The director on his next projects and learning to live up to the expectations of fans
It’s SS Rajamouli’s Amar Chithra Katha moment. For a man who grew up reading the comics, he couldn’t have asked for a better New Year gift—his Baahubali is all set to launch as comics, animations, novels and games. “I’ve been a big fan since childhood and I have wanted to do a big war film for a very long time. Mahabharata is a favourite. So I put all my dreams into Baahubali,” he tells me.
Baahubali: The Beginning grossed over Rs. 500 crores at the box office and he is in the process of wrapping up the second and final part, Baahubali: The Conclusion. He is aware of the expectations “I think it is an advantage — we already have a good story in hand. What we have given in the first part is the milder version, so I can say the best is yet to come. During the making, all I am worried about is transporting what is on paper to the screen,” he says. Rajamouli is all about the compelling story. “I am not here to educate or bombard you with social messages.”
As a filmmaker, he enjoys the writing the most. “Then I am just conceiving it and not worrying over the execution,” he explains. While the social media buzzed with speculation over Kattappa killing Baahubali in the film, Rajamouli admits that he did not quite foresee the supposed din over the Tamannah-Baahubali romantic scene. “That is one of the most beautiful poetic sequences I have ever done in my life. I am proud of it and I don’t care about pseudo-intellectuals commenting, who think otherwise.”
He equates filmmaking to preparing for a war — with generals and well-trained foot soldiers who understand your battle plans clearly. As long as it is not just about box-office returns and awards, filmmaking, says Rajamouli, will be a gratifying process. And yes, he still has a million stories of great kings he is dying to tell—from Rana Pratap, Sivaji and Raja Raja Cholan to Ashoka and Akbar.
Baahubali: The Conclusion is scheduled to release in January 2017.
The epic saga of the Baahubali multiverse is turning into a graphic novel series. They’ve roped in Graphic India — a Bengaluru-based character entertainment company — to expand on the world-building. “Our plot will revolve around the backstory of young princes, Amarendra Bahubali and Bhallala Deva, as they learn about the art of war, culture and court-politics,” shares CEO Sharad Devarajan, adding that he hopes to branch out to create games, animation mini-series and mobile apps, centered around the franchise.