‘One right-wing politician threatened to burn down the theatre’

Directed by SS Rajamouli and headlined by Jr NTR and Ram Charan, the period action blockbuster RRR made India proud at the 95th Academy Awards as the music composer MM Keeravani and lyricist Chandrabose won the Best Original Song for its energetic and infectious track Naatu Naatu.

In a recent interview, Rajamouli recalled that his film was subjected to violent backlash before even its release when the BJP Telangana President Bandi Sanjay Kumar threatened to burn down the theatres showing RRR and beat the filmmaker publicly if a scene showing Jr NTR wearing a skullcap wasn’t removed from the film.

Speaking to Sight & Sound, the filmmaker said, “Having made 12 films, my understanding is that if there is no backlash from any quarter, it means people are not paying attention to the film. The minute a film or moment starts getting recognition or traction, there will be people who want to condemn it in some way.”

“In RRR, (one of the heroes) wears a skullcap and appears as a Muslim. One right-wing politician (MP Bandi Sanjay Kumar) threatened to burn down the theatre and beat me publicly if I didn’t remove the shot. At the same time, there were many left-wing people who accused me of propagating Hindu nationalism”, Rajamouli added.

The director, who also helmed the two blockbuster Baahubali films, concluded that he doesn’t consider himself an extreme nationalist or a pseudo-liberal as he stated, “I don’t like extreme people, for whatever cause they’re fighting. There are those who don’t have the patience to see why a particular character might be wearing a skullcap, and those who find excuses to perceive Hindu nationalism. These are extreme nationalists and pseudo-liberals, and I am happy to be neither.”

A fictional tale set around the lives of two Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitaram Raju and Komaram Bheem, essayed by Ram Charan and Jr NTR respectively, RRR was released in March 2022 and has grossed over Rs 1200 crore at the box office worldwide.

READ | Jr NTR, Ram Charan were originally supposed to perform RRR’s Naatu Naatu at Oscars 2023 but later backed out, know why

Originally published at www.dnaindia.com

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