The wait is almost over.
In less than 24 hours, the fans of mythological magnum-opus Baahubali will have the answer to why Katappa, the fierce loyalist to the lead hero, killed the title character by stabbing him in the back with a sword.
“We promise it’s going to be well answered and the fans won’t be disappointed,” said Rana Daggubati, who plays the evil, power-hungry brother of Baahubali.
“My duty is to challenge and satisfy that curiosity because the storyline is etched in every fan’s minds. I hope I come out with flying colours,” said S.S. Rajamouli about the second and final instalment, releasing in the UAE on April 27.
The team of Baahubali 2: The Conclusion were in Dubai this week to promote the film that will release in four Indian languages simultaneously.
Two years ago, the good vs evil fantasy drama captured the collective imagination of the movie-mad Indians with its heady concoction of warrior escapades, larger-than-life battle scenes, Indian folklore and its spectacular special effects.
Director S.S. Rajamouli’s epic film is the tale of Baahubali (Prabhas) and his brother Bhallaldeva’s (Daggubati) fight to conquer the throne of Mahishmati, a fictional Indian kingdom. If the West had the insanely popular Game Of Thrones to appease their love for fantasy and adventure, India appeased its appetite with Baahubali that drew generously from the Indian folklore traditions with its mighty kings, warriors and waifs.
The reception has been epic ever since.
In the UAE, advance cinema bookings have clocked 120,000 admissions on the opening day.
“This is historical and we have never witnessed something so big. Usually films starring Shah Rukh Khan, Aamir Khan or Salman Khan get around 50,000 or 60,000 admissions and this is double,” said Ahmad Golchin from Phars Film, the local distributor. It’s also the first time that they are releasing a film simultaneously in four languages in over 180 screens.
Ahead of the release, Gulf News tabloid! spoke to the stars to find out what’s in store for fans of the series…
“Six years isn’t a long time for a film like Baahubali”
Prabhas: “I know Rajamouli’s passion and madness and I have known him for 13 or 14 years. Six years ago when he told me he wanted to do something big, I climbed on board instantly. He showed me the waterfall scene from Baahubali and I could imagine the size and its massive scale. Six years isn’t a long time for an actor when it comes to a film like this. Time was what I could put in from my side and it ended up being such a good period film. Time isn’t of the essence here”
“I don’t agree with the criticisms”
(A few critics lambasted the epic film for being sexist, testosterone-charged, while the courtship scene between Tamannaah and Prabhas was lampooned for romanticising sexual assault.)
S.S. Rajamouli: “There are some very strong women in Baahubali. I don’t agree with the criticism regarding Tamannaah’s character. Whatever objection that some had about her being weaker than the heroes isn’t true. I am not a feminist or an anti-feminist. I work in terms of my characters. My allegiance is to always tell the story and how the characters can serve the story better.”
Anushka Shetty: “Baahubali has an exceptional storyline. Each and every character is there for a reason. It’s not about a man or a woman’s role. If you take away a character, you will feel the void.”
Daggubati: “They [the women] are so powerful in this film and they bring so much meaning to the story.”
“We are not going to stretch a successful story to make money. Baahubali 2 is the end of the film series.”
Rajamouli: “The world of Baahubali will live in terms of animation, web series, TV serials, graphic novels and comics. But the film will end with its second part... Having said that, we all felt those withdrawal symptoms when we finished filming for Baahubali. It was gut-wrenching and we will miss that world.”
“I would bulk up and shrink six times over again… happily and without questions.”
Daggubati: “Physically transforming ourselves was a given. During the filming, we worked very hard to maintain that physique. But post that, I haven’t gone to the gym for months. When you are making a film that’s so large, you will do this and more many times over. I don’t mind expanding or shrinking if my role demands it.”
Rajamouli: “Forget building a gym, these two used to have a van filled with iron and gym equipment trailing after them. They lived and breathed iron.”
“Sivagami [the powerful mother played by Remya Krishnan] is our favourite character”
Rajamouli: “Her strength that she displays as a queen, as a mother, as a protector of her kingdom, makers her our natural choice. She is deeply etched in our brains because she evokes such reverence. She’s the epitome of strength and dignity.”
“Amar Chitra Katha [Comics that highlighted Indian folklore] has been my inspiration all my life”
Rajamouli: “We have grown up listening to those mythological story. And not just as a filmmaker, as an individual I can say that my life has been dictated by those Amar Chitra Katha.”
“Awards are just bonuses” (Baahubali won two national awards and several others)
Rajamouli: “I don’t know about Oscars because they are a different ballgame altogether. But we never look at films in terms of the awards it may get. I look at films in terms of audience entertainment and how we can maximise their movie-vieweing experience… Once the audience takes a seat in the cinema, it’s just the content that matters. Other superlatives attached to the film like its large posters, promotions won’t matter. If the story isn’t strong, then nothing else counts… During the release of the first part, we knew we were entering into never-tested-before waters. But now the story has been half told and since it cut across different cultures, foreign audiences and languages, we are more confident with its final part.”
Don’t miss it!
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion releases in the UAE on April 27.
Did you know?
Baahubali 2: The Conclusion has been given a 15+ rating in this region.