SS Rajamouli can be called the Midas of Indian cinema. Whatever movies he touches turns to box office gold.
He is riding high on the success of his second magnus opus (technically third, if you count Baahubali 1 and 2 separately) ‘RRR’, which is on its way to smashing records every day.
While it is difficult to deliver blockbuster hits back-to-back, what is even more rare is to top the already sky-high expectations and break the benchmarks you created and surpass them. SS Rajamouli seems to be doing just that.
It seems like Rajamouli can do no wrong at this point. However, every one starts out the same way and the road to perfection is far from perfect.
This is a throwback to a time when Rajamouli was an ace filmmaker but only in South Cinema and he was attempting to make a grand 2-part mythological period film for which he was scouting the best talents who could bring the grandeur he envisioned onto the big screen.
The fact is that before Ramya Krishnan played Queen Sivagami (and now we cannot imagine anyone else play it as majestically), Rajamouli approached the late Sridevi for the part.
He wasn’t wrong in his thinking, which was aiming for pan-India success even then, and an actress like Sridevi who has fans both in the North and South would pull in audiences.
However, Sridevi rejected the role – the reasons were never clear. It could be she demanded more than Rajamouli was willing to pay, she wasn’t convinced about the script or she wanted more screen time, it could be a multitude of reasons.
But Rajamouli at the time, did not handle the rejection well and during the promotions of Baahubali let slip some inconsiderate remarks about Sridevi saying she had too many financial expectations and starry demands which is why she rejected Baahubali.
Sridevi was deeply saddened by these comments and later in an interview with DNA the actress candidly said, “First of all, I can’t believe he (Rajamouli) would talk like that. Secondly, I am not the kind to make any kind of demands. Whatever happened with Baahubali is in the past. Why are we talking about it now? There are so many roles that I’ve turned down in the past. I think it’s highly impolite to talk about the films you don’t do.”
Her on point response clearly caused Rajamouli some discomfort as later on he admitted that he was wrong to speak of an actress he admired in this manner at a public forum. The filmmaker said, “I shouldn’t have discussed the details on a public platform. That’s a mistake. And I regret it.”