In his career spanning 12 years, SS Rajamouli has built a track record which would make anyone green with envy. But what comes as a big surprise is his off-screen demeanour.
In the summer of 2009, just months after I started writing about Telugu cinema, SS Rajamouli’s Magadheera had taken the whole state by storm. I was one among the thousands of people who watched the film on the first day of its release. Euphoria is an understatement to describe the experience of watching the film, which was his best work till that point of time. Three months later, I got a job at a website, my first assignment was to interview the man himself —SS Rajamouli. I had never met him before and I had no idea what to expect from the interview. By the time I finished talking to him, I began to see a glimpse of his persona. He’s obsessed with his work and never lets the hype surrounding his films or his track record get into his head. Every time I have tried to ask him the secret of his success, he attributes it to the team work and says, “I don’t think about the audience while making a film and try my best to make a film which I would love to watch.” He’s lucky, in a way, because the audience have given him a thumbs up no matter which genre he has dabbled in.
A year later, just days before the release of Maryada Ramanna, I tried to meet him for an interview. His entire family had been helping him throughout the film’s production and post production. For him, the latter process takes much longer than what most directors manage to spend in the lab. A prominent cinematographer once told me that
Rajamouli is the only director, apart from Shankar, who gives so much importance to post production. Despite all this, he’s never sure whether his films will succeed at the box office or not, prior to their release. Last year, while he was shooting Eega, he said, “I don’t know what the fate of this film is going to be. For all you know, it might be a flop.” He knew he was taking a huge gamble by trying to experiment with a film which didn’t have a ‘star’. It was supposed to be a low budget film and in the end, the producers had spent around Rs.30 crore on the film. His gamble did pay off and the rest is history. He turned 39 yesterday and tomorrow, the film, dubbed in Hindi as Makkhi, is going to release across the country and the early buzz is extremely positive.
Perhaps, more people will begin to ask ‘Who is Rajamouli?’.
For millions of his admirers, who cherish every moment of his films, he’ll always be Jakanna.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.