RRR director SS Rajamouli on how Jr NTR, Ram Charan have grown as actors: ‘They didn’t know how to pick scripts, how films worked before’

Actor Jr NTR believes languages might change but the excitement that cinema commands is common all across India. So if anyone calls him and Ram Charan “Telugu actors”, filmmaker SS Rajamouli quickly interrupts and corrects them. “They are Indian actors,” he says. In a candid chat with Baahubali star Rana Daggubati, the trio spoke about their upcoming magnum opus – RRR, and what it has in store for the pan-India audience.

Opening up about his collaboration with two of Telugu cinema’s biggest stars – Jr NTR aka Tarak and Ram Charan, Rajamouli shared that two-hero stories fascinate him as he loves to connect their parallel worlds in his stories. We know he did something similar in his previous record-shattering Baahubali films too.

Rajamouli has previously worked with Tarak in Student No 1 (2001), Simhadri (2003) and Yamadonga (2007). Rana asked the director, what change he saw in him while working in RRR.

“Everyone knows Tarak is a bundle of talent. But in the beginning, he was too energetic and giving everything to every film. Acting doesn’t work like that. You should know when to step on the pedal and when to take your step off it. For him, everything was full throttle,” Rajamouli said.

He added that Tarak was not very good at even picking the right scripts. “He didn’t have the maturity to think that a film works on a story and his role in it. Now, I see he’s matured much more. He knows how to judge stories. He knows when to go full steam and when to step back.”

And what about Ram Charan, whom he has directed in Magadheera (2009)? “He had no idea how films work in the beginning. He slowly understood that. Now, his approach is completely different. He has learned to trust his instincts more and keep his mind free of his own thoughts and interpretations. He makes himself completely free of everything when he comes to my shop. He comes like a white paper allowing me to write whatever I want to, he’ll be whatever I want him to be,” Rajamouri said.

Rajamouli added how the two actors were dedicated even during the film’s dubbing in various languages. In fact Ram Charan patiently gave 70-80 takes because he was unable to get one word right with the correct twang.

Even the two RRR stars were all praise for Rajamouli. They lauded his visual excellence and how chasing emotions were of utmost importance to the ace filmmaker. They said Rajamouli believes if he gets the emotions right, visuals will follow.

The two actors agreed that for SS Rajamouli, “hunger and success are at par with each other.” The two picked one fight sequence which they shot over 65 nights, stating they cannot wait for the audience to watch it.

“He’s got this crazy fancy towards action. There’s one shot where we see what actually happens when fire and water collide. I can’t wait for people to see that shot. It was very aesthetically choreographed and shows the difference between these two elements, their mindset, exposure, urge, everything put in together,” Tarak said.

Tarak revealed that they started filming it in 2019 summer and ended it in 2020 December. The schedule was spread over so many months that they had to halt its shooting due to the pandemic.

“That fight was the wildest rollercoaster. In that, Tarak and I are the prop, the weapons, and fire and water were the heroes. It was the most emotional fight I’ve ever done,” added Ram Charan.

“This movie will be an emotional rollercoaster. There will be times when you’ll hold onto your seats, wanting to pull it out, rip it apart. You’ll laugh, cry, you’ll be many things!” Jr NTR said.

RRR, also starring Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn in extended cameos, is set to release in theatres on March 25.


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