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