SS Rajamouli has emerged as one of the most influential filmmakers in Indian cinema. His films are selling more tickets in the Hindi belt now than in the South Indian states. He has also become the latest drawcard for Indian cinema for Western audiences, thanks to his latest blockbuster RRR.
However, there was a time when Rajamouli wondered if he could ever make a film that could match a Bollywood film in terms of scale and quality. An old video of Rajamouli sharing his thoughts on the supremacy of Bollywood during the audio launch function of Prabhas-starrer Billa (2009) has surfaced online.
“A few years ago, when Dhoom 2 was released, I wondered how even Bollywood directors could achieve such quality. We don’t have actors like Hrithik Roshan? Can we make movies like this? As I was wondering about these questions, I saw a song by Billa and his posters. And now we’ve seen the trailer. I must say now that Hrithik Roshan is nothing in front of Prabhas. I thank Meher Ramesh for taking the quality of Telugu cinema beyond Bollywood and to the level of English films,” said Rajamouli.
Tollywood star Allu Arjun was also present at the event and echoed SS Rajamouli’s sentiments. “I’ll say it in just one word. Prabhas is my favorite hero apart from family members. Is beautiful. he can compete very well and is number 1 in everything. As Rajamouli said, Hrithik Roshan is nothing in front of him,” he added.
The tables have turned dramatically since that SS Rajamouli speech. Today, films from south India are surpassing Hindi films not only in terms of scale and budget, but also in box office. In 2022, two films (RRR and KGF: Chapter 2) originating from south India did a worldwide business of over 1000 crore each. At the same time, films starring some of Bollywood’s biggest superstars are struggling to find fans in the Hindi heartland.
After this speech, Rajamouli went on to work with Prabhas in the Baahubali series. And the director changed the face of Indian cinema. Prabhas also became the new pan-Indian star.
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