‘IF YOU HAVE A GOOD STORY TOLD WELL, IT WILL WORK’

India Today - - COVER STORY / CINEMA -

S.S. Ra­jamouli tells In­dia To­day Deputy Editor Amar­nath K. Menon what it took to make his mega ven­ture

Q. In what ways has the mak­ing of Baahubali been a chal­lenge? A.

One of the big­gest chal­lenges had to be shoot­ing the first part. We shot for around 380 days, and af­ter 330 days, I could feel the energy lev­els go­ing low. I don’t know how it is in other in­dus­tries, but as far as our in­dus­try is con­cerned, ev­ery­body takes their energy from the direc­tor. I my­self was very ex­hausted but I was act­ing as if I was full of energy and was pumping it into the whole team.

No mat­ter how chal­leng­ing it might get, I don’t like to com­pro­mise on my vi­sion. I’m well aware that I have put my ac­tors in dif­fi­cult po­si­tions be­cause of my vi­sion, but when they see I work for the bet­ter­ment of the prod­uct, they un­der­stand the pain I put them through.

Q. What is con­tribut­ing to the films’ suc­cess? A.

I know that if you have a uni­ver­sal theme and a good story told well, it will work every­where. The suc­cess of Baahubali across the coun­try proves my the­ory right.

In child­hood, we used to read sto­ries from the Ara­bian Nights. Why were we so in­ter­ested when it hap­pened some­where in Ara­bia, in a dif­fer­ent cul­ture? Un­til now, we hadn’t gone to the Hindi au­di­ence with a good story. There were films like Roja by Mani Rat­nam and Shankar’s End­hi­ran (Ro­bot) which did well na­tion­ally.

As al­ways, it’s the fans who’ve pushed it to the heights it has reached. And the con­sis­tent ef­fort by the pro­duc­tion house to tap new mar­kets.

Q. How would you de­scribe the art of sto­ry­telling and the craft of film­mak­ing in this ven­ture?

A. No one can ever cre­ate art, even on a piece of pa­per, as they have en­vi­sioned it in their mind. Be­cause there are no lim­its, you can­not frame the mind, you can imagine what­ever you want, whereas putting it on pa­per, in writ­ing form, on cel­lu­loid, [each medium] has its own lim­i­ta­tions, so you can never do com­plete jus­tice to what­ever you have cre­ated in your mind. That can never be achieved. But what I look at is whether I have given my one hun­dred per cent in try­ing to achieve what I have in my mind. If I’ve done it to only 99 per cent of my abil­ity then I curse my­self and feel I haven’t done jus­tice to the story.

I don’t be­lieve in luck. Ev­ery­thing is our do­ing or un­do­ing. If some­thing doesn’t come out right, then as a direc­tor you have to take full re­spon­si­bil­ity. You can’t just say no I gave this job to the mu­sic su­per­vi­sor, they promised me they would do it and they didn’t do it. You can’t blame any­one else.

Q. Ap­par­ently this is not your mag­num opus. What would it be and when will it come?

A.

The Ma­hab­harata, with­out any doubt. That is what I would do. Even if I have so many re­stric­tions, if I don’t have the free­dom, I’ll still make it one day.

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