Ace Telugu film director SS Rajamouli is best known for his epic-scale drama films, which include magnum opuses like Baahubali and Magadheera. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree given that his father, K. V. Vijayendra Prasad, is a famous film writer who wrote several of Rajamouli’s films along with Bollywood movies like Bajrangi Bhaijaan.
Many of Rajamouli’s movies were so good that they were remade in Hindi including Son of Sardar (Maryada Ramanna) and Rowdy Rathore (Vikramarkudu). After consecutive successful movie releases over the span of his career, came one of his highest-grossing franchises, Baahubali, changing the landscape of cinema forever.
There is a certain outlandishness to Rajamouli’s films that people can’t seem to get enough of. Because why is it that two decades and 12 films later, we’re still finding ourselves whistling at the moments he creates, even if we feel like we’re over masala movies? What separates the National Award-winning director from the other big mainstream filmmakers of his era is his folksy style of storytelling.
The filmmaker in no way tries to root his films in realism but rather focuses on regular, raw emotions of storytelling such as love, anger, revenge and justice, and weaves them into exaggerated folk tales. Rajamouli films bring metaphors, similes and exaggeration to life.
So, whether it’s a regular college student in Student No 1, or the kings and queens of the Baahubali universe, or even the historical figures in RRR, they all turn into extravagant folk figures and represent the notions found in folk tales.
Here are a few of the best SS Rajamouli films you need binge watch, stat!
RRR (Rise Roar Revolt) (2022)
The record-breaking movie revolves around two real-life Indian revolutionaries, Alluri Sitarama Raju (Ram Charan) and Komaram Bheem (Rama Rao), their fictional friendship and their fight against the British Raj. Set in the 1920s, the plot explores the undocumented period in their lives when both the revolutionaries, who once shared a deep bond, decide to join forces and embark on an inspirational path of freedom against the despotic rulers.
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017)
Featuring an ensemble cast including Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah, Ramya Krishna, Sathyaraj, Nassar, and Subbaraju, the second cinematic part in the Baahubali franchise serves as both a sequel and a prequel. The film is set in medieval India and follows the sibling rivalry between Amarendra Baahubali and Bhallaladeva. When Bhallaladeva conspires against his brother to become the king of Mahishmati, he has him executed by Katappa and imprisons his wife. Years later, his brother’s son returns to avenge his father’s death.
Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)
The film follows Sivudu, an adventurous young man who helps his love interest Avantika rescue Devasena, the former queen of Mahishmati, who is imprisoned under the tyrannical rule of king Bhallaladeva. As Shivudu discovers the conflict ridden past of his family and his legacy, he must now prepare himself to face his newly-minted arch-enemy.
Starring Sudeepa, Nani, and Samantha, the film starts with a father narrating a bedtime story to his daughter. The story follows the life of its protagonist Nani, who is in love with his neighbour Bindu. Driven by jealousy, Nani is murdered by a wealthy industrialist named Sudeep, who is also attracted to Bindu and considers him a rival. Nani then reincarnates as a housefly and tries to avenge his death and protect Bindu from a dangerously obsessive Sudeep.
Featuring Ram Charan, Srihari, Kajal Aggarwal and Dev Gill, the film follows a warrior who dies trying to save a princess and her kingdom. Set in 1609 AD, the princess, Mitravinda, and Kala Bhairava, the warrior that she loved, die together. 400 years later, the warrior is reincarnated as Harsha, a motorcycle stuntman. He finds himself recalling his past life when he accidently brushes hands with a girl, Indu, and sparks fly.
Convinced that he is destined to love this young woman due to a past life connection, he sets out to find her. The girl, however, does not remember any of this and keeps Harsha at a distance; playing tricks on him until she gets to know him better. However, just as the two begin to fall in love, a sinister force from their shared past returns to destroy them.
Student No 1. (2001)
Starring N. T. Rama Rao Jr, Gajala, and Rajeev Kanakala, this coming-of-age, romantic action film follows the life of the rebellious Aditya who admits to killing a man he finds molesting a helpless female acquaintance. Shunned by his family for his criminal behaviour, Aditya turns himself in to the police.
In spite of his sentence, he is given special permission to study at a law college and help others turn their lives around. But things take a turn when his classmate, Satish (Rajeev Kanakala), wreaks havoc in his life — especially when he begins to pursue Anjali (Gajala), the woman Aditya is interested in.