SS Rajamouli says RRR is not agenda-driven, adds that he faced objections from both Hindus and Muslims
In a recent interview, director SS Rajamouli addressed some of the criticisms on his global hit RRR and also said that he tries to keep a distance from any kind of propaganda.
RRR has proven to be a big hit worldwide, and created history last month to be the first Indian film to be nominated in the Best Original Song category at the Oscars. While many loved the action sequences in the film, there were some criticisms of the film's identification with the populist Hindu sentiment, with mythological characters given a fictional retelling. In a recent interview, the director opened up about the criticism and responded if there's any pressure of representation. (Also read: SS Rajamouli reveals being hesitant with RRR's Naatu Naatu 'for long time', says he 'never dreamt of an Oscar'. See post)
In a recent interview with The New Yorker, Rajamouli was asked if there was any added pressure being put on him, whether it be from the anti-Muslim or pro-nationalist, from B.J.P. supporters or even the R.S.S. in terms of his filmmaking decisions. To this Rajamouli said, "No, never directly, never. No one’s ever approached me to make an agenda film, whatever the agenda is. Still, for a long time, less prominent people sometimes found objections to my films. Sometimes Muslims have had objections, sometimes Hindus, sometimes different castes."
The director also elaborated that his father V. Vijayendra Prasad has written a script about the R.S.S. which made him cry several times. Although he admits that he does not fully know about the history of the organization his reaction was not around that. Talking about the audience for his films, Rajamouli said, "When I say the audience, I imagine people who are coming to theatres and paying some money to get entertained. Entertainment is what I provide. In the audience, there might also be people who have some extreme notions. But just because they are part of my audience doesn’t mean I’m going to cater to those extreme notions. I distance myself from either Hindu or pseudo-liberal propaganda. I know there are audience members from those extreme groups in my audience. I know that, but I’m not catering to them. I’m just catering to the emotional needs of the audience."
RRR, a pre-independence fictional story, follows two real-life Indian revolutionaries – Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Jr NTR) – in the 1920s. The film also stars Alia Bhatt, Ajay Devgn, and Olivia Morris among others.