In this cricket obsessed country how will one treat a player who makes a century every time he goes in the middle? One such treatment is being enjoyed by a non-cricket hero in Tollywood. What else can we say about the flamboyant director who gives nothing but hits whenever he claps for a movie. It was ‘Student No. 1’ that introduced the assistant director of K Raghavendra Rao to the movie world as a capable director. This success was followed by ‘Simhadri’, ‘Sye’, ‘Chatrapati’, ‘Vikramarkudu’, ‘Yamadonga’ ‘Magadheera’ and finally ‘Maryada Ramanna’. These films do not need any introduction and so is the director SS Rajamouli. If the husband is making such headlines, the better-half is not far behind. As a costume designer Mrs Rama Rajamouli has lent her skill to her husband in most of his movies and the peak of the contribution is seen in ‘Magadheera’ which has fetched her the prestigious State Nandi Award. Rajamouli directed ‘Magadheera’ was the highlight of Nandi awards by bagging as many as nine awards including the one for the best director. Ragalahari caught a few pleasant moments of this jubilant director who obliged by sharing a few thoughts. The excerpts are:
You are no doubt one of the most prominent directors in Telugu film industry. People of Andhra Pradesh know of you and your work. But I think for the first time you and your wife, Mrs Rama, won the prestigious State Nandi awards at the same time for the same film. What are your feelings for that?
I don’t believe in awards nor does my wife. So sincerely we have no special feelings for that.
Did you expect these many State awards for your film ‘Magadheera’?
I don’t think of awards when I work. My only aim is to make a good film which will not let down the producers, buyers and exhibitors. But because ‘Magadheera’ was the film where technicians contributed their best, we expected it would win laurels.
What inspired you to direct a film like ‘Magadheera’? Can you tell us how it started?
I always wanted to make films in mythological and folklore genre, but was afraid of budgets. This project provided me the support.
We observe from your works that you are trying to make different films. What makes you think different unlike others who stick to a pattern?
Each director has his own way of thinking. Personally I am scared that I’ll exhaust myself if I stick to only one kind of films.
Right from ‘Student No. 1’ to the recent ‘Maryada Ramanna’, you have touched the genre of youth, romance, action, comedy, historical, etc. And now your latest project ‘Eega’ appears to be an animated film. How do you get these ideas?
The ideas are always there. We have been discussing these ideas since about 20 years. They are bearing fruit now.
When are you launching this project?
‘Eega’ probably will go on sets by end of November. Right now I am working on the script.
The title ‘Eega’ sounds pretty interesting. We are curious to know about it.
‘Eega’ is a housefly. Apart from that you have to keep your curiosity at bay. (smiles)
So the image of stars will not dominate in this film. Right?
Whether a star dominates the film or not is the choice of the director. I felt that the stars should be highlighted in my previous films, but in ‘Eega’, obviously there are no stars.
Besides the animated character, who are the other artists in the film?
The cast is not yet finalized for ‘Eega’. I can’t do it until I’m ready with my script.
What brought you to that subject, ‘Eega’?
As I said earlier the idea is pretty old. It just took shape now.
Is Walt Disney going to work with you to help develop this graphics oriented project?
No. To approach Disney was just an idea. We never actually did.
Your films have so much different style, be it ‘Sye’ or ‘Vikramarkudu’ or ‘Yamadonga’ or ‘Magadheera’ or ‘Maryada Ramanna’. Are you particular of that?
When it comes to the style of the film I go by the story… whatever the story demands. I don’t do anything different just to make it look different.
After ‘Eega’, what are you thinking about doing next?
My project after ‘Eega’ is with Prabhas, which is going to be produced by Mr. Raghavendra Rao. It might be a full-length folklore.
Who has been a major influence for you as a filmmaker?
So many story tellers and filmmakers, but the major influence is Uncle Pai of Amar Chithra Katha and Mel Gibson.
Thanks for taking time to talk with us despite your busy schedule.
You are welcome.
___ Interviewed by Radhika Andluri