC SCALE: SS Rajamouli


FILMMAKER SS RAJAMOULI ON HIS BAAHUBALI SUCCESS AND WHY HE FEELS CONFIDENT ABOUT HIS NEXT FILM

IN TERMS of size, scale and stars, the film with working title RRR is the biggest Indian cinematic release of 2020.

The next film from Baahubali director SS Rajamouli stars NTR Jr., Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn and a host of international actors. The film is due for release on July 30 in 10 languages. The mega budget movie is shrouded in secrecy and marks the next remarkable chapter of a filmmaker who helped change the face of Indian cinema.

Eastern Eye caught up with SS Rajamouli in London to talk about his Baahubali adventure and plans ahead.

When you first started this journey with Baahubali did you imagine it would be so big?
Yes, we definitely imagined it would be big, but this big, no. We didn’t know that this big existed, so at the beginning of the journey we just went as big as our imagination went and then it went beyond that.

Prabhas in Baahubali

When you were making the two Baahubali films did you feel any pressure as it got bigger and bigger?
This is a question that has been asked to me many times, and now, when I look back, I feel there was no time to feel the pressure, Asjad, because we were working so much – morning till evening until we fell asleep – so there was no time to feel any pressure. The constant thought as a collective was ‘we have to get the job done’. The pressure of getting the job done was there. The pressure of thinking of this film is going to do was not there because we didn’t have that time to feel it.

SS Rajamouli with Asjad Nazir

What was your favourite moment in the Baahubali journey?
There have been so many memorable moments on this journey with both films. One thing that comes to my mind was when we finished the first part’s war – we shot for it for two and a half months. When we finally finished those big war sequences, we were amazed that we were able to do this, ‘is that we who completed this massive epic moment?’ That feeling is something I remember always.

You have also put South Indian cinema on the global map. That must be a matter of pride for you?
Yes, we are very proud of that. I don’t look at other film industries, including Hindi as a competition. I feel every area makes good and bad cinema. You feel bad when your good film is not recognised, or if a good work is called just a Bollywood film or something like that. You feel like ‘why am I not being recognised?’ I am talking on behalf of everyone. So after Baahubali when everyone says, ‘Oh, this is not a Bollywood film and a South Indian film’, it feels really great.

Do you feel any pressure for RRR?
No not at all. I know that I have a great subject on my hand with lots of emotions and am working with great actors. With good actors, a good story and good production values, we can cross any barriers because it has already been done before (with Baahubali) so I don’t feel it.

What can you tell us about the highly anticipated film?
It is not a top secret or anything. We just want to reveal the details in a proper manner. That is the reason why I don’t give out too many details.

Has the way you make films now changed and are you looking at even bigger scales?
The way I make films is still the same. I have always looked at bigger scales. Baahubali is not the end of the road for me. Baahubali is just part of the journey for me. I will be looking at bigger films.

Prabhas told me you are super chilled out despite working in a high-pressure environment, what keeps you so chilled out?
My family. If I try to show any kind of air, I have my wife, my brother, my sister-in-law, and everyone else, to give a rap on my head and say, ‘stay grounded’.

What inspires you?
The stories of India inspire me.