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SS Rajamouli talks about RRR at length

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'Roudram Ranam Rudhiram' will hit the cinemas on March 25. In this interview, SS Rajamouli talks about the making of the film, working with the Tarak-Ram Charan duo, meeting with AP CM Jaganmohan Reddy, and more.

The budget of 'RRR' went up because of the pandemic. It's not like ours is the only movie that has suffered because of the pandemic. We have taken it in our stride. As a director, my only fear was executing my vision despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. There is a silver lining even in a crisis. During the first wave, we couldn't access even the shot portions due to the lockdown. The gap of 3 months afforded me the luxury to see the film from a new perspective.

Tarak and Charan were chosen because of the image and the stardom they have, the kind of acting abilities they possess, the kind of personalities they have. Even more important, they share camaraderie and friendship. Their friendship started long before 'RRR'.

It's up to distributors to screen the paid premieres of 'RRR' on March 24. It's a business call that they have to make. 'RRR' will be released in five languages. Language is just a medium. I am not excited about how many languages a film is going to release in.

Initially, we didn't have any title in mind. 'RRR' was just a working title. The audiences started liking 'RRR'. So, we have stuck with it.

Charan's character in the film is very composed. He is much like Charan, who is always stable. That's why I cast him for Ram, the character. Tarak is a livewire, much like how Komaram Bheem has been shown in the movie. He is expressive and doesn't hold and hide his emotions.

I didn't want Tarak and Charan to compete with each other in terms of fights, punches, etc. Satisfying the fans is a false yardstick to go by. You end up making an emotionless, superficial movie that way. The audience member has to cry and laugh with the characters. My only concern is this: The audiences have to feel the same empathy for both characters. The audiences will get close to both characters right after their introduction scenes. That way, it's a perfect balance that the movie strikes.

The story is completely fictional. It's not based on true incidents. Even Attenborough's 'Gandhi' had dramatized scenes in it. Make any film, you have a social responsibility as a filmmaker. We took every care not to make any mistakes in making 'RRR'.

Sita had to be someone who should inspire us to help her. At the same time, she should be strong enough to control 'fire' (Ram Charan) and 'water' (Jr NTR). Alia Bhat was chosen because she looks both vulnerable and strong on-screen. Her face evokes those feelings.

Shooting in Ukraine was a fantastic experience. At that time, we didn't know that there was political turmoil in the country. It was after coming back that we came to know about the turmoil when our friends asked us about it. My ADs worked with Ukrainian people during the shoot there. The stories of Ukrainians during the war are heart-touching.

Tarak is like a super-computer who can be ahead of my instructions. Due to my past association with him, I know how he is going to pull off a scene. Charan, over the years, has started trusting his instinct. He goes by the gut. He comes to the set like a clean canvas. He unlearns and comes to the set with a fresh mind. That's a kind of meditation. He surprised me a lot of times by doing a scene in a different way from what I thought.

The film won't have a sequel.

I am usually against using 3D technology. 'RRR' is full of emotions. The technical team came forward to do the film in 3D. The emotions are better elevated in 3D. Screens supporting 3D technology will make use of the technology. IMAX, Dolby and other high-end technologies enhance the viewing experience.

If someone says this film is going to be bigger than 'Baahubali', so be it! Everyone just note down (laughs). In my entire career, I never spoke of records and all. I can guarantee you that 'RRR' is going to emotionally move you. I feel awkward talking about collections.

Just because Indians living abroad watch your film, it doesn't become a global project. Foreign nationals have to watch your movie. 'Baahubali' was enjoyed by the Japanese. They could connect with the emotions in the movie. If the emotions are strong, foreigners too might like your movie. That way, 'RRR' stands a chance.

Removing the time wasted because of the pandemic, 'RRR' is a 2.5-year project. When we started the project, both Tarak and Charan forgot about remunerations and how many films they can do in the said time.

Other issues:

Last year, there was a pandemic and the GO related to low ticket prices. The new GO is timely. A dialogue between the film industry and the government was not taking off. I met with the CM yesterday and he is clear-minded. His assurance gave us confidence. He doesn't want 'RRR' to lose monies and at the same time, he doesn't want the audiences to be burdened. A balance will be struck. That's what he assured us. He is aware that 'RRR' has been made on a huge budget. The AP government has already given permission for five shows through the recent GO. It's like granting benefit shows every day. Things are settling. I don't want to say anything that will be distorted by the media. I don't want others to blame me for being misquoted. I wish everything will be alright.  

Updated on March 15, 2022