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From Rs 12 crore to Rs 2000 crore, how SS Rajamouli became box office 'Baahubali' | Birthday special

SS Rajamouli is the undisputed king of the Indian box office. From 2001 to 2022, we track how each of his feature films has outperformed the previous by a huge margin.

Devasheesh Pandey Written By: Devasheesh Pandey New Delhi Updated on: October 10, 2022 7:47 IST
SS Rajamouli
Image Source : TWITTER/ BA RAJU'S TEAM SS Rajamouli is the biggest and the most sought after director in India

SS Rajamouli has turned around how Indian cinema was viewed internationally. With his 2022 blockbuster RRR vying for an Oscar nomination after creating massive buzz in the overseas market, the ace director has proved that not only is he a master storyteller, and a box office king but also knows the vein of the audience. In India, he is one of the most sought-after directors. He works with the biggest names in the industry, yet all his films sell under the 'Rajamouli' tag. On his birthday, we take a look back at his filmmaking career of two decades and 12 films, recounting how he became an indisputable box office force and a star maker.  

Humble beginnings

SS Rajamouli began his filmmaking career by assisting various filmmakers and also his writer-director father Vijayendra Prasad, forever fostering the dream of becoming the captain of the ship himself. Before entering films, Rajamouli co-directed the TV serial Santhi Nivasam. He also directed some political campaigns. In 2001, Raghavendra Rao, Rajamouli's mentor offered him the chance to direct a feature film under his production titled Student No 1, starring Jr NTR. The film grossed Rs 12 crore at the box office and was a success. 

In 2003, Jr NTR and Rajamouli reunited for the director's second feature Simhadri, which became the highest-grossing Telugu film of that time. While shooting for this movie, Rajamouli planned of venturing into the mythological and fantasy genre with a project with Mohanlal. However, it could not materialise due to budget issues.

In 2004, Rajamouli directed Sye, which was based on Rugby. It became a hit and also a pop-culture phenomenon. People noticed that Rajamouli was not afraid to experiment in genres. 

In 2005, Prabhas starred in Rajamouli's Chatrapathi, an action entertainer about the refugee crisis. Made on a budget of Rs 10 crore, it grossed Rs 21 crore at the box office.     

In 20226 and 2007, Rajamouli directed Vikramarkudu and Yamadonga with Ravi Teja and Jr NTR respectively, Both films were hits and in different genres.  Vikramarkudu was all the more special as it was remade in several other languages. It was clear by now that any project with Rajamouli directing would be a sure-shot success. 

The Rise of Rajamouli 

In 2009, came the page-turner for Rajamouli. He directed the fantasy action film Magadheera with Ram Charan and Kajal Aggarwal in the lead roles. The film was made on budget of Rs 44 crore, the most for a Telugu project at the time, and collected approximately Rs 150 crore and created history. Rajamouli also won a National Award for Magadheera. The dubbed version of the film created a good fan base for Ram Charan. 

2010 release Maryada Ramanna was in the action comedy genre and was a success. In 2012, Eega released featuring Nani, Sudeep and Samantha. The film had a very unique concept of a fly seeking revenge. Rajamouli's direction and vision was praised and not only was it a box office hit but received international acclaim after Cannes and Toronto After Dark Film Festival screenings. Many compared it with a high-concept Hollywood film because of its execution. 

'Baahubali' Rajamouli  

After Eega, Rajamouli worked on his pet project, the Baahubali franchise. Part I released in 2015 and the regional director was catapulted to nationwide and international fame at once. It became the second-highest grossing Indian film of all time, the highest grossing Indian film of all time within India. Its Hindi dubbed version also broke several records. While charting box office history of Indian films, Baahubali: The Beginning will always find a mention. After the release, everyone wanted to know who Rajamouli is and his name was on the mouth of every big Indian star. In 2016, he was honoured with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour for his contributions towards the field of Art.

After Baahubali, came Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017). It became the biggest hit India would ever witness. The craze for the film was pan-India and even internationally. It was made on an estimated budget of Rs 250 crore and earned over Rs 2000 crore at the worldwide box office. The success of the Baahubali franchise also created the trend of pan-India films. Prabhas became a huge star and would owe his fame to Rajamouli forever. 

In 2022, Rajamouli's much-awaited film RRR premiered, featuring his previous collaborators Ram Charan and Jr NTR. The film was made on a budget of over Rs 500 crore, the highest for a Rajamouli film to date. It became a huge success both in the domestic and international markets. It grossed Rs over 1200 crore and is now eyeing an Oscar nod in various categories. On OTT too, RRR has broken records for being the most trending Indian film in any language for global streaming giant Netflix. 




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