How ‘Student No.1’ Happened: A Throwback To SS Rajamouli’s 2005 Interview


Student No.1 release ayyi, Eeroju tho 18 years. So Ah film gurinchi interesting facts kosam vethukutunte.. I found this crazily interesting article on, The OG IMDb of Telugu cinema we know since our childhood. So, Eppudooo 2005 lo Jeevi garu, Rajamouli garitho teeskunna ee interview lo, Adigina interesting questions lo, Asal how did SS Rajamouli end up directing his debut film, Student No.1 ane question ki super interesting answer icharu Rajamouli garu. I think you’ll also find it interesting.


Ee line end avvagane, Start ayye matter motham Rajamouli garu, Idlebrain Jeevi gariki cheppinave. Have a look:

Long back, my father directed a film called Ardhangi, which went on to become a disaster. We went into debt trap as we were also involved in the production of that film. It took years for us to pick up and put the pieces together.


I packed my stuff and moved to Hyderabad from Chennai. At that time, Gangaraju was planning to direct his second film (which eventually never took off) after Little Soldiers. It was with Gangaraju I learnt about the practical aspect of filmmaking. I also realized that nobody helps anybody here and we gotta work hard to survive and succeed.


During that time, K Raghavendra Rao was appointed as the Electronic Media Adviser to the State Government. Myself and Chandu (Chandra Sekhar Yeleti of Aithe and AOR) approached Raghavendra Rao with concepts for TV spots. We were given TV ad spots to direct certain social message oriented commercials. I made my first earning through that. It was the most memorable moment of my life. Later on I did ads for Telugu Desam Party too.


Later on, I directed Santhi Nivasam TV Serial which was produced by K Raghavendra Rao. I worked like a maniac for one and half years. That period is the most arduous period in my life as I used to work for 17 hours a day. During that period I hardly watched 10 films. Even K Raghavendra Rao used to call me ‘Rakshasudu’ for the kind of rigorous work I put in. Inspite of all my hard work, K Raghavendra Rao used to give 5th priority to me among his protégés.


Vara (director of Naa Alludu) was given first preference for all K Raghavendra Rao’s works though I worked harder than all others.


Myself and Vara were selected to direct Student No.1 jointly. At that time Vara was directing two prime TV serials. And the producer thought that there could be confusion in direction if two guys direct it. Hence, Vara dropped out and I was confirmed.

That is how Student No.1 happened. There are 1000’s of director wannabes who tap the doors of production houses everyday for a chance. I had every good thing happen to me just like that without even asking for it. I worked on Student No.1 right from the script level and delivered it.


Though Student No.1 was a hit, the people in business circle attributed the majority part of the success to darsakatva paryavekshana of K Raghavendra Rao. I did not realize it as all the people who met me said that I did well as director.



After Student No.1 success, I was supposed to direct fantasy flick with Surya Prakash (son of K Raghavendra Rao) as hero. But his first film Neetho was a flop and budget for fantasy film is quite high. That is when they decided that it was economically not feasible and the project was shelved.


If you’re still interested to read more of that interview.. Here’s the link. Their website is full of such amazing interviews from back in the time.

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