RRR director SS Rajamouli opens up on being an atheist, says he ‘had doubts after reading stories about Hindu gods’

SS Rajamouli has delivered three worldwide blockbusters back to back in the form of Baahubali: The Beginning, Baahubali: The Conclusion, and RRR. Though all his films do include elements of mythology, a lot of people don’t really know that Rajamouli identifies himself as an atheist.

RRR director SS Rajamouli

In a recent interview, the director opened up on the same and revealed why he moved away from religion. Talking to The New Yorker, Rajamouli said, “We have a giant family, and everyone – my father and mother, cousins and aunts, and everyone else – is deeply religious. I remember, as a young kid, I had doubts after reading stories about the Hindu gods. I used to think, this doesn’t seem real.”

“Then I got caught up in my family’s religious Farvour. I started reading religious texts, going on pilgrimages, wearing saffron cloth, and living like a sannyasi (ascetic) for a few years. Then I caught onto Christianity, thanks to some friends. I’d read the Bible, go to church, all kinds of stuff. Gradually, all these things somehow made me feel that religion is essentially a kind of exploitation”, he further added.

Sharing how Ayn Rand’s work inspired him, Rajamouli stated, “I worked under a cousin of mine (the Telugu writer Gunnam Gangaraju) for a few months. He introduced me to Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged. I read those novels and was greatly inspired by them. I didn’t understand a lot of her philosophy, but I understood the basics of it. It was around that time that I slowly started moving away from religion.”

“Even at that time, my love for stories like the Mahabharata or the Ramayana never diminished. I did start pushing away from those texts’ religious aspects, but what stayed with me was the complexity and the greatness of their drama and storytelling”, the Padma Shri awardee concluded.

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