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Monday, July 16, 2018

All that Buzz

Director SS Rajamouli first heard of Eega in the early ’90s when his screenwriter father Vijayendra Prasad first narrated the story to him.

Written by Sankhayan Ghosh | Published: July 13, 2012 3:14:45 am

Director SS Rajamouli first heard of Eega in the early ’90s when his screenwriter father Vijayendra Prasad first narrated the story to him. It seemed funny then,and 20 years later,Rajamouli has made a Telugu movie based on the story. The film’s opening sequence pays a wonderful tribute to its original initiator with the tale of Eega (eega,in Telugu,means housefly) being told to a child as a bedtime story by a father. “An innocent boy is killed by the villain and reborn as a fly to take revenge. The simplicity and universality of this thought makes it sound like a fairytale,” says D Suresh Babu,the presenter of the film.

The film,which has been simultaneously made in Tamil as Naan Ee,shows the lead actor Nani’s character in love with the heroine,played by Samantha. Sudeep’s character as the villain is also vying for the girl’s attention and he,therefore,murders Nani. But reborn as a housefly,Nani haunts Sudeep and eventually kills him. The movie released on July 6 across 1,200 screens worldwide and collected Rs 46.2 crore in the first three days.

It’s a formulaic film — employing the classic revenge movie template — but visual execution pushes the envelope in terms of storytelling in India. A housefly — albeit animated — pitted against a powerful,ruthless billionaire pitches the most unequal battle of sorts. The idea opens up propositions of a visual rollercoaster and Eega exploits that amply. “Earlier,I had plans of making the movie with a hand-held camera on a shoe-string budget. But we sensed its potential soon and decided to make it without any compromise,” says Rajamouli.

With films like Vikramarkudu and Magadheera to his credit,the director has a penchant for large-scale productions. Eega follows suit,with Rs 8 crore of the Rs 30 crore budget spent on special effects. Dubbed in Hindi,it is likely to release in the North around Christmas this year,with certain portions converted into 3D. “I am not a fan of 3D technology,but it looks spectacular in Eega as you can almost see the fly charging towards you,” he says.

While the film is doing well at the box office,both in India and overseas,Eega’s success is an exception in the otherwise star-driven Telugu and Tamil film industries. “It is important to know when not to use a star,and let the idea take precedence,” says the director,explaining his choice of cast. Eega’s star is its eponymous hero; the animated housefly.

The sudden pan-Indian spotlight was both unexpected and overwhelming for Rajamouli,and he attributes it to the universality and novelty of the theme. “A housefly,and revenge as an emotion,are universal and,therefore,can connect with the audience everywhere. Even a big star like MGR,with regional appeal,would have culturally confined the film,” he says.

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