Why Kattappa killed Baahubali? The social media was agog with this question and millions of twitterati trends, trolls, and memes flooding newsfeeds. Even Bhallaladeva, the towering villain of Arka Media’s magnum opus, Baahubali, doesn’t want to open the fist for obvious reasons.
Baahubali has now become a brand. The version 2.0 will have a lot more drama than the first part. About 50 per cent of the shoot for the part-2 is over and Rana Daggubati, who got into the skin of the role of Bhallaladeva, is nervous about getting back on to track, as the initial parts of the movie were shot almost three years ago. Rana, who did the spine-chilling bullfight in the Rajamouli-crafted blockbuster, talks at length about Baahubali 2.0 in an interview with DailyBouncer.
Baahubali, as you said while referring to the observation of Karan Johar, is India’s biggest motion picture. Do you think Baahubali 2.0 would be the next biggest movie?
Baahubali 2.0 will definitely be as large as Baahubali 1.0. It’s going to be a similar visual spectacle, with some more new added elements. This will, in fact, be the biggest one.
In terms of grandeur, Baahubali has surpassed all movies in the country. Does the second part too have much more breath-taking scenes?
It does have. The film is made to be a visual feast. It is set in a fictional time with big, grand monuments. The part 2 will be packed with a lot more for the audience than what you have seen in part one.
If Prabhas had that jumping across the massive waterfall, you had the spine-chilling bullfight. Are there anything akin to these that excite audience in Baahubali 2.0?
Yes. There are a lot more adrenaline-rushing scenes in the version 2.0. And, there will be a lot more drama, which is little less in what we have already seen in 1.0 of the film. It is a film with visual treat and words are not sufficient to express these.
The Hindi version alone grossed over Rs. 100 cr. The movie as it is crossed Rs. 500 cr and is inching forward to become India’s all-time no 1 grosser. Did you foresee Baahubali 2.0 would surpass all these records?
There is a good growth in Telugu in terms of collections and a much larger growth is likely. All languages combined, the movie, for sure, is going to be the biggest. Now Baahubali is a brand by itself. Now we foresee the second part grossing more in other territories also.
So far, it is north and Hindi domination in the tinsel town. Has Baahubali set a new trend in the sense that South Indian movies can now break into the national commercial movie scene?
Ok. Let me put it this way. It’s always been the case that South Indian movies have broken into the national commercial movie scene and smashed records. Nagarjuna-starrer film, Shiva (1989), was made by Ram Gopal Varma and that shattered all records. Similarly, when Mani Ratnam’s Roja (1992) was released, it proved to be far bigger a hit than any movie of that times. So, what I would say is that it is content that drives the audience to the movies and success follows. Baahubali is a continuing proof of that.
Do you think Baahubali would become an inspiration for filmmakers to focus more on making blockbuster movies? If that becomes a trend, wouldn’t the low-budget movies get affected?
I don’t think. Actually, each film is to its own. You have films of different genres. You have big super-hero movies with a lot of fanfare; or franchisee movies or big star drama movies; and independent non-studio movies. All kinds of movies run parallel to one another. Baahubali is a war film. Other movies, Bajarangi Bhaijan in Hindi, Sreemanthudu in Telugu, and MI-6, which is a big Hollywood movie, have all been released around the same time and they have all done well at the box office. Audience just want to watch a good movie. It doesn’t matter which genre it belongs to.
How taxing is it to work for a single movie for over three years in terms of demand from other movies?
I have sacrificed five to six movie offers for the sake of Baahubali. But if I want to be part of Baahubali, I have to do it. Because, there are some things we have to let go, for a lifetime experience like Baahubali. In fact, it was physically taxing too, as 120 days of shooting was just war scenes. But, it was very exciting too. There’s a lot of adrenaline rush experienced by any actor when they have a role in a movie like this, because these films are not made everyday.
Earlier Hindi movies are remade in other languages and vice-versa in some cases. Do you think the multilingual movie production approach like Baahubali would impact the remake of movies into other languages?
Not really. The star-driven films actually work when the movies are language-specific and region-specific. Films like that will have to be remade to serve the audience of other regions and languages. But in case of a film like Baahubali, it is impossible to remake them. It is always easier to go and shoot in all languages (chosen by the producers & director) simultaneously, instead of remaking them in all languages with the kind of money that is put in the movie.
As regards your physical weight gain by 20-plus kg for Baahubali, have you gone down later and how does it affect your body?
I gained over 20 kg for the movie and later I shed 28 kg and now I am weighing 95 kg. But, we have done close to 50-55 per cent of the shoot even for part 2. I am currently doing a movie called, Bangalore Days (Malayalam movie – in Tamil) in which I am donning a very soft and sober role, for which I had to bring down my weight. Nutritionists and dieticians are prescribing my diet. I need to gain again for the remaining part of the shoot of Baahubali.
You did not have a heroine in Baahubali 1.0 and is it the same in the part-2 also? When you are the ruler, aren’t you supposed to have a “Maharani”? Was that deliberate or forgotten mistake in the story? Don’t you think your role has been deglamourized?
First of all, my role is not deglamourized (grins). A villain is always a glamorous guy. Villains are always flamboyant in a cinema. Therefore, the question of attaching glamour to their roles does not arise. Take for instance, the roles of Duryodhana or any of the likes in our mythological stories, there is no role of a heroine. Only NTR had experimented with a heroine. And, glamour is not the reason I am chosen for the film, neither I have chosen it for.
What part of this movie you felt you could have done better?
We actually shot simultaneously for both the parts. I am actually nervous about part-2. I actually want to see those rushes again. I have asked Rajamouli (Director of the movie) to show those scenes once again. Those were the first things we have done. It has been three years since I shot those scenes. I need to watch them to get back into the character again. Getting back into the track is my real fear now. Not too much of work is left. A shoot of 60-70 days, and my role would be wrapped up.
Given a chance, would you have chosen to be Baahubali or Bhallaladeva?
I always like Bhallaladeva. Rarely you would get a negative character that can charm the audience.
Nobody in the known history of real or reel life had an opportunity to have a 100-foot-tall statue of his. Do you wish to get it to Ramanaidu Studio and have it installed there as a memorabilia?
It is a 130-foot statue that weighs 25 tonnes. So, it cannot be moved. But it was a superb structure an Sabu (Cyril) had built it.