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Rajamouli Interview article on Baahubali

S.S Rajamouli, Basking In The Mind-Numbing Success Of  Baahaubali Speaks To Subhash K Jha

Your film Baahubali has opened to unprecedented crowds . Were you surprised by the response specially from  the North where dubbed versions of South Indian films never perform well?

No. Because in principle,  if your story is based on human emotions rather than sensibilities, it should do well across all regions and languages. But to see it actually happen made me very happy.

Baahubali is all set to become one of the biggest hits of all times. What do you think is the secret of its stupendous success?

At the heart  of it we had a fantastic story and powerful characters. My producer Shobu, all the technicians and all the actors sincerely believed this to be a potential classic and worked towards achieving it.

The film has some of the most stunning optical effects ever seen in cinema  anywhere.How much of he film’s incandescent beauty did you create on the editing table?

They were created on the writing table(laughs).We spent almost one year in pre- visualising the entire film. It is during this time that all of us had an idea about how the final should look. And we set about achieving it for the next 2 years.

Tell me about the out of the world paradisaical heavenly locations?

All  I can say is achieving that heaven was helluva lot of work!

Your heroine played by Tamnnnaah Bhatia  is a fascinating blend of the warrior and the seductress. Why have you shown the  viram  rasa and the shringar rasa to be mutually exclusive?

Didn’t give that such a deep thought.I don’t intellectualize my scenes and characters. Sometimes as the scene starts developing you feel that it is working. It is an instinctive thought. when I  feel it I don’t look too much into logictics.I go with my heart.

 

So far audiences in India complain that the Indian spectacle can never match its Indian counterpart. Baahubali changes that perception. And how! With a budget that’s a fraction of James Cameron’s Avatar how did you  manage to create such an epic canvas?

My VfX Supervisor Srinivasa Mohan, Pete Draper of Makuta, Sanath of Firefly are highly talented,focussed and know every trick of the trade.Studios like Tau films and EFX Hyderabad  and numerous other VFX studios based in Hyderabad joined the marathon. 

My DOP Sendhil is a master at achieving grandeur and his knowledge of Vfx is unparalleled. And SabuCyrill- I don’t call him a production designer. He is scientist. He is a problem solver.Costume Designers Rama, Prashanthi, Krishna had a tremendous grasp over colours and textures and practical sense of when to use what.

With these technicians on board with the producer who had a vision, it wasn’t too difficult.

Your narrative style, the costumes and the setting suggest a deep affinity to the Indian mythological epics . Did you set out to design a modernday fable with visuals inspired by Hindu gods and their tale of valour?

I relate more to the tales of mythology and folklore than contemporary stories. Everything from the story to the emotions to the language to the look, is set in an ancient period. Yes I AM always inspired by INDIAN stories and it shows in my films.

Tell me about how your editing…how did you sift through your vast epic to  create a balanced and palatable packaged? The war scene is almost half an hour long? Did you consciously design the battle to a lengthy ode to the spirit of ancient valour and patriotism?

There were hundreds of versions of war edit. We were constantly changing and rearranging to get the best out of hours and hours of footage. but I knew every single shot by heart. And the length is determined by the tactics and emotions on the battlefield rather than anything else.

Which films and filmmakers have served as your inspiration for Baahubali?

Shri KV Reddy, the legendary Telugu film director who made the all time classic Maya Bazar is a huge inspiration. Mel Gibson and Ridley Scott are my all time favourite directors.

Were you not tempted to  cast a Bollywood  star and make a full-fledged Hindi  version? Prabhas was unknown to Hindi audiences.

No. I needed an actor with whom I have a very good rapport. one who has faith in my way of handling the project. Prabhas gave me two years of his dates when I asked him for one year. Without him this project wouldn’t have happened.

Okay,what is the best compliment you’ve received so far for Baahubali?

From Rajinikanth. It is too personal to disclose. sorry.

What does your daughter think of the film?

She hated  Baahubali because the film gave me very little time to spend  with her over the past two  years. But when she finally saw the film in the theatre she walked up to me and said, “ Nana, it is beyond Epic,”

Related terms: Baahubali Songs, Baahubali Twitter, Rajamouli Wiki

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