Padma Shri Koduri Srisaila Sri Rajamouli popularly known as S.S. Rajamouli prefers to be called ‘Raja’ (Hindi word for King) but in actual the maverick modern day genius is delightfully down-to-earth and humble to the core. The man behind the phenomenon called BAAHUBALI has reincarnated the faith, excitement and hysteria amongst Indian audience for blockbusters and the reason why we visit the theatre and enjoy the big screen experience of a larger than life extravaganza. His 11th movie BAAHUBALI :2 THE CONCLUSION is beyond doubt the most eagerly awaited sequel/movie on earth (for the Indian audience worldwide) that is making them go crazy to know why did Kattappa killed BAAHUBALI. What makes Raja such a maverick? Let’s understand the genius of the Indian writer director S.S. Rajamouli.
Son of noted Telugu writer K. V. Vijayendra Prasad - better known as the script writer of Salman Khan’s BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, the 43-year old Rajamouli as a kid was fascinated by the popular Indian comic called ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ which had stories of Indian folklore, mythology, Indian historical figures, the fascination for forts, the battles etc was overwhelming to the young kid and in an interview to Forbes, the director has confessed that he carried his fascination to his friends and kept telling those stories from Amar Chitra Katha with his own interpretation. So the seed to say something on the big canvas was already propagating in Raja’s mind since he was seven.
But dreams and ambition take their own time to realize and it’s doesn’t happen before you make yourself eligible and deserving by going through the process of hard work and dedication.
Beginning with helming Telugu soap operas on television, Raja’s first fame as a filmmaker in Telugu cinema came with his debut STUDENT NO.1 (2001) that starred Jr. NTR. Hindi audience may not be aware that before Raja made his second film SIMHADRI in 2003 that also starred Jr. NTR, in the two years gap between STUDENT NO.1 and SIMHADRI, Rajamouli planned his first mythological film with the Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, but the film eventually got shelved. As luck could have it, destiny united the ‘eye’ of BAAHUBALI cameramen K. K. Senthil Kumar with Raja in SYE, the 2004 film starring Nithiin and Genelia D'Souza was one of its kind - based on a rugby game, SYE is the only film of Rajamouli out of his erstwhile perfect 10 list till date which is not a ‘hit’ in box office terms, its above average! Rest are either super hits or blockbusters.
After CHATRAPATHI (2005) starring Prabhas and VIKRAMARKUDU (2006) starring Ravi Teja - the inspiration behind Akshay Kuamar’s new lease of life ROWDY RATHORE which in fact shares good similarities with Shatrughan Sinha’s KAALICHARAN (1976), Rajamouli’s first brush with mythology and grandiosity kick started with YAMADONGA starring Jr. NTR and Mohan Babu. Then after two years came MAGADHEERA - starring Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal this 2009 reincarnation fantasy changed the game for RAJAMOULI and Telugu cinema in general. If we say MAGADHEERA was Rajamouli’s homework before BAAHUBALI then it won’t be wrong.
After fulfilling his prior commitment with MARYADA RAMANNA (The inspiration behind Ajay Devgn’s SON OF SARDAAR) and checking how far his creatively vivid but extremely entertaining imagination on reincarnation can go with EEGA (MAKKHI in Hindi) in 2010, the stage for BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING was set and it was the perfect time for Rajamouli to give it all he had. A dedicated insanity of 380 days gave us BAAHUBALI: THE BEGINNING, the epic modern day masterpiece that saw Rajamouli exploring all his Indian traditional believes and inspirations right from the tales of Amar Chitra Katha and so on.
Great filmmakers round the globe since ages have comeback to explore their similar themes/pattern of filmmaking time and again, be it Alfred Hitchkock, Stephen Speilberg, Martin Scorsese, K. Asif, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt, Manmohan Desai, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Yash Chopra, Subash Ghai, Rajkumar Hirani, Sanjay Leela Bhansali.. the list goes on.. Rajamouli has stuck to his secret back-story, separated family and a protagonist in search of his/her origins with punar janam (reincarnation) masterly thrown in seen in his previous films brilliantly structured in BAAHUBALI.
Master filmmakers have done the same before but the factor that makes Rajamouli stand apart is that - in the rarest of rare occasion, movies are talked upon, discussed not for the superstar/actor seen in the frame but for the maker behind it, the only dubbed Hindi film to garner 100 cores from the box office - BAAHUBALI : THE BEGINNING had the potential to stun the Peter Jacksons and James Camerons of the world. Like ‘kitne aadmi the’ from our evergreen cult classic SHOLAY, Why did Kattappa killed Baahubali? is on everybody’s lips.
A section of market is speculating that BAAHUBALI : THE CONCLUSION starring Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah and of course Sathyaraj as Kattappa will easily surpass its first installment’s 650 crore collection and can reach the magic 1000 crore mark (already made 500 crores according to some reports).. Remember BAAHUBALI doesn’t feature superstars like Khans or Rajinikanth and still it is touted to break box office records again.
It’s nothing but the sheer confidence, belief, faith of the modern age maverick genius Rajamouli who has profound trust in Indian mythology, stories and traditions that has ‘reincarnated’ the faith of cinegoers in visiting theaters and enjoying the blockbusters.
This Friday BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION will finally reveal why did Kattappa killed Baaahubali but the truth behind this modern age epic extravaganza will only motivate filmmakers to think big and be ambitious. Ending by recollecting a quote of Rajamouli given to forbes in which the game changer in Indian epics Raja says, “It might do some help but it might do some harm also. If people get inspired by BAAHUBALI as a film and they realize they can make a big film or a historical film which has good drama and good visuals, then it is good. But if they look at the box office numbers and get inspired by the box office numbers and try to do something only for money then it is bad.”