SS Rajamouli is back with yet-another big-scale spectacle "RRR" and the filmmaker says he is aware there will be comparisons between the new film and his previous "Baahubali" series but he is not burdened by the audiences' expectations.
The much-awaited Telugu language film, headlined by south stars Ram Charan and N T Rama Rao Jr, comes four years after Rajamouli's two "Baahubali" movies -- Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017).
The period action is a fictional tale based on the lives of two freedom fighters in the early 20th century -- Alluri Sitarama Raju (Charan) and Kumram Bheem (NTR Jr).
The 48-year-old director launched the trailer of the film in the city in presence of his lead actors NTR Jr as well as Bollywood stars Ajay Devgn and Alia Bhatt, who will be seen in special appearances.
When asked about the pressure and comparison with his previous movies, Rajamouli said he never intends to make similar films.
"There are a lot of people obviously expecting the same kind of film after 'Baahubali'. But we can't keep making the same films again and again. I am aware of the expectations but I will be banking more on the story, the characters, the relationship between the characters and the emotional high we get while watching them.
"Also, any section of the audience that comes to the theatres (based on) the trailer or previous track records or hero's images (that) will only help to bring them back to theatres. But the moment they come, then within two three minutes into the film they will be watching what the film (RRR') is and not what we did before," Rajamouli told reporters.
The event began with the team of "RRR" observing a minutes' silence for the tragic death of Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat, his wife Madhulika and 11 other people on board an Indian Air Force helicopter, which crashed near Coonoor in Tamil Nadu on Wednesday.
The director, also known for blockbusters like "Magadheera" and "Eega", believes the fans are only looking for an experience similar to "Baahubali" from the world of "RRR".
"If you look deeply, the audience are not waiting for another Baahubali' they are waiting for the kind of experience they had in the film, the kind of emotion they felt in the film that is what they want because they don't have that much of analysis to tell you. So simply they say we want another Baahubali'. But what people want is the same kind of emotion and high," he added.
For RRR, the director has roped in Devgn and Bhatt who are making their debut in Telugu film industry.
Rajamouli said it's just a "mental block" which has demarcated actors according to their region, which shouldn't have been the case.
"It's just a mental block that North actors have to act only in Hindi films and South actors have to act in movies in South Indian languages. We cast them because they're great actors. Acting doesn't have a language. Once we remove the mental block, then we have a big area of actors, who you can approach.
"I'm not an actor but I'm pretty sure they all want to do challenging characters. If they have more directors from different languages, approaching them for characters, they will also be interested. In future you'll be seeing more collaborations across languages."
The filmmaker said language has never been a barrier for him as he believes in the power of storytelling.
"If you believe in your core storytelling, you don't need to worry about languages. Whether it's Telugu, Tamil, Hindi or any other language, it doesn't matter. Language is just a medium of communication. Words are just small bridges. In cinema, visuals tell you the story. When the language doesn't matter, you bank on the best actor who suits the role."
Speaking of casting NTR Jr and Charan in contrasting ways, the director said he cast them purely because they were a perfect fit for the role.
For Rajamouli, it was essential to portray both the top stars of South cinema in a newer avatar in RRR.
"If I show them how the (other) directors have shown them onscreen then I won't be special. I want to be special. The reason why I chose them for their characters is the characterisation itself, like there are certain aspects of Bhim that can only be portrayed by NTR and there are certain characteristics of Ram that can only be portrayed by Charan.
"So, the characters made me choose them for their roles rather than their (star) images."
Produced by DVV Entertainments, RRR is set to bow out on January 7 next year after being delayed in the past due to the coronavirus pandemic
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