It’s safe to say Steven Spielberg is an “RRR” fan.
In a conversation with director S.S. Rajamouli, the “Fabelmans” helmer praised the Indian blockbuster as “eye candy” and promised to return to India — where he last filmed in 1976 — for one of his next projects.
After a brief encounter at a cocktail party in Los Angeles in January, Spielberg and Rajamouli caught up over a Zoom call on Thursday. The conversation was facilitated by Reliance Entertainment, a long-term partner of Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, which co-produced and released “The Fabelmans” theatrically in India on Feb. 10.
After pleasantries were exchanged, the 30-minute chat began with Spielberg praising “RRR.”
“I thought your movie was outstanding… it was just amazing,” Spielberg said. “I couldn’t believe my eyes – it was like eye candy.. it was extraordinary to look at and experience.”
Rajamouli was elated with the praise, saying: “I can almost get up from the chair and do a dance – it means a lot to me.”
Spielberg also praised the performances of “RRR” leads Ram Charan, NTR Jr, Alia Bhatt and antagonist Alison Doody, who had acted in his film “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” (1989).
Rajamouli, who is a massive fan of Spielberg in general and “The Fabelmans” in particular, then asked the filmmaker a series of questions about the motivations behind making the film and about portraying a version of his own family on screen.
“As I was watching the film, initially [it] felt like ‘Oh my God,’ he’s picturizing his own mom as not so good. I was empathizing with the father,” Rajamouli said. “But as we progress, we understand the difficulty of the situation – no one is bad. It is not about a person being good or bad. It’s about following your heart and following your duty.”
“There are no villains in the story. It’s a story about love. It’s a story about a young boy, much like myself, named Sammy Fabelman, who falls in love with movie cameras and making movies with his neighborhood friends, which eventually is going to lead him to a career,” Spielberg said. “And it’s about following your heart and not sacrificing yourself and your own happiness and your own future, to make others around you safe and comfortable.
“My mom took life into her own hands. And she had a huge, beautiful personality. But she was always very honest about what she needed, and what she wanted from this life. And she took it for herself. But she still brought all of us along with her. So we never felt abandoned by the choices that she was making,” Spielberg added.
Spielberg stressed the importance of the family unit and explained how he passed on the first Harry Potter film in order to spend time with them.
Rajamouli said: “Luckily for me, I keep my whole family in the film business, my wife, my son, my brother, my brother’s wife – everyone is with me making movies, so I don’t miss my family.”
Spielberg did not rule out a sequel to “The Fabelmans” but said there were no immediate plans for it. The filmmakers also discussed how aspiring filmmakers can learn and grow within the film industry, with Spielberg reminiscing about his experience making 1975 film “Jaws.”
Rajamouli hoped that Spielberg would find a subject that takes him back to India to shoot and offered his home city of Hyderabad as a location. Spielberg said that the last time he shot in the country was in 1976, for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and that he would hold Rajamouli to his offer.
The filmmakers will again meet in person in Los Angeles next month for the Oscars. “The Fabelmans” is nominated for seven Oscars including the directing, writing and best picture categories.
After the “RRR” Golden Globe original song win for “Naatu Naatu,” the song is nominated in the same category at the Oscars.
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