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Interview with RRR actor Ram Charan

In Telugu cinema, actor Ram Charan is a superstar. But now, thanks to RRR, he is known the world over. His energetic performance with his equally energetic dance moves seems to have captured audiences far and wide.

In an email interview, Charan talks about working with director S.S. Rajamouli, the success of RRR and his impressions of Los Angeles.

This is the second time that you’ve worked with Rajamouli. What was this experience like compared with the other?

Working with Rajamouli Garu is always a pleasure, not just for me but for every actor because there is a lot to learn from him! And yes, definitely, the experience has been multifold for this project because my character demanded a lot of variations in the film. Also, the journey had become even more interesting because I could share screen space with my brother, Tarak.

You come from a family of actors. Do you discuss each other’s projects and help each other? Is there competition or jealousy between you?

I’d like to point out that there is definitely healthy competition between us. I share a very close bond with my father. Even if my film does not perform well at the box office, he never asks me about it. He is more concerned about whether I am sleeping early at night or not, whether I am reaching my sets on time or not, etc.

It is rumored that you and your co-star N.T. Rama Rao, Jr. were not the best of friends and there was competitiveness between the two of you. Is this true?

No, not at all. Many don’t know this, but even before the shooting of the film, we were really close friends. The film just became a medium for us to announce to the world that we are friends. And when it comes to competition, of course, there was competition, but it was very healthy. We always tried to help each other and understand each other’s mental and physical states during the shoot.

It hasn’t been heard of in Indian cinema that two superstars are in the same film. So how did this come about?

I would like to thank Mr. Rajamouli garu [a term of respect in Telugu] for making this happen in our generation. I don’t know whether either of us would agree to the project if it was made by another director.  It was the faith that we had in him that made us say yes to the project.

When you first read the script, what was your impression? And what made you decide to do the film?

To be honest, we first said yes to the film and after a few months, we read the script.  It was the trust in the director that allowed both Tarak and I to agree to do the project without even finalizing the script.

Rajamouli likes his actors to always be fit and in shape. But the pandemic was on so how did you manage to do that? And what is your exercise routine and diet?

I am a person who is very organic in terms of selecting my food. I need all kinds of food and I need my sweets every day. But the worst part was to take a back seat during the pandemic and to not eat any of them.

What was the most difficult scene for you in the movie?

I think the most difficult episode — but also I kind of weirdly had fun with — was the 65 nights shooting the interval sequence when our characters become arch rivals.

In order to do the dance number, how long did it take you to learn the sequence and could you recall the most difficult steps?

The dance steps weren’t really complicated for both of us as we are both trained dancers. The synchronization was the difficult part.  We had to match what Rajamouli garu envisioned and that was the challenging part.

When you did the film, did you imagine it to be this phenomenal success and have the worldwide following that it has today?

No, not really. We were confident that it would work in India but never expected the film to reach the Western audiences. I mean, we all knew that the breakthrough was inevitable, it had to happen at some point and it happened with Baahubali in India. Asia knew who SSR was and now the West is also enjoying his films. The world is becoming a melting pot as boundaries are being erased and there is only one language, i.e, the experience. SSR has cracked that in India and we are very proud to be a part of this journey that was sparked by SSR with RRR.

What are your impressions of Los Angeles and the film community?

We had an exhilarating experience in Los Angeles! We were overwhelmed by their love and support. They embraced RRR and us with open hearts. It felt like it was too good to be true.