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Exclusive! It was an unbelievable moment when people started calling me Garuda Ram: KGF villain Ramachandra Raju

He may or may not be seen in KGF: Chapter 2, but Garuda Ram is immensely grateful to the team of the film, because his life changed around thereafter, and he’s been doing good cinema in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam.

Exclusive! It was an unbelievable moment when people started calling me Garuda Ram: KGF villain Ramachandra Raju
Ranmachandra Raju's life changed after playing KGF: Chapter 1's Garuda

Last Updated: 04.55 PM, Apr 05, 2022


Just over three years ago, Ramachandra Raju was a debutant actor, playing one of the main villains in a film that not only went on to create box-office history, but also garnered global appeal, pushing everyone associated with it into the limelight. That film was KGF: Chapter 1, in which Ramachandra played Garuda, the man that Yash’s character Rocky is tasked with assassinating. The success of KGF: Chapter 1 meant that for the world at large he was not Ramachandra Raju anymore; he was Garuda Ram, a moniker he is extremely proud of.


The film opened doors into other industries and Ram has been busy working in Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam films. Up next, he is credited with reprising his role as Garuda in KGF: Chapter 2, which is set to release in theatres on April 14, but he vehemently denies being a part of the second instalment, given that his character arc has ended. What about a flashback appearance, we ask? “That’s a possibility, but we’ll know for sure only when the film releases,” he quips.

In this conversation with Garuda Ram, we speak to the actor about his filmmaking desire, the role that changed life for him and more.

Garuda Ram
Garuda Ram

So, according to Wikipedia, you were actor Yash’s bodyguard prior to working on KGF: Chapter 1. True?

Oh no, that’s not true and I have no idea how that information came to be there. I need to get that rectified. What is true is that I have a long-standing association with Yash from his early days as an actor, for well over a decade. I used to be associated with the real-estate sector in construction. Back then, I was quite keen to turn director and was looking at assisting director Anil Kumar, when he introduced me to Yash. We got along well from the word go and then Yash told me not to get into filmmaking. Our friendship that began back then, continued over the years, and it wasn’t until KGF: Chapter 1 that he told me to get into films, but as an actor. In that sense, I am an accidental actor.

But today, you are one of the most popular antagonists in south Indian cinema…

Yes, and the credit for that goes to KGF director Prashant Neel. When Yash brought me onboard for KGF: Chapter 1, Prashant was glad that I had not worked in cinema before, because he knew he could then mould me into the character in the way he wanted. I was in workshops for about a year before we actually began shooting for the film. I was Prashant’s student who’d go on set and do what he asks me to.

After having worked with this team, nothing seems daunting anymore. All that matters is how perfectly you do your job and that work ethic, I guess, has worked for me, as I have been doing quite a few films in Tamil and Telugu. I have done one Malayalam film with Mohanlal, and even though I am in talks for another, I want to do it only after I learn the language better, as I am not comfortable with acting while my lines are being prompted to me. I don’t have that problem with Tamil or Telugu.

Garuda Ram
Garuda Ram

Having said that, I must admit that wherever I go, people talk about KGF and the respect I get on those sets has made me realize what this film has done for everyone associated with it. Today, when the cast or crew works on another project, we are accorded much better treatment and referred to as KGF-fame so and so. Even otherwise, the perception that other industries had of people from the Kannada films has changed, which is why talent from here is being sought-after for their movies too.

Today, no one knows you as Ramachandra Raju…

Exactly, everyone knows me only as Garuda Ram. This is a name that Prashant gave me and will remain for the rest of my life. When KGF: Chapter 1 was ready for release, the whole team was quite confident that it would do well, but not to the extent it eventually did. So, when people started addressing me as Garuda Ram, truth be told, that feeling cannot be put in words. It was unbelievable. I was proud and, at the same time, grateful to the team of KGF for having given me that opportunity. In fact, before the release of part 1, Yash had told me that life would change thereafter, and he was right.

So, is Ram part of KGF: Chapter 2?

The trailer of KGF: Chapter 2 opens with a line that this is what transpired after Garuda died. So, that chapter, my story arc, ended with KGF1. But then you never know, there could be a flashback scene, which we will know only when the film releases in theatres on April 14. I would be very happy if my character is seen in KGF: Chapter 2 also.

What’s happening next, then?

There’s a Tamil film with Vimal, called Badava, which is complete, as is Red Sandal, with Vetri. Arun Vijay’s Yaanai will release on May 6. In Telugu, my next release is Bhala Thandanana, which has Sree Vishnu in the lead. In Kannada, Pranam Devaraj’s Vairam will also release at some point.

I am currently shooting for a Telugu film called Gaja, as well as a Tamil film called Durga with Raghava Lawrence. The Tamil film Jana Gana Mana is about 50% done. This was a big-budget film that was majorly shot abroad and was then halted during the pandemic. The team is looking at resuming sometime in June, but it has a huge star cast, which also means that to ensure continuity, everyone has to look the way they did back then.

Direction on the backburner then?

Oh yes, I am seriously concentrating on acting. I realize there is a lot more for me to learn and do as an actor. In fact, I have even begun taking fight classes and kickboxing, which will help me present a better body language during action sequences. I will, someday make a film, maybe after 5-6 years, but right now, I will only be Garuda Ram the actor.

KGF: Chapter 2 is releasing in theatres world-wide on April 14. 

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