As one gets a chance to look away from Telugu actor Prabhas' impressive abs in India's 'most expensive film' Baahubali: The Beginning (2015), one only gets a glimpse of other intricate details on the screen that weave the story together and add the element of grandiosity to the film.
In a telephone chat with HuffPost India, Baahubali: The Beginning director SS Rajamouli elaborated upon the attention to detail that had gone into the film. "Have you ever wondered where the fictional city of Mahishmati is set? Why does the soil bear that particular colour? Why is the iron sword the weapon of choice in for all the soldiers? Why do all the characters wear clothes made from a particular fabric," he asked.
Speaking during the launch of Baahubali's newest avatar — in the form of graphic novels, games and animated series — Rajamouli spoke candidly about how he expects the 'world of Baahubali' to be taken forward with the help of high-end multimedia, such as a graphic novel and online games, that caters specially to the youth.
Q: Will these multimedia products take the film forward?
No, not really. You see, the world of Baahubali is much bigger, more vast than the film. There's only so much one can show in a film. But the kind of research that has got into bringing those characters alive — every detail about the character and his/her traits, research about the kingdom, clothes, weapon, costumes — it is not coincidental. I spent over one year before working on the film, figuring out all these little details about the character. That's why they look so vibrant and full on the screen.
So the graphic novel will revolve around the characters — be it the protagonists or the supporting characters — and their back-stories.
Q: Why do you think films/series such as Game of Thrones or Baahubali, which are set in a mythological, ancient era, hold such strong appeal for the youth?
It is because the stories are compelling. It is the choice of the storyteller, as to what era, past, present or the future, the filmmaker decides to set it in. As long as the story is good, interesting, there will always be an audience.
Q: How do you think graphic novels and games can help you connect to the youth who think that watching a five-minute video on YouTube is an ordeal?
[Laughs] It is true that the attention span of the audience is going down. But I am a firm believer that you give them a good story, good content, and they're going to come back. So many people before us have tried to make comics or series online. But they stopped after a while, noticing that it wasn't getting them much traffic. If you persevere, it gets ingrained in peoples' minds. There are several success stories to prove that point.
Q: Is it true that Baahubali 3 will have a new plot with fresh cast and that it will not be a continuation of the earlier two films?
Yes. It is true. Baahubali 3 will be a whole different story.
Baahubali: The Beginning which was released in July 2015, was made on a budget of ₹120 crore. The film featured Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah, and Anushka Shetty in key roles; and Sathyaraj, Ramya Krishnan, Nassar, Adivi Sesh, Tanikella Bharani, and Sudeep in supporting roles. The film was simultaneously made in Telugu and Tamil and dubbed into Hindi, Malayalam, and French.