‘Makkhi was born 16 years ago’


In a free-wheeling chat, director S.S Rajamouli talks about 'Makkhi' and how the idea was born out of his father's story sessions

'Makkhi' is an action animation film about the revenge of a super fly. Originally named 'Eega' in Telugu, the film was an instant success and was also released in Tamil as 'Naane' and 'Eecha' in Malayalam. The film is the result of a story which S. S. Rajamouli heard 16 years ago from his father. "At that time I wasn't even an assistant director," he says. After churning out blockbusters (Vikramarkudu' which has been remade in Hindi as 'Rowdy Rathore' and 'Maryada Ramanna' (2010) which has been remade as 'Son Of Sardaar'), Rajamouli wanted to try his hand at something which will appeal to all generations. "I wanted to take the audience by surprise with a brand new concept. After much hard work, the result was this film." What came out of that experiment was a film that became super-hit when it released. Having reached to audience in 1103 screens in India with its Telugu, Tamil and Malayalam versions, the film's Hindi release will further augment its reach nationwide. The three versions have already done a gross business of over Rs 130 crores worldwide. In a free-wheeling chat, S.S Rajamouli talks about the film and reaching out to a bigger audience after dubbing it in Hindi.

Excerpts from the Interview:

What was the basic idea behind the film?
My father is a writer and he wrote the screenplay for all my films. I heard the story 16 years ago from him about a fly who comes back to take revenge. At that time, I wasn't even an assistant director. When I started making films, I stuck to the formula films which did well at the box-office. After a while, I was getting too comfortable with what I was doing, so I wanted to experiment with something completely different. I wanted to take the audience by surprise and that is when I went back to the story I had heard 16 years ago.

How did you conceptualise the idea?
Actually it was lot of fun. When I started out, I wanted to make a small budget film which would appeal to all ages. But my producer asked me not to worry about the production costs and make a good film. Once that burden was lifted from my head, I started with story boarding. The new challenge this time was the animation. I had no prior experience in that field. The VFX was done by a company called Mokuta in Hyderabad and only one or two key sequences (like the sparrow chasing the fly) done in Russia. I was happy with the work done by the 25-year-olds at Mokuta.

What were the challenges involved in making an animation-heavy film?
Coming up with the ideas and story wasn't a problem. We didn't restrain ourselves to story boarding and experimented with key visual animations. We wrote the entire scene in graphics with low animation scale. While writing the scenes, we had the animation in place with short divisions and clear cut length. It is much more intricate than story boarding.

Why did the Hindi version take so much time?
Actually, the first copy of the Hindi dubbing was ready before the Tamil and the Malayalam version. We delayed the release of 'Makkhi' since we wouldn't have been able to do justice to the film as it is difficult to market a film in different languages at the same time.

Which was the most difficult scene to shoot?
The most difficult scene would be the one where Makkhi is telling Bindu he is Jani, her lover. In film grammer, you don't put too many emotions in one scene. But then, in that scene I had to put forth the whole film. I had to show that the girl comes to know that her lover was killed by the person she holds in high esteem. And she has emote while looking at the fly. I had to walk a tight rope in order to not make the sequence look funny as she talks to the fly. I tried to shoot the scene in different ways and was not too happy with the final product. But what made the scene stand out was the background score. It was the string between the pearls and that is what made the final scene really emotional.

Do we see you making a proper Bollywood film anytime soon?
Every director wishes to reach out to a bigger audience and I am not different. I have few projects going on in the South and once I am through with them, I will concentrate on making a Bollywood film.