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The Phenomenal S S Rajamouli Looks Back On The Baahubali Experience!

Rajamouli, Prabhas
Rajamouli, Prabhas

Now that Baahubali is finished released and part of our movie mythology, are you itching to get back to filmmaking?

Not at all. I am just happy to be doing nothing for the past six months. There’s no anxiety to get back to filmmaking as I know it’s  something that I can start as soon as I am ready to get back to work. Right now I am enjoying the process of  having a normal life, spending time with my wife and  daughter, catching up with friends and relatives whom I haven’t met for years.

It’s been 8 months since Baahubali concluded  its epic journey. Do you look back on the experience with wonderment, as we do?

I don’t know whether wonderment  is  the right word for me. I look at the experience with much pleasure and gratitude. Baahubali took five years of  the lives of all of us connected with it. But I wouldn’t want to change  a single  moment of the experience. It was exhausting  but deeply satisfying.

Did you ever think that the two Baahubali films would acquire such a super-cult status?

When we set out to make Baahubali we just wanted to tell a story that would appeal to the child within all of us. See, there is a child in all of us.  But we are embarrassed to show it  because it goes against the tenets of adulthood.When we go to  a funfare we all want to hop on to that merry-go-around and  go dizzy in glee. But most of us just stand and watch  our children having fun on those wooden horses. I wanted the child  in all of us to come out in the open. That  was my motive and inspiration , if you want to call it that.

But how on earth did you think those Chandamama  or Amar Chitra  Katha  tales would work in this day and age?

I believe to this day , the stories that  our grandmothers  told were the most interesting.Why do we still cherish those stories? Because they were innocent and  heartfelt  not embellished with artifice. In the ancient times  when soldiers returned from the battlefront they sat around the fire in the evening quietly until one of them began telling a story. Then suddenly all the fatigue and trauma  of the battle front would be forgotten.Even today  I  think people go to cinema  to forget the battles  of  everyday life and just have fun.

Is that why so many films are flopping? Because they are unable to provide fun? Or is it because the ticket prices are too prohibitive?

The ticket are a different discussion altogether. I wouldn’t like  to comment on what kind of films are not working.But I will say a lot of films that are working are very interesting.In Telugu cinema I find  a  lot of films in 2017 were worth the audiences’ time and money. You see, there are so many alternative  to the movie theatre experience. You have to make it worth the audiences’ while.

What about your next film? The nation wants  to know

(laughs) All I can tell you right now is that  I am working on a project. I don’t want  to do a costume drama  or a  period film next. It will be  film set in contemporary  times  this time. But again it will hopefully be as  much fun to watch as Baahubali.And yes. I am making it in Telugu.

Would it star Prabhas?

 No no!  Prabhas and I have  been together  for  five years .We need a break from each other. Prabhas  is busy with his other commitments and I’ve my own commitments. We will of course work together again in the future.

What about your plans of making the Mahabharat?

Right now  it is like thousands of  fireflies floating in my mind. It will be  some time before those ideas concretize .I am in no hurry to do theMahabharat.

Aamir Khan is  doing his own version  of  the Mahabharat?

I heard about that. But the Mahabharat is open to so many interpretations. It really doesn’t matter how many times we  visit it.

What do you think of Prabhas doing Saaho after Baahubali?

I know  no other actor as  intelligent as  Prabhas.What  I really like about Prabhas is his mature and sensible self-assessment. He  knows exactly what he is worth, no more no less. He neither overestimates  nor underestimates himself. When he got into Baahubali he knew exactly what he was doing. He know the impact the film will have and the influence his character and performance would exercise. He  surrendered himself completely to  Baahubali, as he has surrendered himself to Saaho now.

Do you meet Prabhas and the rest  of the Baahubali team?

We’ve all moved on.Of course we  connect.  But everyone had other commitment waiting for them.

Finally, are you moving into a new home now?

No  not at all. I am very happy in my two-bedroom flat which has been home for years. It is enough space  for the three of us.

Even for the Baahubali director?

Specially for  him(laughs).

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