SS Rajamouli has taken Indian cinema to greater heights with his last film RRR. Released almost a year ago, the action-thriller set in the pre-Independence era continues to win the hearts of the audience, in India and in the West. It has won several international awards, including the Golden Globes for Best Original Song for Naatu Naatu (which has also been nominated at the Oscars 2023). After the amazing success of RRR, Rajamouli has opened up about working with lead stars, Jr NTR and Ram Charan, over the years. In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, the filmmaker shared his experience of working with the prominent stars of Telugu cinema and if he had to give them similar instructions on the RRR set.
Rajamouli, who first worked with Jr NTR in 2001’s Student No 1, said that he has a “solid understanding” with the actor so, he doesn’t “need to tell Jr NTR anything.” The filmmaker said, “Jr NT hasn’t changed a bit since we both worked on my first film, ‘Student No. 1.’ He’s obviously improved a lot over the years, though. He always understands what the director is trying to achieve and gives it in an instant. That’s the hallmark of a great actor. We have such a solid understanding between us that I don’t need to tell him anything. He remembers scenes from the first time I’hv described them to him. We have a great rapport. ‘RRR’ is my fourth collaboration with him.”
When it comes to Ram Charan, the actor has left SS Rajamouli “surprised” many times with “the nuances in his acting.” The duo first worked together in 2009’s action-romance Magadheera. Rajamouli said, “It’s been a different experience with Ram Charan. The first time I worked with him was his second major role, ‘Magadheera.’ He was a bit raw at the time. He had a lot of energy, a lot of charm, and could do his action moves—or dance moves, or sentimental moves—with ease. But he was still learning a few acting nuances at that time. By the time he came to “RRR,” he’d developed a completely new trait, which I haven’t seen with anyone else. Even though he always knows the story—and what he needs to do in a scene—he somehow keeps his mind completely clear.”
“He (Ram Charan) comes to me and says, “Look, I’m a blank page. You can draw whatever you want on me.” I don’t know how Ram Charan developed that art. I’m a little surprised at any given take; I can never guess what he’s going to deliver. Many times, he bowls me over with the nuances in his acting. He and N.T.R. are completely different actors, and working with both of them has brought me very different kinds of joy as a director,” added SS Rajamouli.
The filmmaker has also worked with Jr NTR in Simhadri (2003) and Yamadonga (2007).
RRR also stars Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, Shriya Saran, Rahul Ramakrishna, Rajeev Kanakala, Samuthirakani and British actors Ray Stevenson, Alison Doody and Olivia Morris. The film was released in India on March 25 last year. It started streaming on Netflix a couple of months later and eventually premiered on other OTT platforms too.
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