Unique characterization did wonders, says Rajamouli

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 - 21:00

S S Rajamouli is now one of the top most directors in India. He has taken Telugu cinema to the global arena with 'Baahubali'. As 'Baahubali 2' hits the screens on April 28, Rajamouli in this interview talks about what worked for the movie, what makes him feel proud, why 'Mahabharatham' won't be happening, and more. 

Tension is growing:

So long as I was working on the movie, there was only excitement. Now that all the works have been done with, tension is taking birth.

Characterizations did the magic:

If you ask me what worked most for the movie, more than the grandeur and richness, it's the strength of the characterizations that did wonders.  If the audience enjoys a movie while he/she watches it, it's considered as good cinema. But if he/she remembers the characters long after walking out of the theatre, it is great cinema. A lion's share of the credit for the characters should go to my father (writer Vijayendra Prasad).

My father gives the storyline me with the characters, their names, their origins, history, etc. And around them, I work out the relationships, conflicts, etc. He raises questions, but we together work to come up with the answers.

Not a sequel:

Sequel is not the right word to describe 'Baahubali 2'. One story was divided into two parts since the story couldn't be told at a single stretch.  We did cogitate over how to tell the story, whether linearly or with a flashback mode.  The track of things leading to Baahubali's death, it was decided later, should come in the flashback.  

The gap between the two parts was planned to be some 4 to 6 months, but it ended up being 20 months. We never thought it would take five years for the two parts, in the first place. Once we got into it, I never had second thoughts. That I got to work with a very good cast and crew helped.

Never thought it would be atom bomb:

I wanted to end the first part on a high note. I thought the question of why Kattappa killed Baahubali would be a jolt, but it turned out to be an atom bomb! As a storyteller, 'Baahubali' is surely the most satisfying experience. The film is not hero-centric alone. At least six to seven characters are very important. At the same time, the story gave me the space to elevate heroism to peaks, which is my favourite element.

I never imagined that 'Baahubali' would become so popular in even countries like South Korea. It feels proud that our film has made a name for Indian cinema when people in other countries used to think of only a Shah Rukh Khan when it came to Indian cinema.  

No question of total satisfaction:

No director can ever deliver in what he has in mind to the tune of cent per cent. It's because while imagination is mental and without bounds, picturization is physical. A good product doesn't come out merely with hard work. Smart work should also be there.  

Unanswered questions don't matter:

I know that Vinay garu (VV Vinayak) did say that 'Baahubali' became such a big hit although it has many unanswered questions. But this is nothing new. Indians have made many Hollywood franchise films big hits. So, we never felt unanswered questions would be a problem.

Those three are special:

The journey of 'Baahubali' has been possible because of three people. 1.Producers - they believed that I would pull it off in an untiring and uncompromising manner. 2. My family, who have always protected me throughout. I am luckiest in that regard. 3. The third is Prabhas, he is soul for this project.  

On run-time:

The actual run-time is 2:41 minutes only. The rolling credits and thank you credits put together needed 7 minutes.  

The 'Mayabazar' experience:

When I watched 'Mayabazar' as a kid, it was like magical experience. When I watched it after 20 years, I was even more impressed with the photography, etc. During the making of 'Yama Donga', my Vfx supervisor and I banged our heads for 20 minutes trying to make out how the Vishwaroopam scene could be done many decades ago. There is a song in the initial scenes, which introduces, in a matter of just two minutes, the various characters.

I am human, after all:

People ask me how I have changed as a person after 'Baahubali'. As a human, I do get pride. But my wife and vadina are there to keep me under control if I talk more than I what I should in a public forum. My feet are always on the ground.

No 'Mahabharatham' movie:

At present, I neither have the energy nor the skill set to make a film on 'Mahabharatham' as I have it in mind. I may think about this in future. Not now. 

Extra Shows

It's good that extra shows have been permitted. In fact, five shows should be the norm everywhere, not just in multiplexes. Four shows were when the population was less. It has doubled since.