Article: The art of perfection: SS Rajamouli’s journey into making RRR

Leadership

The art of perfection: SS Rajamouli’s journey into making RRR

While the East and the West are lost in the magic of RRR, we can’t help but look at the director, SS Rajamouli who has been known to strive for perfection with each of his films, including the pre-Independence fictional story.
The art of perfection: SS Rajamouli’s journey into making RRR

The maverick filmmaker, SS Rajamouli, who has brought home a Golden Globe (for Best Original Song - Naatu Naatu) and two Critics Choice Awards (for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Song - Naatu Naatu) with his magnum opus RRR, is the talk of the town today. While people in India have always been ardent fans of his films, including Magadheera, Eega and Baahubali, the West is going bonkers only now, with the 49-year-old being named best director by the New York Film Critics Circle. In one of his recent Twitter posts, Rajamouli has revealed how the celebrated filmmaker James Cameron has watched RRR twice and analysed the film for 10 minutes with him at the 28th Critics Choice Awards in Los Angeles. In the weeks to come, Indians will be waiting with bated breath as there are murmurs that the film could be poised to receive attention in numerous categories as the Academy Awards nominations will be unveiled. 

The director, who has won many prestigious domestic accolades in his 20-year-long career is touted to be a perfectionist at work. But Rajamouli has spoken extensively in several interviews about the tag and how he only tries to bring perfection to his films even though he realises that nothing is perfect in life. In one of his interviews, he had shared, "People term me as a perfectionist because I take so much time (to make a film) but I am far from it. I would like everything to be perfect. You can get closer to perfect but nothing can ever be perfect.”

While we agree that each shot in the film RRR, which narrates the tale of real-life Indian revolutionaries Alluri Sitarama Raju and Komaram Bheem has been picturised with utmost perfection, it didn’t come easy. The filmmaker, who is known to look through each and every scene shot on a day-to-day basis, was not satisfied with a few scenes after the film was wrapped up. And that’s when he decided to call his lead actors, Jr NTR and Ram Charan  to reshoot a few scenes to get them exactly as he had imagined in his mind’s eye. 

One of the lead actors, Jr NTR, who played Komaram Bheem, at the special screening of RRR at Directors Guild of America Theatre, revealed how the acclaimed filmmaker never settles for just 99.9 per cent and wants ‘a 110 per cent’. Speaking about the song that won the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award, Naatu Naatu, he revealed that Rajamouli was adamant to get the song right with him and Charan. “We shot it on the last leg of the film. We were tortured for 65 nights…We’ve done complicated steps, but Naatu Naatu is not about the steps being complicated, it was the synchronisation, which Rajamouli stressed on.”

He further revealed, “We shot that song for 12 days, and this man would torture us from 8-8, we would sleep at 11:30, and wake up at 5:30. He was so hell-bent on sychronisation, watching on the monitor if the legs and hands went together, and I was like ‘Jesus, why are you doing this?’ I never understood why he was stressing on synchronisation so much.”

With the song creating history with the first Golden Globe win by an Indian film and the praises that have been showered on the actors from across the globe, it seems that Rajamouli had a vision and knew that it was the synchronisation that would make the song stand out. 

As it is with films, when it comes to work, we can all argue that perfection is something we strive for, but with the changes brought about in workplaces, with a dispersed workforce, hybrid work models, burnout and fatigue giving rise to the need for a work-life balance, most times than not, we let go off this imperative trait to get done with certain projects. 

Be it employees, organisations or even leaders, there are instances when we look towards quantity rather than quality and while that might mean that the work is done for the day, in the long-run of things, more or less, we fail to achieve what we started out with. And that sure might pose obstacles and challenges causing one to re-think and re-analyse from the very beginning.  

Well, our advice is to take lessons from the maker of history, SS Rajamouli, that even though striving for perfection might come at a cost, if you look beyond it, there are only accolades and praises  you will receive. 

(With inputs from news agencies)

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Topics: Leadership, Learning & Development, Life @ Work

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