S. S. Rajamouli (born Koduri Srisaila Sri Rajamouli) is an Indian film director and screenwriter, known for his works primarily in Telugu cinema. Although working in the mainstream medium, his films are noted for their technical finesse and craft. He is known for directing high fantasy celluloid works such as Magadheera (2009), Eega (2012), the two part Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) premiered at the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival, and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), premiered at the British Film Institute, while becoming the highest grossing Indian multilingual film franchise of all time globally with a cumulative box office earnings of approximately ₹1,900 crore (US$300 million). The first part of the Telugu film has received the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, and got nominated for Saturn Award for Best Fantasy Film by the American Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films.
His other works include the sports drama film Sye, the social problem film Vikramarkudu, which was screened at the International Film Festival of India in the mainstream section. The melodrama films Maryada Ramanna, Vikramarkudu and Chhatrapati were remade in various Indian languages, with successful reviews. Rajamouli has garnered several awards including two National Film Awards, three Filmfare Awards, three state Nandi Awards, the IIFA Award, the SIIMA Award, the Star World India, "Entertainer of The Year" in 2012, and the "CNN-News18 Indian of the Year in Entertainment" for 2015. In 2016, he was honoured with the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honor for his contributions towards the field of Art. In 2017, he received the Telstra People's Choice Award at the Indian Film Festival of Melbourne for Baahubali 2: The Conclusion.
Rajamouli was born in Raichur of Karnataka although his family hails from Kovvur, West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh. His primary education was done at Kovvur and his higher education was done at Eluru.
His father and brother is in the film industry, working as a script writer and music director respectively. After his education, he worked as an assistant with editor Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao during his initial years. He is married to Rama, who now works as a costume designer for his films. They have 2 children – S. S. Karthikeya from her previous marriage and S. S. Mayookha, their adopted daughter. He identifies himself as an Atheist.
Rajamouli's 2012 experimental fantasy film, Eega was screened to critical acclaim at L'Étrange Film Festival. The Tamil version Naan Ee was screened at the 10th Chennai International Film Festival. The Telugu version has also garnered awards for the Most Original Film, Best Special Effects, Best Comedy, Best Fights, Best Film to Watch with a Crowd, Best Editing, Best Villain and Best Hero at the 8th annual Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The Telugu version was also screened the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the Panorama section of the 16th Shanghai International Film Festival, and Puchon International Fantastic Film Festival. The film has received Best art direction award at the Fantaspoa film festival of Brazil. Also it is nominated for six awards including Best film, Best Cinematographer, Best Special effects, Best Music Composer, Best Editor and Best supporting Actor for the Madrid International Film Festival.
In 2015, he directed Baahubali: The Beginning, which became the second Global highest grossing Indian film of all time, and the highest grossing Indian film of all time within India. The making of the epic film was featured in BBC's documentary on 100 Years of Indian cinema directed by Sanjeev Bhaskar. The film was shot using Arri Alexa XT camera marking Rajamouli's first film using digital camera. Rajamouli's work was cited by The Hollywood Reporter, The Guardian, and The Huffington Post. The film was Nominated in four categories, at the 42nd Saturn Awards of the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films in Los Angeles, USA.
Baahubali: The Beginning was screened at the Open Cinema Strand of Busan International Film Festival, Indian Film Festival The Hague, Sitges Film Festival in Spain, Utopiales Film Festival in France, Golden Horse Film Festival in Taipei, Taiwan, Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival in Estonia, L'Etrange International Film Festival in Paris, Five Flavours Film Festival in Poland, Hawaii International Film Festival in Honolulu, Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival in Brussels, Belgium, and the Cannes Film Festival. The part II - Baahubali 2: The Conclusion was premiered at the British Film Institute, and was the inaugural feature film at the 39th Moscow International Film Festival.
Rajamouli started directing Telugu soap operas on Eenadu Television, under the guidance of K. Raghavendra Rao. His first shot at Telugu films was Student No.1 with Jr. NTR which was a big hit in 2001. It took two long years for Rajamouli to come up with his second movie and delivered a blockbuster with his second movie Simhadri. In the two-year gap between Student No.1 and Simhadri, Rajamouli planned his first mythological film with Malayalam superstar Mohanlal, but the film eventually got shelved. In 2015, Assistant art director Manu Jagath, who later worked as the art director for Baahubali, released several sketches he had drawn for the shelved Mohanlal project. Rajamouli's third movie was Sye with actors Nithin and Genelia D'Souza . It was a first-of-its-kind movie in Tollywood, in that it was based on a rugby game. This movie was also the first instance where Rajamouli collaborated with K. K. Senthil Kumar. With his next flick Chatrapathi, Rajamouli again evoked emotions with the audience. The music of M. M. Keeravani and cinematography by Senthil Kumar added to the film's success.
In his next stint Vikramarkudu, Rajamouli worked with Raviteja. The movie was a big success and was remade into Hindi as Rowdy Rathore by Prabhu Deva with Akshay kumar in the lead, into Tamil as Siruthai, and in Kannada as Veera Madakari by ace actor Sudeep. He then directed Yamadonga, a socio-fantasy film praised by critics. Next was the biggest film in Telugu Cinema at the time, Magadheera starring Ram charan Teja, Magadheera became one of the biggest commercial successes in Telugu Cinema. He won the Nandi Award for Best Director and Filmfare Award for Best Director – Telugu for the film. This film also won the National Film Award for Best Choreography. His comedy thriller film Maryada Ramanna (2010) was remade in Hindi as "Son of Sardar". In one of the popular MAA TV shows, Mee Star, Rajamouli said Maryada Ramanna is his personal favorite movie among all the movies he has directed.National Film AwardsNational Film Award for Best Feature Film - Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu - Eega (2012)Filmfare AwardsFilmfare Award for Best Director - Telugu - Magadheera (2009)Filmfare Award for Best Director - Telugu - Eega (2012)Filmfare Award for Best Director - Telugu - Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)Nandi AwardsNandi Award for Best Director - Magadheera (2009)Nandi Award for Best Director - Eega (2012)Nandi Award for Best Screenplay Writer - Eega (2012)1st IIFA UtsavamIIFA Award for Best Director (Telugu) - Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)SIIMA AwardsSIIMA Award for Best Director (Telugu) - Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)CineMAA AwardsBest Director - Magadheera (2009)Best Director - Baahubali: The Beginning (2015)