Telugu film star Ram Charan believes that the constantly growing global market for Indian cinema is contributing to not just a great deal of business and improving the production value of movies in every region of the country but is also helping Indian talent to cross over.
In an interview to IANS, the actor said: “If I only look at our south Indian community, people have settled abroad in Gulf countries, the US and other places for a generation. So, our films are getting released there. Now that the world has become a global village, the constantly growing global market of Indian cinema is not only giving us great business but also pushing us to improve production value of our films.
“Such exposure to the global market is not only taking our film business to the next level but our actors are also getting the opportunity to do more collaborative work with global makers. See, what happened to ‘Baahubali’, and now Dhanush is doing a crossover (international) film.”
Ram’s own Telugu film “Rangasthalam” has managed to mint Rs 200 crore and beyond at the box office.
“It is great to receive such numbers at the box office for a regional film because it is a sign that people are still interested to take out some time to go to the theatre and watch a film if the content is good.
“Having said that, I think all of our responsibility is not to get carried away by the achieved success… and rather start afresh. We tend to go by formula or repeat if we get success in one film. That is not how we can grow as storytellers. So I would rather try new things and experiment and attempt to make it work commercially as well,” he said.
What worked for “Rangasthalam”, a period drama set against a village backdrop in the 1980s?
“Look, we are exposed to the global cinema. So when we are talking about what works and does not work for the audience, one has to understand it is the honesty. Gone are the days when we can put elements in a film in the name of commercialisation. Your audience will tell you on the face that such things are fake, and such things do not go with the core story.
“As creative people, the growth of such intelligent audience challenges us to improve our work with each film we do,” added the actor, who is known for some of the commercial Telugu potboilers like “Chirutha”, “Naayak”, “Govindudu Andarivadele” and “Dhruva” and has broken his image with “Rangasthalam”.
Many experimental films find critical acclaim but don’t fetch enough numbers at the box office. Asked if striking the balance is really tough, Ram said: “There is nothing called a bad story. But sometimes, bad screenplay or the treatment of the film.
“I strongly believe that film is a director’s medium and what we watch on-screen is a director’s vision. All the artistes, whether an actor, cinematographer, editor – anyone, follow a director’s vision. If the vision is wise, it translates on-screen.
“Look at how Rajkumar Hirani and Aamir Khan work as an actor and producer who is in sync with director… and our Rajamouli (S.S. Rajamouli) sir is managing every time,” added the actor who worked with the “Baahubali” director in “Magadheera”.
As the son of Telugu superstar Chiranjeevi, the world of cinema was never alien to Ram. Fame, success, the business of cinema and art of storytelling were a part of their dinner table conversation.
Admitting that he was born with the natural talent of a showman — something he inherited genetically — Ram spoke of a different side of the nepotism story.
“Since people have watched my dad, I cannot blindly follow him. Then I would look like a copy cat. I would rather establish my style as an individual. I have a responsibility to prove myself. No two people are born with the same calibre and can achieve the same stardom.
“But if one comes from a film family like mine, this is what the audience and critics expect… So we are always scrutinised from our very first film. Do people talk about our internal struggle?” asked the 33-year-old.
Does he wear that responsibility as an honour or burden?
“No no, not burden. It is certainly an honour to get some great opportunities from the beginning of our life. But we cannot deny the responsibility to live up to the expectations because of the family I come from. I have to maintain my father’s goodwill,” he signed off.
(Arundhuti Banerjee can be contacted at email@example.com)