SS Rajamouli is clearly the director of the year in Indian cinema, if production razzmatazz is any indication. The first part of his two-part, Rs 250-crore epic Baahubali has garnered Rs 200 crore in its opening week, signaling a global work that shows a new market for Indian cinema, aided by low-cost but high-quality visual effects and stories that have universal appeal. The 41-year-old Rajamouli, who shot to national prominence with Eega, remade as Makkhi in Hindi, spoke to HT on range of issues linked to his movie. Excerpts:
On entering the global market
Our producer Shobu (Yarlagadda) asked us right from the start to look at this as an international film and never as a regional film at any point. He injected it into us at every stage. The prospects for an international release are looking good. We are getting calls from China, Korea and Japan markets and also some French and Europeans. We are making an international cut (of the film) and getting a French editor. Hopefully in the next two to three months we will see the international release.
On the film’s budget
To be frank, the numbers are still confusing at this point of time. It is a two-part movie. The realization will be for two parts. About 40 to 50 percent of the second part is yet to be shot. What I expect is a budget of Rs 250 crore for the two parts together.
The technology part is also similar. It all gets jumbled up. There pre-visualisation and there is visual separation. In some cases we shot the actors and then it was merged. In some cases the background is created (on computers) but not shot. In most of the big budget films these days, the big portion is for the stars. Here it is minimal.
On visual effects
There were 16 visual effects studios working on the film. All are in Hyderabad and are the best in the country. Predominantly they have been Makuta, Firefly, EFX Hyderabad and Tao Films. These were the principal studios. Then there were 12 more. We had 600 artists just on the visual effects. I don’t compare my films with others (like Avatar or Enthiran). I have a story to tell. My story has some requirements. That’s about it. Frankly, I don’t like to compare.
Cost comparison with Hollywood
I can authoritatively say India is the best place for visual effects. In every internationally acclaimed film these days, a major part of the work has been done in India for the past 15 years, including “The Life of Pi “ and Avatar. India is the hub for visual effects. But we don’t have the supervisors. All this has so far been driven from abroad due to a lack of supervisors. In future, I intend to see supervisors in India and see more people like Srinivas Mohan come up.
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