‘Bahubali 2: The Conclusion’ is a once-in-a-lifetime film. A box office phenomenon like the S.S. Rajamouli film happens only once in a decade or two. The last time a film pushed the level of film business to an altogether different level was Sooraj Barjatya’s ‘Hum Aapke Hain Kaun’ and before that we’d probably have to go back as far as Ramesh Sippy’s ‘Sholay’.
But a box office storm like ‘Bahubali 2’, a film that has shattered records across the country, has both advantages and disadvantages.
The first negative side effect of ‘Bahubali 2’ is going to be immediate rush to make the next ‘Bahubali’.
Less than 2 weeks after the release of ‘Bahubali 2’, we’ve had 3 major announcements:
- A UAE businessman wants to invest Rs 1,000 crore to make the epic Mahabharata (narrated from Bhima’s perspective). He has reportedly signed Malayalam superstar Mohanlal to play Bhima and is keen on casting Hrithik Roshan as Krishna.
- Telugu producer Allu Aravind is joining hands with ‘Ghajini’ producer Madhu Mantena and Namit Malhotra (Prime Focus Limited) to make the epic ‘Ramayana’ in 3 different languages. The planned investment on the 3-part series is said to be Rs 500 crore.
- Ritesh Deshmukh is reportedly also planning a 225-crore film on telling the fascinating story of warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
It’s good for film business in India as a whole that we attempting to make big films that bring together the audience from various film industries. After all, the combined footfalls of the two ‘Bahubali’ films just in the two home states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh will exceed the 7-crore mark – which goes to show the immense potential for film business in India.
But the industry needs to very careful here.
The ‘Bahubali’ series is a unique case of brilliant marketing (almost entirely organic) backed with outstanding content and a convincing storyline. It was helmed by one of the best filmmakers the country has ever produced. S.S. Rajamouli is a visionary who gained tremendous confidence after making classics like ‘Magadheera’ and ‘Eega’. His track-record is only matched by directors like Rajkumar Hirani and Shankar. He is the very best, amongst the best.
In Hindi, the only director who is capable enough of making films on such a large canvas is Sanjay Leela Bhansali. He is one director who has sense for scale.
With lesser directors and writers, we could be risking a film similar to ‘Mohenjo Daro’. The director was no less than Ashutosh Gowariker, acclaimed for films like ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Swades’. He compromised on visual effects, slipped in the writing department and a large share of its budget went into the pockets of the lead superstar. The results were disastrous, the film faced outright rejection because the promos and characters weren’t appealing at all. Even a superstar couldn’t save it.
The rush to make the next ‘Bahubali’ could result in the industry losing a lot of money and unless a film gets almost everything right and more – we are unlikely to have another film like ‘Bahubali’ for a long time to come.