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Director Gunasekhar is on cloud nine! His much-awaited Rudhramadevi, based on the story of the 13th century warrior queen of Kakateeya dynasty, is gearing up for release on October 9. For Gunasekhar, who is also the producer of the movie, the release is the end of 12-year-long wait.“I had announced Rudhramadevi in 2003 just after I made Okkadu. At that time, the estimated budget was Rs 20-25 crore. Being a heroine-oriented movie, many producers advised me to make Gona Gannareddy the hero. He is important, but historically Rudhramadevi is more prominent. So I decided to produce the movie myself and waited till the apt time,” he says.So, why did he choose to make a period film? “I was fascinated by Rudhramadevi’s stories from childhood. Later, inspired by historical movies like Braveheart and Gladiator, I dreamt of making a movie on Rudhramadevi,” Gunasekhar says.On the casting, he says he was impressed by Anushka’s performance in Arundhati, but had many other choices first.On the cameo by Allu Arjun, Gunasekhar says, “I had approached several actors, but many were hesitant to play the role of Gona Gannareddy. But Allu Arjun called me and offered to help.”The voice-over is done by Chiranjeevi. “I wanted something like what Amitabh Bachchan did for Lagaan. When I met Chiranjeevi, he immediately agreed and asked me to fix the dates,” he says.So much effort was put on pre-production. A four-member team was set up to do the research. The director worked on the script for nearly a year. “In between, I made a few films, but my total concentration was on this. Pre-production began in March 2012, shooting in March 2013 and we packed up in 2014. Nearly 1,500 people worked on the sets daily,” he says.There were financial hurdles, but shooting was never stopped. By now, around Rs 80 crore has been spent for the movie. The fluctuating release dates was due to technical reasons. “Making a 3D movie was new for us. Importing technicians was a tough task; hence, the delay.”On comparisons with Baahubali, he says both are different genres. What’s next? “If everything goes good, there might be a sequel.”