RRR Director S.S. Rajamouli On The Reason For The Indian Epic’s Worldwide Success: ‘Its Unapologetic Heroism’ – Exclusive


by Owen Williams |

As much as Netflix would like it to be, creating buzz with audiences is far from an exact science. Sometimes, the streaming behemoth will provide a ton of marketing support to a project that isn’t hugely well received – but, there are other instances of breakout films and TV shows that drop onto the service without much fanfare at all, and yet take everyone by complete surprise. Hwang Dong-hyuk’s South Korean survival ordeal Squid Game was one of those, and another happy recipient of that kind of unexpected word-of-mouth success this year was S.S. Rajamouli’s bombastic, three-hour-long, Telugu-language, musical action epic: RRR.

“I myself am surprised,” the director tells Empire, rather understatedly, of a film that smashed cultural boundaries much as a truck full of wild animals might storm the gates of a palace. “India has a huge diaspora around the world, and I thought the film would do good wherever Indian audiences were. But then the reception started coming from Westerners. I didn’t expect any of this.” He does have one theory, though: “Covid I’m sure was a factor,” Rajamouli tells us modestly. “When everything got shut down, the whole world started looking into different cultures, absorbing content from different countries, in different languages.” But he also suggests that it might be “RRR’s unapologetic action sequences; its unapologetic heroism” that have captured people’s imaginations worldwide. So he will allow that maybe, just maybe, people flocked to his film because it’s awesome.

It wasn’t just Netflix audiences that took notice – the film has gained some famous fans along the way, too. When Empire spoke to Rajamouli, he was Zooming to us from an LA hotel, prior to a screening of RRR at the famous Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. American comedy superstars Seth Rogen and Adam McKay have stated their appreciation for the film, and Rajamouli has since taken meetings with Sam Raimi and the Russo brothers. He may have conquered Tollywood – but now, it seems, Hollywood could be calling…

Empire Dec 22

Read Empire’s RRR piece in full in the new Review Of The Year issue – on sale Thursday 27 October, or pre-order a copy online here. RRR is streaming on Netflix now.

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