Baahubali: Fact Vs. Fiction
- “Prabhas and Rana were not the original choices”
The entire team of Baahubali worked so hard for 5 years on the 2 films, so it’d be great if people didn’t disrespect the actors by recasting their roles. Also for the love of God, kill the rumors that the movie was first offered to Hrithik Roshan or John Abraham or whatever bollywood actor’s diminishing career you’re trying to validate. Here’s proof from Rana himself:
and this is the article that he was referring to:
And here’s a direct quote from Rajamouli from this interview:
“Surprisingly it is quite difficult for people to believe that he was on board even before the script was done. I wanted to make this huge, epic war film for a long time and we didn’t have the script on hand, but somehow I knew that he was my protagonist. I used to tell him…I didn’t have the story so I didn’t have anything to tell him, but I used to tell him the kind of historical kings we had, the characterizations of Rana Prathap, the characterizations of Sivaji, of Sri Krishna Devaraya, of all of the kings of India. And I used to tell him that these are the lines that I’m thinking on and wanted him to play. He loved it, he loved the idea, and when I finally told him the story of Baahubali, and said that I would be needing him for one or one and a half year, he laughed and he said ‘You’re not going to make this in one and a half year, I know it will take more time, let it be two or three years, I’m there for you’ and he gave his dates without committing to any other film”
- “The VFX was done with hollywood talent”
There were also so rumors that Baahubali utilized the same VFX team that worked on Jurrassic World which was denied by producer, Shobu Yarlagadda. One of the co-founders of Makuta VFX, which previously worked with Rajamouli on Magadheera, Maryada Ramanna, and Eega, stated: “ Most of Baahubali was developed in Hyderabad, home to Tollywood, and used local talent. It was principally a homegrown feature produced by homegrown talent.“
- “Karan Johar came on board because Baahubali needed Bollywood money to be made.”
That’s not true. Arka Media Works produced both films. What started as a single film, shot simultaneously in Telugu and Tamil was then split into two after realizing the scope of the story. The Hindi version was not on the cards until Rana, who has bollywood connections due to his prior movies, pitched the film to Karan Johar and convinced him of its capacity to be a national phenomenon. Then only did Karan Johar come on board as a presenter. He certainly deserves credit for heavily promoting the film and grabbing bollywood’s attention by having his name attached but he was not involved in the film making process. Rajamouli has stated many times that if Prabhas committed to Baahubali by not taking on any other projects, Rana did so by being the team’s “mascot” and taking it to new terrain.
- “Rajamouli enhanced the character of Devasena after the criticism of Avanthika in the first part”
I have my personal opinions about the character of Avanthika but in general some of the criticism the character received is valid. However, the character of Devasena was not changed in order to avoid the backlash. Devasena is the character she was since the film went on floors. When the movie was first started, it was supposed to be a single film which is why they began shooting with the flashback portions that are seen in the second part. This still, which is from a scene in The Conclusion, surfaced even before the release of the first part which shows that the story did not change much. Also, the team has stated in many interviews that they did not make any changes to the story after the response to the first one. They did make some changes in terms of editing and VFX but the characterizations did not change.
Tamanna has said before that she came on board pretty late into the making. Its highly likely that the character of Avanthika was added to bring some “masala” and appeal to a larger audience. If you consider the role of Avanthika, the film could have technically happened without her in the story but that is not the case for the strong characterization of Devasena which is the driving force of second part’s plot. This isn’t to excuse some of the issues with Avanthika’s character but just to say that it was a result of last minute tweaking and Devasena was not was an “afterthought”.
- “The Hindi audience supported Baahubali more than the Telugu audience”
Obviously if we look at the numbers, the Hindi version did bring in more money than the Telugu Version. However, its really unfair to say that Telugu people did not support the film as much when it was us who saw its rise from being a rumored project to the sensation it is today. If you want to look at the numbers, just look at the stats of the Hindi audience vs. Telugu. The Hindi speaking population in India is almost at 50% whereas Telugu is around 8%. Then take into account people living in the diaspora and there’s no way we can compete. Also there is a huge audience that does not speak any of the languages the film released in and by default probably saw the Hindi version because its closest to their native language or the one they’re most familiar with. Either way, we shouldn't quantify support with BO numbers because the odds are always going to against non-Hindi speakers. Don’t take this victory away from the Telugu industry that has long been ridiculed in the national media for producing only “masala” films. Don’t make this about you, because its really, really not. oh and btw, STOP TAGGING BAAHUBALI CONTENT AS BOLLYWOOD
- Final Thoughts
Its really easy for us to sit here and just say, ‘of course they all gave their time and dedication to this project, anyone, given the chance, would have. its a once in a lifetime kind of franchise’. But keep in mind that when the film first began production, it was seen as HUGE gamble that had the capacity to end careers if it had gone wrong. It’s because they committed to this project and worked day and night on it that it is what it is today, not in spite of it. So please don’t undermine their success and hard work by basically deeming them as replaceable and let’s give credit where its due.
Of course no cinema is without its faults but sometimes we just need to set aside our critical lens and lets ourselves succumb to the masterpiece in all its glory.
Also the team is full of genuinely kind and humble people who have racked up a lot of goodwill over the years in the industry and I couldn’t be happier that they’re the ones receiving all this success and glory because if it was anyone else, it probably would’ve gone to their heads.
and finally for good measure here’s an Instagram post from Rana, just in case you didn’t love these two enough already