How do you look back at your association with SS Rajamouli?
I remember meeting Rajamouli sir at his office for Chatrapathi. Prabhas was also there. I remember him as a tall, naughty guy. He used to call everyone darling back then. We had a great time working on that film and it became a hit. Then Rajamouli sir and I lost touch. When Baahubali was released, I called him and said that I wanted to work with him again. He said, “Sure”.
Did he offer you a role in RRR? How did you react?When he offered me the part in RRR and we were working out the dates, I didn’t know much about the part. I didn’t even know that Ajay Devgn was going to be there in the film. They had canceled the shoot once. The next time it was planned was the day of my cousin’s wedding. I had to leave the wedding and go to Hyderabad. Rama ma’am (Rajamouli’s wife) told me, “Trust me. It will be worth leaving the wedding.”
It was a small role. I knew it. But I fell in love with that part and enjoyed playing it. I was asking Rajamouli sir about what inspires him. He said, “It’s all the books that I have read since childhood. From Ramayan to Amar Chitra Katha.” Rajamouli sir also has had pretty much the same team for a long time. So, you can see that there’s mutual love and respect between them.
What kind of a person is SS Rajamouli when he is not shooting?
He is very funny. He likes it when someone makes fun of him. He is simple and always smiling. On the sets too, you’d see him chilling with his dog. No drama at all. While filming, food for the sets used to come from his house.
What do you feel about RRR’s journey to international acclaim, building up to the Oscars?
When you go to a film set, you know whether it’s a good feeling or not. The RRR set had a good feeling. Everyone worked really hard on the film. The film looks nice. People like Steven Spielberg have appreciated the film so it’s huge. Every film has its luck and I hope RRR goes higher and higher. Rajamouli sir got a big asthma attack during the filming of RRR because of dust. But he only took a break for one day and came back to work. It was difficult. But he doesn’t give up.