Monday, September 26, 2022

Indian director Rajamouli’s new film RRR. Scored global hits with


New Delhi, India – “I only know the big feelings,” says SS Rajamouli, who is currently India’s most commercially successful film director.

Rajamouli, who has made films in Telugu, the language spoken in the South Indian states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, is talking about his latest blockbuster hit, RRR – India’s second most expensive film and its third most successful film worldwide. But he may also be talking about his dominant emotion right now: excessive pleasure.

Rajamouli is thrilled that foreign audiences as well as Indians at home and abroad have “loved” his film – and it is not the “patronic kind of love”.

“You know, sometimes when you’re a big audience and a small film tries to put in some effort, you’ll say, ‘Those guys put in a good effort.’ It’s not like… It’s like, ‘Wow, guys… there’s something here that’s really, really thrilling.’ I didn’t expect it,” Rajamouli told Al Jazeera over a Zoom call.

Made on a budget of $72m, RRR (Rise, Roar, Revolt) was released on 25 March in 21 countries. A three-hour and seven-minute long action-adventure about India’s struggle against British colonialism set in the 1920s, it debuted at number three at the US box office and at number two at the UK and Australian box offices. In four weeks it has already taken in $141m worldwide.

Some critics have seen the 48-year-old Rajamouli as a pioneer in Telugu cinema who has challenged the traditional dominance of Bollywood in India and abroad.

“Rajamouli has an impeccable track record. Every film of his is chali hai… it won’t be wrong to say that he is the biggest [Indian film director] ever,” Komal Nahta, an Indian film trade analyst told Al Jazeera.

Director SS Rajamouli (left) and Telugu film star Ram Charan RRR.  on the set of [Media House Global]
Rajamouli, left, and Telugu film star Ram Charan RRR. on the set of [Media House Global]

Rajamouli wave ride

His filmmaking career began in 2001, with Rajamouli directing 12 films – all box office hits. All were originally shot in Telugu, some were dubbed into other Indian languages.

His creative ambitions and the budget of his films grew over time. Along with this, the audience of South Indian films has also increased.

India speaks 121 languages ​​and produces films in about 24 of them, including Hindi-speaking Bollywood films. Its film industry, which is valued at approximately $2.3 billion, is also the world’s largest film producer.

In 2020-2021, Bollywood’s box office collection was $200m, while Telugu films collected $215m.

Yet Bollywood is not only synonymous with Indian cinema, it receives a lot of attention and financial support, while the rest are clubbed under the derisive tag of “regional cinema”.

Rajamouli has challenged that trend; Notably beginning with his 2012 film, Ega (The Fly), a fantasy film in which the protagonist is killed, reincarnated as a fly, and sets out on a mission to avenge his murder, and Then even more successful was Baahubali (One With Strong Arms), a two-part action-fantasy swashbuckler that released in 2015 and 2017.

Eega received critical acclaim and was a hit on satellite TV with Hindi-speaking, Bollywood-loving audiences in India, while the two-part Baahubali, made on a budget of $59 million, collected $314 million at the world box office.

The second part of the Baahubali franchise, Baahubali: The Conclusion, released in 2017, remains India’s second most successful film at the worldwide box office. It is also India’s highest-grossing, most-watched film of all time. This led to a fivefold expansion at the box office of Telugu films in India, while the US market for Telugu films grew from around $1-2m to $20m.

This propelled Rajamouli to become India’s costliest director, earning around $13 million to direct a film.
Other directors’ films in Telugu and Kannada, another South Indian language, are riding the Rajamouli wave; Their ambitions and budget have increased, as have their profits and markets.

Pushpa: The Rise, a two-part Telugu action drama about the rise of a laborer in a red sandalwood/sander smuggling syndicate, released on December 17, 2021, was India’s second biggest hit in 2020–2021.

KGF: The second chapter of the two-part film about an assassin and gold mafia released worldwide on April 14, the first Kannada film to collect $5m in the US in five days. Made on a budget of $13m, it has a worldwide box office collection of $125m in 15 days.

Meanwhile, recently many big Bollywood films have flopped.

Bollywood’s 83, a film about the Indian cricket team’s historic victory in the 1983 World Cup, was made for $35m but barely managed to recover $25m. Bell Bottom, a plane hijacking drama based on a real incident, released in August last year, raking in a staggering $15m despite starring Akshay Kumar, one of Bollywood’s highest-paid actors.

RRR.  Telugu film director SS Rajamouli on the sets of [Media House Global]
SS Rajamouli has done 12 films in his filmmaking career that started in 2001. [Media House Global]

Rajamouli was asked about the different fate of his films as compared to recent Bollywood productions, he said, “I don’t want to make it like me vs Bollywood.” He put his success to his work ethic and “consistency” and to think big, grow, learn from mistakes and build on successes.

“It’s not because I have some special ability to tell a story, certainly not,” he said.

Shobu Yarlagadda, who is part of the duo that produced the Baahubali franchise, told Al Jazeera that Bollywood is not scoring big at the box office as it has become more urban-focused and has moved away from “heroism, raw emotion and other elements that make up the difference between the two”. make commercial cinema”.

,[Telugu cinema] Still does it pretty well.”

RRR tells a fictional epic of two real-life Indian revolutionaries who fought the British Raj. The two main characters of the film are played by two of the top actors of Telugu cinema – Ram Charan and Jr NTR. But the film also features a huge ensemble cast of British, Irish and American actors, and to further expand the market for his films, Rajamouli cast two of Bollywood’s biggest stars – Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn – for the first time. .

The stories Rajamouli likes to tell are inspired by his screenwriter father – who has written nine of his 12 films – and the hugely popular Indian comics, Amar Chitra Katha (Amar Chitra Katha), which he grew up reading.

Created in the late 60s and 70s, these comic books told moral, mythological and inspiring stories about Indian gods, gurus, kings and queens. Mostly taken from two Hindu epics – the Mahabharata and the Ramayana – men fought dignified battles, while pious, sensual women in short blouses faced humiliation. Evil was often depicted as bearded, mercenary and Muggle.

But for Rajamouli it was a world where, “when the hero is on the move, the ground explodes and the sky bursts into flames”. The “grand scheme of things”, he says, fueled his imagination. “And when I went out to tell stories, I didn’t want to make them any different.”

RRR consists of several elaborate battle scenes and a 4.5-minute-long passionate song and dance sequence shot in front of the Mariinsky Palace, the official residence of Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, with about three-quarters of the visual effects.

Bhatt, one of the top actresses of Bollywood, is the female lead of this film. His presence is fleeting and some critics have said that his role feels like an idea in a high-octane bromance about two patriotic men inspired by love, respect, and revenge.

Rajamouli has also faced criticism that the patriotism in his films often borders on linguism, and that his films are male-centric, even sexist.

Rajamouli rubbished both the claims, saying that while writing and directing the film, his focus was on storytelling and expressing his feelings, not gender.

“In RRR, I did not talk about patriotism. I talked about friendship. and if any [says] It’s a top patriotic film, I can just smile.”

RRR.  a poster of [Media House Global]
RRR debuted at number three at the US box office, and at number two at the UK and Australian box offices. [Media House Global]


Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
Nation World News is the fastest emerging news website covering all the latest news, world’s top stories, science news entertainment sports cricket’s latest discoveries, new technology gadgets, politics news, and more.

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