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Global Star RamCharan in conversation with Talk Easy with Sam Fragoso

 Camaraderie, brotherhood, drama are what make Naatu Naatu so great: Ram Charan

Open to working in any country where cinema is admired: Ram Charan

The Oscars is like an Olympic Gold medal equivalent for us: Ram Charan

Mega Power Star Ram Charan talks about 'RRR', 'Naatu Naatu', the joy of a tryst with the Oscars, his childhood, a possible Hollywood project, and more:

Mega Power Star Ram Charan spoke with Sam Fragoso of Talk Easy. The 50-minute podcast saw the versatile action hero open up about a lot of things. The talk was not limited to 'RRR', SS Rajamouli, and the Oscar-nominated 'Naatu Naatu'. It went beyond, with the 'Rangasthalam' actor talking about his growing-up years, his father Megastar Chiranjeevi's disciplining, and what an Oscar win will mean and more! He also spoke about being in talks with Hollywood executives.

A special highlight was the stretch where the host made his guest read out some naughty messages from his female fans. Charan was ostensibly shy reading them!

On observing Deeksha:

We have a dress code during the Deeksha. We sleep on the floor. We indulge in no luxury during the Deeksha period. We don't touch women, even our wives. You have to do it to understand the results of such a rigorous observance. I do it to inculcate discipline in myself. As actors, we are distracted by so many things in life. Observing Deekshas grounds me!

About the sensational Naatu Naatu:

It is not just an entertainer. Every sequence in Rajamouli's movies is thoughtful. The song has reached the Oscars because of the drama, and the emotions that underline the song. The camaraderie, the brotherhood on display, the yin and yang that the two leading men (read Charan and Jr NTR) represent... everything went into making the song so special.

Each take was so challenging. A particular stretch was shot over two days. Achieving synchronization was the toughest part. It had to be pitch-perfect by the degree. Keeravani's amazing beats made it a great song.

When we were shooting for Naatu Naatu in Ukraine, the tension of war was already in the air. The security was beefed up. It was kind of the President of Ukraine to let us shoot the song at his palace.

On SS Rajamouli's genius and work ethic:

Beyond writing and characterizations, it is Rajamouli that made us (me and Jr NTR) want to do this film. Working with my brother, Tarak, was the cherry on the cake. Rajamouli can handle even ten different star heroes! He knows what he is doing. He will ensure everyone is going to shine in the film, in the end. He keeps conceiving magnum opuses. I had an out-of-the-body experience when I started shooting for RRR. When we do a challenging shot, the biggest thing he says is 'nice'. That means the actor has nailed it!

Rajamouli once video-called me during the pandemic-induced lockdown and wanted to know if I was really in shape. He was keeping us (me and Jr NTR) occupied and motivated to keep our bodies in perfect shape. He gave us the freedom to be how we wanted to be during the weekends, though.

About the phenomenon called RRR:

As an actor, I have to get into my director's head and understand what he wants from me. This is a multi-genre film with so many themes and elements. It can't be bracketed into any genre. Cinema has to connect with the audience. It must understand the language of emotion.

I do watch hard-hitting, realistic films that win awards. But I also like event films. 'Terminator' and 'Gladiator' are among my favourite movies. I like a lot of Mel Gibson movies.

Rama Raju is a layered character. He has to hide his motives. It's a beautiful character arc with many variations. I felt better after doing the role. I felt connected and close to the character.

Going Hollywood!:

I am open to working in any country where cinema is admired. You don't wish for it. You can plan toward it and let it happen. I am in talks definitely. The talks are happening but how they would crystallize into a movie is to be seen. It will come out in a couple of months.

I want to work with Julia Roberts. She has a lot of fans in India. Also, who doesn’t like Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, and Julia Roberts? Everybody loves them. I am pleasantly surprised that I am called the Brad Pitt of India. I look up to him!

Handling biggies like RRR:

Even when I know my role, and my part, I don't behave like I know everything. When I walk into the set, I make sure I interact with my director as much as possible. I look like I don't understand everything. I don't feel ashamed in asking my directors one hundred questions. You have to unlearn a lot of things. You can't keep thinking you have got it.

What an Oscar win will mean:

You cannot comprehend the result. It is emotional for all of us. It is emotional for my dad who is waiting there. He is so sentimental that our song has reached this stage. He has been around for 42 years. He has been to the Oscars in the 80s and that too for an appearance. It was a huge achievement in itself as far as he is concerned. Today, our song has been nominated. We don't know the value of this nom but he knows the value. We are praying for this for everyone in India too. The Oscars is like an Olympic Gold medal equivalent for us.

I hope it becomes a new normal for us to win Oscars. It has to become recurring. It will enhance our responsibility.

Growing up years:

Growing up, all my dad's awards and news about him in magazines would not be brought to home. It would stay in the office below our house. A famous Indian artist made a painting of his. Even that was not brought to our home. My father did not want the influence of his work enter our house. He took the separation so seriously. Probably, he thought it was very glamorous. He wanted us to be as normal as possible as kids. He did not want us to know that we had a superstar father and let things get into our heads. All that was right. I can pay my EMIs and keep it going. I am doing well because of his upbringing and the way he was.

If my grades came down in school, he would change my school. I never stayed in the same school for more than two years. Sometimes, it was the grades. Sometimes, it was to discipline me. I was into sports and my grades would get affected. Maths and History used to interest me as a student. I was not a troublemaker as a child.

I never got to spend much time with my father. It was while he ate that we got to spend time with him. It was the rule of the house not to disturb him otherwise. We grew up in a joint family. There were many staff members running the show. We contribute to the running of the house in our own ways in Indian families. We live under the same roof unlike in the US.

If I do a bad film, I go and ask my dad what he thinks went wrong (laughs). He enjoys my journey. He is 67 now and three films of his are on the floors.

We are eight actors (in our family and extended family). There is healthy competition. The pros and cons of family members doing the same job are only expected. It all started from the same root - my father. We dine together during festivals. And, at house, we never discuss work. We just speak about holidays, family time, love...

My father came from a lower-middle-class family and his father was working in the Excise department.

Diversity of India:

Our cultures are so different from State to State, region to region. The beauty is there is unity amid diversity. That spirit has seeped into our movies. Today, Rajamouli is trying to blur the lines and make it the 'Indian film industry'. There is an exchange of talents between different film industries.

RRR has been widely accepted in many countries. I want to know the perspective of foreigners and how they view our film so that I can take home the message.

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