As it clinches the Oscar’s Best Original song for the foot-tapping ‘Naatu Naatu’ song, the film RRR has opened up the world market for Indian films. Confined largely to India, the Diaspora, and a few Far-eastern countries, Indian films are yet to tap into lucrative Western markets.
Riding on the current wave and the prize at the Oscars, the producers can now quickly tap box-office opportunities in Europe and the Americas. Though it was already screened in the US for the Diaspora, it can now target the local language audiences in those markets.
Made with a budget of over ₹550 crore, the film has already collected ₹1,200 crore. The producers of the film have spent heavily on lobbying, meeting influential voters at the prestigious film committee to catch their attention.
businessline interview: In India, it’s still a director’s world, says SS Rajamouli
Veteran Telugu film producer Tammareddy Bharadwaja flayed the RRR team for spending a lavish ₹80 crore on lobbying alone to push the film at the Oscars. “We can make ten movies with that kind of money,” he said.
But those who are aware of the ways of Hollywood know how things work at the Oscars. SS Rajamouli, the director of the film, knows this well, too. An out-and-out commercial filmmaker, he knows how to brand and market his movies.
His nationwide tour ahead of the RRR release shows how particular he is about promoting his films. The team spent over ₹80 crore on promotions alone.
In fact, he played a big role in the success of ‘Pushpa’ in the Northern markets. He forced the ‘Pushpa’ makers to promote the film in a big way in Mumbai. Before his advice, the Pushpa producers virtually had no plan to release the film in the north.
In spending lavishly for the Oscars run-up, Rajamouli knows how important it is for him to get the attention of the who’s who of the world films and world markets for expanding the market for his future films.
SS Rajamouli, who already made it big with back-to-back pan-India hits with Baahubali-1 and 2, seems to have set his eyes on the world market. If the multi-crore high-profile campaign over the last few months ahead of Oscar’s award function is any indication, Team Rajamouli has bigger plans for his upcoming flick with South Indian actor Mahesh Babu.
Also read: All you want to know about Naatu Naatu
“It’s going to be an action-adventure drama with a global setting,” Rajamouli had indicated recently. He is expected to begin work on the film in the next few months.
RRR, the film
The film, a fictitious story where two legendary freedom fighters Alluri Sita Rama Raju and Kumuram Bhim fought against the British, courted controversies while in production and after it was released. BJP leaders in Telangana threatened to stall the release of the movie after the film crew released a still where Bhim was shown sporting Muslim attire.
Rajamouli never believed in churning out more films. That he directed just 12 movies in a 23-year-old career shows how guarded he is with projects. All of them hit the bull’s eye at the box office.
In 2015, he launched himself on the ‘pan-India’ film market with ‘Baahubali’, which went on to become a blockbuster. This was followed by its sequel ‘Baahubali-2’, which broke the records created by its predecessor. Weaved around a Chandamama-genre movie, the two films enthralled not just Indian film lovers. With its Hollywood-standard production values and visual appeal, the film turned out to be a huge hit in the Eastern markets as well.
Then comes RRR in 2022, starring Jr NTR and Ramcharan. His fourth movie with Jr NTR and second with Ramcharan, the movie offered much beyond what was expected of him. The peppy number ‘Naatu Naatu’ caught the imagination of global audiences as well. It created a buzz even before the nomination process for this year’s Oscars began.
Home away from home
Rajamouli’s way of filmmaking is way different from his peers. He has pieced together an ‘in-house’ film production team. While his father Vijayendraprasad is the story-writer for all of his films, his wife Rama designs the costumes, while his cousin Keeravani scores the music. Besides being an arranger for his composer-father’s songs, Kalabhairava sings too in Rajamouli’s films. Rajamouli’s son takes care of production lines, while Keeravani’s wife Srivalli takes care of the whole production team, making it a closely-knit film production house.