Director SS Rajamouli has made successful films like Magadheera, Eega (Makkhi in Hindi) and is coming up with India’s biggest film yet -Baahubali. If you’ve seen the trailer you already know that everything about the film is grand in scale.
Rajamouli’s films have also been remade as Rowdy Rathore and Son of Sardarin Bollywood and he commands immense respect and awe down South. The filmmaker now wants to make a Hindi film to reach a larger market when he has a decent script for it. And the man has his heart set on Aamir Khan for his hero.
Q: Baahubali, like the tale itself is an epic project. How many shooting days will you take to complete both parts of the film and what is the budget?
A: We have already shot for 380 days. There’s 120 days more to go. About 40% of the second part of the film remains to be shot which we will do after the release of the first part. The whole budget combined to make both parts ofBahubali will cross Rs 250 crores. The story is so big it can’t be told in one part. We tried to compress the film to see if it can fit in one part but we figured it wasn’t working. We were losing the nuances and were sacrificing good emotional moments of the film and we knew we were not doing justice to the story.
Q: Which was the most difficult shot or sequence to can? And why?
A: For the war sequence in Baahubali, we took four months to shoot. It required a multitude of actors, technicians and different techniques that needed to be weaved together to give it a seamless spectacular form. On screen it will be a short 20 minute sequence.
Q: Your film Eega which revolved around a fly tasted success at the box office on the basis of a story. You didn’t need a superstar then. Why do you need stars now? Or do you think the combination of a story backed by stars work better?
A: It depends on the story. Some stories demand stars. First I am moved by the story. If the story demands a star, I will go and convince them somehow and get them on board but first the story has to be demand it. Some stories demand stars, some don’t.
Q: What are you expectations from Baahubali?
A: I expect to break all records and earn more than what we spent on this film. No one makes films to lose money. We need money to survive and go forward but why we make films is only for one reason - we love films.
Q: Why do you want to work with Aamir Khan?
A: Aamir Khan’s contribution to the Indian film industry is immense, from bringing back sync sound, discipline, giving importance to the story, insisting on a bound script before commencing a shoot, he has redefined so many things. He got innovative publicity of films into spotlight. I want to work with him because there’s so much to learn from him. I have met him only once 5 years ago and we had intense and insightful conversation around Mahabharata.
Q: You have also wanted to work with superstars like Mahesh Babu and Pavan Kalyan down South?
A: I want to work with every superstar if I get a chance and not just them. I know how I can exploit stardom and drive the fans into a frenzy. I know their potential. They are like weapons but we need a sling shot ie a story to strike with.
Q: Does Makkhi’s success in Hindi speaking states add a burden of expectations on how Baahubali will perform pan India?
A: The success of my previous films never burdened me. Once I am done with a project it’s put in a closet – it never burdens me. What I think during a current project is – whether I am doing this film the right way. Am I getting my shots right? Am I getting my edit right? Am I getting my music right? Am I telling my story right? Those are the questions I think about when on a new project and not about my previous films.
Q: When a Hindi remake of your film doesn’t do well – like Son of Sardar – do you cringe?
A: A story is a story. Each director visualizes a story differently. I made it the way I visualized it. Someone else may have a different take that works – likeRowdy Rathore or something that may not work – like Son of Sardar. I have no role in what their take on the story is and how it fares.