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Shekhar Kapur: RRR’s success at the Oscars has opened the eyes of many in India too

The acclaimed filmmaker’s latest directorial - What’s Love Got to Do with It - is releasing in the theatres on March 17

Shekhar Kapur: RRR’s success at the Oscars has opened the eyes of many in India too

Shekhar Kapur hails the success of 'RRR' at the 95th Academy Awards

Last Updated: 09.06 AM, Mar 15, 2023


National Award-winning filmmaker Shekhar Kapur - whose latest directorial What’s Love Got to Do with It is releasing in the theatres in India on March 17 - has said that there is something special about Indian cinema, and the success of RRR’s Naatu Naatu at Oscars 2023 has proved that. 

Known for his films like Masoom (1983), Mr India (1987) and Bandit Queen (1994), the director had successfully branched out to Hollywood with the Oscar-nominated period drama Elizabeth in 1998. Later, he also helmed The Four Feathers (2002) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007). Commenting on India bagging two Oscars at the 95th Academy Awards, Shekhar told PTI, “People overseas are recognizing that there is something very special about what they do in India. Otherwise, if they didn’t think there was something special in what we do in India, why would they get attracted to RRR? It’s a celebration, a mythic over-the-top, melodramatic celebration of cinema and they loved it. RRR success has proven and opened the eyes of a lot of people in India saying, ‘you don’t have to pander to them, you just do what you do, as brilliantly as you can, which is what RRR is.” He also praised The Elephant Whisperers and the nomination to Shaunak Sen’s All That Breathes.

“It is (India’s presence globally) increasing. I don’t think that winning is as fundamentally important as being nominated. Because winning is okay. We should applaud every film that got nominated, because the whole body of people said we loved this film. Then winning is like, okay, which way does the world go that time? We should applaud All That Breathes also. It’s a beautiful film,” the filmmaker said.

The filmmaker credited the rise of streaming platforms for popularising good actors and real stories. He cited the example of Manoj Bajpayee, with whom he collaborated in Bandit Queen, and said the actor has become a top star, courtesy OTT platforms.

“I think people in India and filmmakers are coming into their own. I think Netflix and Amazon have allowed writers to come out and tell real stories. People like Manoj Bajpayee have become big stars just because they are allowed to come in and tell real stories like The Family Man and other things that I watch all the time. That’s one big thing that has helped Indian cinema come out of just being a Pali Hill film (an affluent residential area in Bandra)… So, that’s happening,” he added.

Praising SS Rajamouli, Shekhar said he is in awe of the Telugu filmmaker’s work, who has made a mark with movies like Eega, Baahubali and now RRR. He said it was the plotline of Eega that first caught his attention, and he was curious to understand how the South filmmaker created this world.

Starring Sudeep, Nani and Samantha Ruth Prabhu, the 2012 fantasy action film Eega is about a man, who reincarnates as a fly and decides to avenge his death. “I have been fascinated with Rajamouli, as a director, for a long time. I saw a film called Eega, on the fly. Here is a man who made a whole feature film on the revenge of a fly and made it entertaining, and successful. Who's this guy? How does he do it?,” the 77-year-old filmmaker said.

“So, I called him one day and we kept talking here and there, he was very humble. And then one day I said, ‘I want to come and talk to you, I want to see how you are. I want to see what you think’. So, I went to meet him and then we spent 2-3 days together. And one day, we will do something together,” he added. Shekhat also said that both he and Rajamouli have become good friends now.

“I went as one filmmaker to another to see what makes his mind tick, what makes him think (that way). I went after I saw Baahubali and I said, ‘oh my God, this guy is amazing’,” he added.

“The problem in Mumbai is that directors don’t talk to each other that much and when I went to the South, they just welcomed each other with open arms. It was such a satisfying experience to just sit and chat, go to his studio, meet his people, talk about storytelling and how it works. He’s become a very good friend now,” the filmmaker further said.

The acclaimed filmmaker’s latest directorial venture What’s Love Got to Do with It is a British romantic comedy, starring Shabana Azmi, Emma Thompson, Sajal Ali, Shazad Latif and Lily James. The film will be released in theatres on March 17 by PVR Pictures. 

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