They don’t make films like this anymore, or do they? Well, only if it comes from the godly hands of SS Rajamouli. When the director’s latest offering Baahubali: The Conclusion got postponed for almost a year, fans couldn’t bear the delay. But now that the film is out, making and breaking records, it was every bit worth the wait. Baahubali 2 has established a benchmark in Indian cinema by surpassing Aamir Khan’s Dangal and Salman Khan-starrer Sultan’s opening day records. It ended up over Rs 100 crore on its very first day.
A tsunami of box office business was expected with the sequel’s release. It hit right on time and created an avalanche. Both in domestic and international movie theaters. The combined might of Prabhas, Sathyaraj, Rana Daaggubati and SS Raajamouli ensured that Tom Hank’s latest The Circle was trumped at the box office. And the irony of it all is that the Hindi dub of Baahubali 2 has amassed Rs 100 crore in the opening weekend. Let’s try to focus on some points that might prove why Bollywood could never have made a Baahubali, despite being one of the largest film industries.
Bollywood won’t spend Rs 430 crore on a franchise: Baahubali 1 cost Rs 180 crore, while Baahubali 2 budget stood at Rs 250 crore. No one can manage this heavy budget and translate it into opulence on the big screen. Sanjay Leela Bhansali, shelled out Rs 125 crore for Bajirao Mastani, his highest till date. The makers of Baahubali deserve nothing less than a salute for peeping into the future and pumping in 430 crore into this colossal project.
Bollywood actors cannot give five years of their life to one project: Prabhas did not sign another film in the past five years, when Baahubali 1 and 2 were being made. He was restricted from cutting his hair and followed a regimen that included dozens of eggs everyday with rigorous training sessions punctuated with broken bones and a surgery. Cut to Bollywood and we have our Mr Perfectionist Aamir Khan, who is known to work on only one film a year, sometimes in a year and a half too, to maintain his success rate. But ask him if he is ready to give five years to one project?
The dates factor: Another key factor that dilutes the pursuit of excellence in Hindi cinema is the film industry’s obsession with dates. A suitable release date, one that will potentially maximize revenue, rules filmmaking decisions in Hindi cinema. Similarly, a movie star maximizes his/her revenue earning time by breaking up their workdays across different commitments. Dedicating bulk amounts of time to just one film is unheard of in Hindi cinema.
Is the camaraderie real? When two stars do work together in a film they tend to walk on eggshells each other, with high levels of competitive anxiety. There was once a time when camaraderie between superstars delivered the goods for producers. Such friendliness and focus on film above mutual rivalry is very uncommon among present day stars.
For the young and raring to go generation of Bollywood stars, it’s important to focus on this change. A paradigm shift is needed – from writers, filmmakers, and actors – to create cinema that has universal appeal across age groups and languages.
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