S. S. Rajamouli

Koduri Srisaila Sri Rajamouli (Telugu pronunciation: [ɾaːdʒamaʊ̯ɭi]; born 10 October 1973),[3] professionally known as S. S. Rajamouli, is an Indian film director and screenwriter who primarily works in Telugu cinema.[4] He is best known for directing fantasy action films, such as Magadheera (2009) featured at the American Fantastic Fest, Eega (2012) winning Most Original Film at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival, Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) nominated for American Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017) winning the American Saturn Award for Best International Film, and the Australian Telstra People's Choice Award.[5][6][7] The Baahubali franchise became the highest-grossing Indian film series of all time, with a gross of approximately 1,810 crore (US$240 million).[8][9][10][11]

S. S. Rajamouli
S. S. Rajamouli at the trailer launch of Baahubali.jpg
Rajamouli in 2015
Born
Koduri Srisaila Sri Rajamouli

(1973-10-10) 10 October 1973 (age 48)
Other namesJakkanna[1]
Occupation
  • Film director
  • screenwriter
  • producer
Known forTelugu cinema
Spouse(s)
(m. 2001)
Children2
Parent(s)K. V. Vijayendra Prasad (father)
RelativesM. M. Keeravani (cousin)
Kalyani Malik (cousin)
M. M. Srilekha (cousin)
AwardsPadma Shri (2016)[2]

His other works include the action films Sye and Vikramarkudu featured at the 37th International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section.[12] Maryada Ramanna, Vikramarkudu and Chatrapathi were remade in various Indian languages, with successful reviews.[13][14] Rajamouli has garnered various honours including three National Film Awards, four Filmfare Awards South, five state Nandi Awards, the IIFA Award, two SIIMA Awards, the Star World India, "Entertainer of The Year" in 2012, and the "CNN-News18 Indian of the Year in Entertainment" for 2015.[15][16][17] In 2016, he was honoured with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honor for his contributions towards the field of Art.[18]

Early lifeEdit

Rajamouli was born in 1973 in Amareshwara Camp near Manvi in Raichur district of present-day Karnataka state to screenwriter K. V. Vijayendra Prasad and Raja Nandini.[19][20] His family hails from Kovvur in Andhra Pradesh.[21] His primary education was done at Kovvur and his higher education was at Eluru.[22] He lived in Vizag for several years as his mother was from there.[23]

Rajamouli's cousin, M. M. Keeravani has worked music composer for all of his films. His cousin and Keeravani's brother Kalyani Malik and their cousin M. M. Srilekha are also a music composers.[24][25][26] His brother, S. S. Kanchi is also an actor, screenwriter and a director known for Amrutham.[27]

CareerEdit

Early workEdit

Rajamouli started directing Telugu soap operas on ETV, under the guidance of K. Raghavendra Rao. Later on, he directed the TV series Santhi Nivasam, produced by K. Raghavendra Rao. His first shot at Telugu films was Student No.1, with Jr. NTR in 2001. It took two years for Rajamouli to come up with his second film Simhadri. In the two-year gap between Student No.1 and Simhadri, Rajamouli planned his first mythological film with Malayalam actor Mohanlal, but the film eventually got shelved.[28] In 2015, Assistant art director Manu Jagath, who later worked as the art director for Baahubali, released several sketches he had drawn for the shelved Mohanlal project.[29] Rajamouli's third film was Sye, with actors Nithin and Genelia D'Souza. It was a first-of-its-kind film in Tollywood, in that it was based on a rugby game. This film was also the first instance where Rajamouli collaborated with K. K. Senthil Kumar.[30] His next was Chatrapathi, with the music of M. M. Keeravani and cinematography by Senthil Kumar.

2006–2012: BreakthroughEdit

In his next stint Vikramarkudu, Rajamouli worked with Ravi Teja. The film was a big success and was remade into Kannada as Veera Madakari (2009), Tamil as Siruthai (2011), and Hindi as Rowdy Rathore (2012).[31] He then directed Yamadonga, a socio-fantasy film praised by critics. Next was the fantasy-action film Magadheera, starring Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal. Magadheera became one of the biggest commercial successes in Telugu cinema and was the highest-grossing Telugu film at the end of its theatrical run. For Magadheera, Rajamouli won the Nandi Award for Best Director and Filmfare Award for Best Director – Telugu for the film. This film also won the National Film Award for Best Choreography,[32] and launched the leads into stardom. His action comedy film Maryada Ramanna (2010) was remade in Hindi as Son of Sardaar and into other languages like Tamil, Kannada, Bengali, and Malayalam.[33][34] In 2012 Rajamouli stated in an interview with Maa TV that Maryada Ramanna was his personal favourite film among all the films he had directed.[35]

 
Ajay Devgn, Nani and Rajamouli during the special screening of Makkhi-(Hindi dubbed version of Eega (2012).

Rajamouli's 2012 action-fantasy film Eega was screened to critical acclaim at L'Étrange Film Festival.[36][37][38] The Tamil version Naan Ee was screened at the 10th Chennai International Film Festival.[39][40] The Telugu version has also garnered awards for the Most Original Film, Best Special Effects, Best Comedy, Best Fights, Best Film to Watch with a Crowd, Best Editing, Best Villain and Best Hero at the 8th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival.[41] The Telugu version was also screened the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the Panorama section of the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival and Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival.[42][43][44] The film has received Best art direction award at the Fantaspoa film festival of Brazil.[45] Also, it has been nominated for six awards including Best film, Best Cinematographer, Best Special effects, Best Music Composer, Best Editor and Best supporting Actor for the Madrid International Film Festival.[46]

2013–present: Baahubali and beyondEdit

In 2015, he directed the epic action film Baahubali: The Beginning, which became the second highest grossing Indian film of all time, and the highest grossing Indian film of all time within India.[47][48][49][50] The making of the epic film was featured in BBC's documentary on 100 Years of Indian cinema, directed by Sanjeev Bhaskar.[51][52][53] The film was shot using Arri Alexa XT camera, marking Rajamouli's first film using digital camera.[54][55] Rajamouli's work was cited by The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian and The Huffington Post.[56][57] The film was nominated in four categories at the 42nd Saturn Awards of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in Los Angeles, USA.[58]

Baahubali: The Beginning was screened at the Open Cinema Strand of Busan International Film Festival, Indian Film Festival The Hague,[59] Sitges Film Festival in Spain,[60] Utopiales Film Festival in France,[61] Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei, Taiwan,[62] Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia,[63] L'Etrange International Film Festival in Paris,[64] Five Flavours Film Festival in Poland,[65] Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in Brussels, Belgium,[66][67] and the Cannes Film Festival.[68][69] The part II - Baahubali 2: The Conclusion was premiered at the British Film Institute,[5][70] and was the inaugural feature film at the 39th Moscow International Film Festival.[71][72][19]

Rajamouli's upcoming film RRR (2021) is a period drama based on the lives of Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem. Made on a budget of 400 crore, it is one of the most expensive Indian films. The film features NTR Jr, Ram Charan, Alia Bhatt, and Ajay Devgn.[73] Rajamouli is also committed to collaborate with actor Mahesh Babu. Its production is expected to begin in 2022.[74] Rajamouli also spoke about his intention to make a film based on the Hindu epic Mahabharata in the future.[75]

Personal lifeEdit

Rajamouli married Rama Rajamouli in 2001. Rama has worked as a costume designer for many of Rajamouli's films. He has adopted Karthikeya, Rama's son from her previous marriage. The couple also has an adopted daughter.[76] Karthikeya is married to Pooja Prasad, niece of Telugu actor Jagapathi Babu.[77]

In April 2017, Rajamouli said that he is an atheist. He considers Bhakti, in terms of subservience to a higher power, as a strong emotion, and he uses it as a storytelling element in his films.[78] In May 2017, Rajamouli visited Mantralayam along with his family and prayed to village deity Manchalamma and Raghavendra Swamy for their blessings. Speaking on the occasion, Rajamouli said that he was so elated that his films are well received by the audience and wished that the blessings of Sri Raghavendra Swamy be always showered upon him.[79]

Directorial styleEdit

ThemesEdit

Rajamouli's films have themes often related to fantasy and Hindu mythology. He frequently admits that his films are inspired by Ramayana and Mahabharata.[80] The idea of reincarnation is first used in Magadheera, following that it was next seen in Eega. Devarsi Ghosh of India Today observed and said that "the themes of a orphaned hero, a secret backstory, a separated family and a protagonist in search of his/her origins were so prominent in Rajamouli's films."[81]

FilmographyEdit

Key
  Denotes films that have not yet been released
 
Rajamouli and Sabu Cyril on the set of Bahubali the Beginning

DirectorEdit

Year Film Language Direction Screenplay Story Notes
2001 Student No.1 Telugu Yes No No
2003 Simhadri Telugu Yes Yes No
2004 Sye Telugu Yes Yes No
2005 Chatrapathi Telugu Yes Yes No
2006 Vikramarkudu Telugu Yes Yes No
2007 Yamadonga Telugu Yes Yes No
2009 Magadheera Telugu Yes Yes No
2010 Maryada Ramanna Telugu Yes Yes No
2012 Eega Telugu
Tamil
Yes Yes Yes Released in Tamil as Naan Ee
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Telugu
Tamil
Yes Yes No
2017 Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Telugu
Tamil
Yes Yes No
2022 RRR Telugu Yes Yes No

ProducerEdit

Year Title Notes Ref.
2012 Andala Rakshasi Co-produced with Sai Korrapati [82]
2021 Baahubali: Before the Beginning Netflix original series [83]

Cameo appearancesEdit

Year Film Role
2004 Sye Nalla Balu's henchman
2008 Rainbow Himself
2012 Eega Voice role, Narrator
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Toddy seller
2016 Majnu Himself

Awards and nominationsEdit

 
Rajamouli receiving the ANR National Award from the Vice President Venkaiah Naidu, 2017
Honorary Awards
Year Award Honouring body Result Ref.
2014 BN Reddy National Award Government of Andhra Pradesh Won [84]
2016 Padma Shri Government of India Won [85]
2017 ANR National Award Akkineni International Foundation Won [86]
National Film Awards
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2012 Eega Best Feature Film in Telugu Won [87]
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Feature Film Won [88]
2017 Baahubali: The Conclusion Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment Won [89]
Filmfare Awards South
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2009 Magadheera Best Director – Telugu Won [90]
2012 Eega Best Director – Telugu Won [91]
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Director – Telugu Won [92]
2017 Baahubali: The Conclusion Best Director – Telugu Won [93]
Nandi Awards (Andhra Pradesh State Film Awards)
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2009 Magadheera Best Director Won [94]
2012 Eega Best Director Won [95]
Best Screenplay Writer Won
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Director Won [96]
IIFA Utsavam
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Director – Tamil Nominated [97]
Best Director – Telugu Won [98]
South Indian International Movie Awards
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2012 Eega Best Director – Telugu Nominated [99]
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Director – Telugu Won [100]
2017 Baahubali: The Conclusion Best Director – Telugu Won [101]
CineMAA Awards
Year Work Category Result Ref.
2009 Magadheera Best Director Won
2015 Baahubali: The Beginning Best Director Won [102]

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External linksEdit