Masses or classes, S S Rajamouli’s hold on the audience transcends barriers, says actor Nani, who describes the ”RRR” director as the ultimate ”brand ambassador” of big-screen entertainment.
While the phenomenal response to ”RRR” may have made Rajamouli a force to reckon with internationally, the actor said he is not surprised by the world cinema circuit embracing the master filmmaker with open arms.
Nani collaborated with the director on the 2012 Telugu-Tamil sleeper h it ”Eega”, better known as ”Makkhi” to the Hindi-speaking audiences.
”His vision is something else for big screen entertainment, there is no other brand ambassador, who can really… The entire theatrical experience should thank Rajamouli sir because he is the one who believes in big screen entertainment,” the 39-year-old actor told PTI in an interview here.
Popular Telugu song ”Naatu Naatu”, composed by M M Keeravaani and penned by Chandrabose, earlier this month won the Best Original Song Oscar, making ”RRR” the first Indian production to bring home the golden statuette in the category. It was the third major international recognition for the song after Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award wins.
Upon its March 2022 release ”RRR”, a fictional action epic inspired by real-life Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR), emerged as a massive box office draw with reported worldwide earnings of Rs 1,200 crore.
When it comes to having a finger on the pulse of the viewers, Nani said, Rajamouli’s acumen is unparalleled.
”He does it so well that it crosses language barriers, countries, or it doesn’t have the limitation of audience of this or that kind… There is a multiplex or single-screen audience, masses and classes… All of them rush to theatres when it is his film. His eye for understanding the pulse of the audience is on a different level altogether,” he added.
The Hyderabad-born star recalled how he was an upcoming actor when he worked on fantasy action film ”Eega” (The Fly). In the 2012 film, Nani’s character reincarnates as a fly to avenge his murder at the hands of Sudeep (Kichcha Sudeepa) and protect his love interest Bindu, played by Samantha Ruth Prabhu.
”I had done five films and he (Rajamouli) saw some potential. When he was doing ‘Makkhi’, it was not a star film or anything like that where he (his character) is a star from beginning to end,” Nani, also known for blockbusters such as ”Ashta Chamma”, ”Gentleman”, and ”Jersey”, said.
Rajamouli needed ”a young hero”, he said, adding that he would get ”40 minutes of space” in ”Eega”, which had a runtime of 2.23 hours.
”He wanted people to like him and then once he went, he wanted people to empathise with the fly, thinking this guy is back. And that’s how they approached the story and the rest is history,” the actor reminisced.
Nani described ”Eega” as the film that made him a ”pan-India” actor.
”It (‘Eega’) introduced me to everyone outside Telugu states. If I was known then, that was the beginning. That was the first time a lot of people heard about me or knew about me… through ‘Makkhi’. So, in a way, that connection (with Rajamouli) started from there ,” he said.
The actor is awaiting the release of his first pan-India film ”Dasara”, scheduled to hit screens Thursday. Set in a village situated in Singareni Coal Mines in Peddapalli district of Telangana, the film is directed by debutant Srikanth Odela and will be released in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi.
Nani is currently working on his 30th film, which he described as a ”heartwarming tale about a father and daughter”. It is directed by debutant director Shouryuv, and also stars ”Sita Ramam” star Mrunal Thakur.