My films have narratives inspired by mythology: S S Rajamouli

SS Rajamouli. Photo: IANS

It is said that SS Rajamouli is someone who even prefers to release his films' trailers straight to the theatres. In this interview, he gets candid about ‘RRR’, fascination with mythological stories, and being a trendsetter.

Out of the 12 films he has directed 11 were box office hits. This is a record that remains unscathed even in world cinema. That also makes Rajamouli the Raja (King) of Indian cinema. As he gets ready with this 12th film, ‘RRR’, it's his name that is the biggest draw in a film headlined by some of the biggest stars in Telugu cinema. The film which was postponed owing to Omicron cases will soon be ready for release.


Ram Charan Teja and Junior NTR are some of the biggest stars in Telugu cinema. What was the biggest challenge when you brought them together for ‘RRR’?

The audience was always excited to see them together on screen. Scriptwriters were keen on scripting stories featuring them, and the directors always wanted to bring them together in a film. And they were always interested in acting together. But they were all anxious about the reaction of their fans. And that anxiety is legit to some extent. But when it comes to a film like ‘RRR’ we tend to overlook their star status. You will only see their characters. And we have balanced their characters very well.

There is always an element of fantasy and mythology in your films. Can we expect the same in ‘RRR’?

My films will always have narratives that are inspired by mythology. I am deeply influenced by the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. They somehow come out in various forms. But it isn’t deliberate. If you look at it that way, there are many references to the mythology in this film as well. I don’t think there is any emotion that hasn’t been written in the Mahabharata or Ramayana.

Eecha’ for instance was a fantasy tale. How did you sell the story of a housefly’s revenge to a producer?

It was produced by my friend Sai Korrapati and thankfully he had that verve and eccentricity to believe in this story and produce it. He agreed the minute I narrated the story to him. Initially, we had planned it as a small budget film but since this was an emotional film, it was Sai who insisted on scaling the budget.

Is there a particular reason why you always make films written by your father? Also, is there a story of his that you haven’t liked?

He is a treasure trove of stories. He will tell me one story every week. But I don’t really convert all of them into films. The story should inspire me to make a film. It should disturb me. I usually make films out of such stories.

The movie directed by S.S. Rajamouli has Jr, NTR and Ram Charan in the lead. Photo: IANS

Bahubali’ was a pan-Indian film that was released in two parts. A lot of films came which followed that pattern. Do you think a multi-star film like ‘RRR’ will create similar trends?

It’s natural to have more films following a successful formula. I can’t really say for sure if ‘RRR’ will become a trendsetter. Maybe if this film succeeds there will be more multi-starrers. I know that there are a lot of stories fit for multi starrers with writers right now.

You are someone who would rather release the trailer of your film straight to the theatres. What motivated you to come up with a biggie like ‘RRR’ during this pandemic time?

I don’t really give a thought to things that are not in my control. This pandemic is beyond my control. I am not the one to decide whether theatres should open or shut down. I am a movie director, and my main duty is to make a film to the best of my ability. And that’s all I ever think of. I firmly believe that if you have a great product in hand, it will reach its consumer in due course. I don’t really worry about how it will reach them. 

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