As of late, SS Rajamouli has gained the greatest international acclaim of any Indian director. It’s difficult to remember the last time Indian filmmakers found such a wide-ranging global audience.
Today is SS Rajamouli’s 49th birthday. But who is SS Rajamouli, the filmmaker who has been defying stereotypes and borders one movie at a time? He and Simhadri were found throughout the south Indian states outside of the then-unified Andhra Pradesh. He and Baahubali were found by the entire nation. After RRR, the rest of the world has learned his name. Rajamouli’s rising trajectory to become a worldwide success with storylines that are intrinsically entrenched is unprecedented. Now there’s a chance Rajamouli will direct a Hollywood movie in his outrageous, defining manner. The United States’ Creative Artists Agency (CAA), which represents celebrities like Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg, Zendaya, Ava DuVernay, and Ryan Murphy, to mention a few, has signed him few. The best resources Hollywood has to offer are now easier for the filmmaker to access because to CAA’s support.
Rajamouli is already extremely well-liked in Japan as a result of Baahubali: The Conclusion. The fantasy drama from 2018 became a worldwide success, not just in Japan but also in India. Over 100 days passed while the movie was in theatres. Rajamouli is currently devoting his time and energy to giving RRR a significant release in Japan in order to capitalise on his rising fame. On October 21, RRR is scheduled to make its Japanese box office debut, and the buzz it creates there will undoubtedly support the movie’s ongoing Oscar campaign.
RRR is being marketed as a fan favourite among Oscar hopefuls, despite a sizable number of detractors. Dylan Marchetti of Variance Films is in charge of the award and the theatrical advertising for the movie. He describes RRR as more than just “the best Indian film of the year.” The world’s best film of the year is this one. The movie’s backers believe that the greatest campaign plan is to get as many Academy voters to see this opulent action drama on the big screen in a jam-packed theatre. They continue to conduct the #encoRRRe programme as part of this campaign to screen the movie in theatres across the US. The purpose of this program’s premiere earlier in June was to provide the American public with the movie on a big screen because at the time it had already been made accessible for streaming on Netflix to a worldwide audience. The movie developed an organic popularity in the US after a low-key release there, which was astounding and astonishing.
Every time RRR is screened, its popularity increases on a global scale. The movie generated quite a stir when it recently screened in Los Angeles’ Chinese theatres as part of the Beyond Fest. In Rajamouli’s presence, nearly 900 people viewed the movie on the IMAX screen. The way spectators outside of India reacted to the film shocked even the director. Rajamouli said, “I was imagining that I was coming to America but it seems like a location named Ameerpet in Hyderabad, my home town,” after seeing footage of a group of overly enthusiastic moviegoers performing the hook dance from the song “Natu Natu.”
Rajamouli is quickly overtaking other Indian directors as the most well-known in the world. It’s difficult to remember the last time Indian filmmakers found such a wide-ranging global audience. He demonstrated that realistic and “clean” cinema is not necessarily necessary to succeed in the global marketplace. You can achieve this achievement by making films that are shamelessly aimed towards the general public.
Unquestionably, Rajamouli’s international success has had an impact on Indian cinema. Mani Ratnam admits that Rajamouli gave him the confidence to divide his beloved film Ponniyin Selvan into two parts. The vastness of the novel was one of the many obstacles that prevented Mani Ratnam from producing Ponniyin Selvan for decades. Previously seen as a dangerous move, slicing a movie into numerous parts is now becoming a formula for the great box office success in India since Baahubali.
What is it about Rajamouli’s storytelling that is changing the Indian cinema industry’s entire landscape? Without revisiting Rajamouli’s earlier films and searching for hints in them, the question cannot be resolved. In order to comprehend what motivates Rajamouli as a storyteller, Indianexpress.com will publish a series of career retrospective articles. We anticipate that this exercise will highlight some of Rajamouli’s reoccurring themes, clichés, and cinematic characteristics, which he has developed over the past 20 years to get where he is today.