Ram Charan admits he’s heard about ‘the nationalism and patriotism’ angle around RRR, says SS Rajamouli ‘doesn’t like to give messages’

While director SS Rajamouli’s RRR has been widely accepted by Western audiences, not many foreign critics have spoken about the cultural context of the movie, and some of its religious symbolism. In a new interview, one of the movie’s two stars, Ram Charan, spoke about the film’s political commentary.

Charan appeared on the long-running interview series DP/30, where host David Poland asked him if the film ‘plays political’ in India. Charan has been promoting RRR in the US, and recently attended the Golden Globes, where it won an award for Best Original Song.

He said, “I heard this, about the nationalism and patriotism… And I still feel it’s a movie about two friends, and how misunderstood and great their relationship is, and how it broke and how it comes back together. The nationalism, and the imperial time of the British rule, all of that is many, many layers behind. It’s just the premise for the movie to be in some era. That was not the intention of the director.” He added, “Knowing Rajamouli, I don’t think he likes to give any messages in his movies… We didn’t focus on the slogans, the riots that happened. It was designed around these two characters.”

This is not the first time that the topic has been brought up on foreign soil. In a Q&A session after a Beyond Fest screening of the movie in Los Angeles, Rajamouli said that there is a difference between the Hindu religion and Hindu dharma. He said, “Many people think Hinduism is a religion, it is in the present context. But before Hinduism the religion, there existed Hinduism the dharma. It is a way of life, it is a philosophy. If you take the religion, I am also not a Hindu, but if you take the dharma, I am very much a Hindu. What I am portraying in the film is actually a way of life that has existed for many, many centuries and eons. You can look at it as something that Lord Krishna has told Arjuna, so it is a Hindu religion verse, but if you look at the meaning of it, it has been taught to Indians irrespective of caste and where they were born. It’s about how to look at life, and not look at the result of what you do. That is what Hindu dharma says. So, I am a follower of Hindu dharma.”

RRR became a runaway word-of-mouth hit in the US after it debuted on Netflix. It has since become a fan-favourite awards contender.

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