SS Rajamouli credits Netflix for exposing his Tollywood blockbuster to a global audience.
One of Netflix’s most surprising hits of 2022 was “RRR,” SS Rajamouli’s sprawling Tollywood epic about the unlikely friendship between two Indian revolutionaries. From finely choreographed dance numbers and CGI lions to copious amounts of memorable bromance moments, the film truly has everything an audience could want. And while it was always intended to be a theatrical blockbuster in India, it also found a large global audience once it started streaming on Netflix. At this point, the film has exceeded everyone’s expectations, including Rajamouli’s.
“Yes, I was surprised at the reception from the West,” Rajamouli said in a new interview with Entertainment Weekly. “A good story is a good story for everyone, but I didn’t think I could make films suitable for Western sensibilities. I never believed myself. So when it came out on Netflix and people started watching it, and word of mouth started spreading, when the reviews started giving great reviews, yeah I was really, really surprised.
The comments were made during a conversation between Rajamouli and Joe and Anthony Russo, who recently directed ‘The Gray Man’ for Netflix. The three men are responsible for some of the biggest blockbusters of the century to date, and they discussed the challenges and rewards of large-scale cinema.
“I think you’ve seen over the last decade [that] action movies have become more popular,” said Anthony Russo. “And things like comedy, sometimes things that are specific to cultural sensitivities or understandings… they haven’t been as popular as they once were. And I think that speaks to the fact that action is a language that strongly connects global audiences.
The Russo Brothers clearly think Rajamouli is pretty good at speaking the global language of action, as they had nothing but praise for his work on “RRR.”
“What I think is so amazing about [‘RRR’] is the emotion it evokes, combined with the spectacle,” Joe Russo said. “And I would say that in five years, [digital distribution] has probably done more for diversity and access to diverse, international films than Hollywood has done in 50 years.
“RRR” is now streaming on Netflix.