January 7, 2022, is a date that is looked forward to with feverish anticipation by both the Indian film audience and the film industry of the subcontinent as a whole. This is the scheduled release date for the “RRR” blockbuster.
“RRR” will be the first project for director SS Rajamouli after the “Baahubali” films (2015 and 2017), which together grossed a whopping $ 330 million. It is also the first film release since 2018’s “Aravinda Sametha Veera Raghava” for Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao Jr., popularly known as NTR Jr., one of the biggest stars in India’s telugu-language film industry.
The star is named after his grandfather, Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao, or NTR, an actor, filmmaker and politician who was a towering figure in his lifetime and has left a lasting legacy. NTR Jr. debuted in his grandfather’s mythological film “Brahmarshi Vishwamitra” (1991) as a child actor.
“RRR”, a time-typical action drama, is NTR Jr.’s 29th film. He plays a freedom fighter, Komaram Bheem, who fought against Nizam from Hyderabad, and his journey is equated with the journey of Alluri Sitarama Raju, played by Ram Charan, who rebelled against the colonial British.
NTR Jr. describes the “RRR” journey that began in November 2018 as a “hard ride” with breaks as India went through pandemic lockdowns. “It really required a lot of dedication, and it was day in and day out,” the actor said Variety about the process of preparing mentally and physically for the role.
Among the first released footage released for “RRR” is from a song that NTR Jr. reveals was recorded in Kiev, Ukraine when the pandemic meant it could not be recorded in India and there was also a demand for white dancers. The song has NTR Jr and Ram Charan matching steps in perfect sync.
“We did take after take, the steps where the leg goes left, right, front and back, which took us about 15 to 18 tags to perfection,” said NTR Jr. “He [Rajamouli] was so hell bent on both of us being in sync, he used to record the step, go back, step, freeze it, see how the legs move, see how the hands move, do they move synchronously or not? ”
The actor questioned why his director was so reluctant to achieve the synchronization and why they recorded 12 hours a day to achieve it. “When the song came out and I was watching online, I saw people’s comments and everyone was just talking about the sync. I just called him and I said, ‘How do you know this?’ “He’s a taskmaster. And that’s why he’s one of the greatest instructors in India, and today the song goes viral.”
The song, which has been viewed on YouTube more than 26 million times so far, is just one of the benchmarks against the weight of expectations that popular talent in India has to deal with ahead of a major release.
“Expectation and expectation is something we’ll have to deal with, and when you’ve connected with Rajamouli, you know this person is not going to go wrong,” says NTR Jr. “This guy has really not failed people with their expectations, no matter what they are.”
The actor’s journey with his director began in 2001 with an adult film “Student No. 1”, NTR Jrs second film as an adult protagonist and Rajamoulis’ feature film debut. The film was a resounding success and paved the way for successful careers for both.
“I think we never dreamed of getting to a scene like this, every movie was a bonus,” NTR Jr. said. “Every success helped us strengthen our goals, our vision or the desire to stay in the industry a little more. When we achieve ‘Baahubali’ and do ‘RRR’ today, it’s a Cinderella story for us. It has been a fantastic journey. ”
“You can not plan it, you can be a good actor, but being a star is a by-product of being a good actor for me,” adds NTR Jr.
Next up for the actor is a project currently known as “NTR 30”, which reunites him with his “Janatha Garage” director Koratala Siva. NTR Jr. reveals that the film is a revenge drama and will begin production in February 2022. The actor will also work with filmmaker Prashant Neel, who directed the magnum opus “KGF” (2018), in a project called “NTR 31.” NTR Jr. says the film will be on the “KGF” scale, and it will start production in October 2022.
Meanwhile, “RRR”, who also plays Bollywood actors Ajay Dvgn and Alia Bhatt, is threatening. “People are slowly starting to come to the cinemas. I would not say it’s 100% revenue, but it’s better than it was before, “said NTR Jr.” It’s going to take time before people actually start to feel safe again. And slowly, film by film, it will go up, is what I expect. So when ‘RRR’ comes out on January 7, this is one such film that will really bring the film’s glory back to theaters. “