Ace director SS Rajamouli needs no introduction. With an outstanding ability to translate exactly on screen what he envisages in his powerful and brilliant mind, Rajamouli is easily one of the best in India when it comes to story telling.
However, despite his towering achievements, master filmmaker Rajamouli comes across as a very humble, simple filmmaker.
Rajamouli’s films generate so much of interest in audiences primarily because of the manner in which he builds and showcases the conflict between his heroes and villains. Point this out to Rajamouli and the man nods his head in agreement with a smile.
In ‘RRR’, his upcoming film featuring Ramcharan, Jr NTR and Ajay Devgn in the lead, everybody knows there are two powerful heroes on the one hand. What people do not know much about are the villains of his film. Whom will the heroes of ‘RRR’ be taking on and how is the conflict in this film going to be different and as intense if not better than his previous films?
Says Rajamouli, “Let me tell you that here, in ‘RRR’, the conflict is between the heroes themselves. So, the heroes themselves are the heroes and the heroes themselves are the villains. The conflict is between them, not with the villain. I always knew that a conflict between two good people is much more stronger and emotional than the conflict between a good guy and a bad guy.
“Actually, there is not much conflict between a good guy and a bad guy. They are very clear about it. But when there is a conflict between two good people and the audience does not know which side to take, then the real conflict arises.
“I have been waiting for a long time to explore that conflict. I have touched upon this conflict in smaller parts in other films. For instance, in ‘Baahubali’, I have this conflict between Sivagami and Baahubali but that is for a small time. In ‘RRR’ I showcase that conflict and I am pretty excited about it.”
Ask him about the experience of working with foreign actors in his film and Rajamouli says, “As we showcase the pre-Independence era, we had characters playing British people. The three main foreign actors in the film are Alison Doody, Ray Stevenson and Olivia Morris. It took us some time to actually find these actors.
“Initially, I did not know how to approach foreign actors. We were sending out details of who we were, what we were doing but were not getting the right contacts. We were quite frustrated about it. One day I asked Shekhar Kapur sir. I told him that I was having trouble casting good actors. He said that my approach wasn’t right. ‘You have to approach agents and the agencies will have contacts with good actors,’ he said and gave me the contact of a good agency.
“Then, we started getting good actors. Ray Stevenson was one of the initial actors we got from the agency. We immediately loved him. Initially, I was a little apprehensive of casting Ray because he was too handsome. But finally, I settled for Ray. Likewise for Olivia and Alison Doody.
“I am used to making films in a certain way for 20 years and I was wondering if there was a different way. They realised it and said, ‘We are actors. We work with different directors who have different kind of approaches. You tell us how it is comfortable for you and we will follow it. I directed them just like I directed our Indian actors. The only thing was that they would ask for their lines a bit earlier and I have the habit of changing the lines in the last minute. That was little bit difficult in the beginning but later on, they also got used to it.”
–By Manigandan K R