, Gabbeta Ranjith Kumar
| Bangalore / hyderabad |
Updated: July 10, 2020 10:29:53 AM
Baahubali: The Beginning by director SS Rajamouli was released in theaters around the world five years ago today. And the rest is history.
On the occasion of the film’s fifth anniversary, indianexpress.com talked to several Telugu directors to understand how the Indian film industry has changed since the release of the epic film.
Deva Katta (director, Prasthanam)
Baahubali has created a phenomenon. In the history of 100 years of Indian cinema, there are only some milestones like Sholay and Mayabazar. And Baahubali is one of them. He showed us that the experience of watching cinema could be so profound. When these films happen, the markets explode. Baahubali has expanded the universe of Indian cinema. I think such a phenomenon is unlikely to happen in the coming decades. Baahubali not only made profits for its producers, but increased the earning potential of the entire Telugu film industry. This has encouraged producers to invest more in films.
Rahul Ravindran (director, Chi La Sow)
Baahubali brought people who didn’t go to the cinema for 30 years and those who weren’t interested in the movie at all. He showed us what the real potential of the Indian market was. For the longest period, I wondered, America has only 30% of our population. But the size of their box office market is five times larger than we are. China has a slightly larger population than we do. However, if you see the size of their box office, it is three or four times larger than we are. In our country, barely 2 or 3 percent of the population goes to see a movie. Because? I’ve always wondered. Obviously we don’t have the number of theaters in America or China. But it is also true that only when you have a more theatrical audience, will more theaters be built. And Baahubali came as an answer to that question.
Venu Udugula (director, Virata Parvam)
The creators of Baahubali taught us how to promote a film. They turned a movie into news. Baahubali has been promoted not only as a movie but a carnival. Even those who weren’t interested in the movies went to the cinema to see Baahubali. It has increased respect for the variety of South Indian cinema. After the release of Baahubali 1, every director of southern India has swelled with pride. And it prompted filmmakers from the north to take a close look at what we were doing in Telugu’s film industry. The price for dubbing and remake rights for Telugu films has also increased.
Nandini Reddy (director, Oh! Baby)
Baahubali took the power of storytelling from the south and showed it to all of Northern India. Until then, only Hindi films were considered worthy of pan-India. Southern Indian cinema had not enjoyed that respect before. It was assumed that we only made low budget films and won a couple of prizes. The nicknamed Hindi version of our films was usually played in the “B” and “C” centers. Baahubali didn’t have a single North Indian actor, and was celebrated as a pan-Indian film. I think the last film that reached that feat was Roja. Baahubali has created the nationwide craze. And Bollywood films usually have higher budgets than we do. But we spent less and still showed a lot of magnificence on the screen. We showed everyone the true meaning of epic and how to bring emotions, technical excellence and storytelling to the maximum. Baahubali best presented South Indian cinema. Baahubali has forever changed the way south cinema is perceived. Post-Baahubali, the value enjoyed by filmmakers and technicians from southern India is very different from pre-Baahubal times. We are taken seriously. The way in which filmmakers from southern India are contacted for work has also changed. Weddings in Northern India also have Baahubal themes. A great story has no linguistic and cultural barriers. And Baahubali proved it.
Vamshi Paidipally (director, Maharshi)
What Lord Rajamouli has shown us is the power of a man’s vision. And he also made his head spin across the country towards Telugu cinema. That’s why I’m proud of that movie. This film has penetrated every corner of the country and has shown us the potential of what such content can do. Telugu films are no longer considered regional. They are seen as national films thanks to Baahubali. Now, everyone is looking to Telugu regarding the content we are creating. This gives us a lot of encouragement to think more and more broadly. Baahubali has also increased the steps in our theaters (in the states of Telugu). It has brought a new wave of audiences who usually don’t watch movies in theaters. After experimenting with watching movies in theaters, they kept coming back for more. That’s why the revenues of each film increased after Baahubali. Here’s what an event film like Baahubali could do.
Sudheer Varma (director, Ranarangam)
After the release of Baahubali 1, we realized the size of our market. If you make a film with different content and perfection, language is not a barrier. Normally, people from other languages don’t like dubbed versions. But Baahubali has changed it. Imagine, a Telugu film dubbed in Hindi makes Bollywood’s largest collection. It has also changed the way we budget our films. As long as you have the right script and actors, you can invest what is required. We don’t have to worry about crossing the estimate because you have the audience ready to look at it. After Baahubali, most of Telugu’s great films have collected more. That film changed everything we knew about the cinema business.
Sankalp Reddy (director, The Ghazi Attack)
It doesn’t seem like five years have passed. It seems like yesterday. Baahubali is still fresh in my memory. The film opened up new markets worldwide for the Telugu film industry. In India, he set a benchmark for other directors. But so far no one has managed to reach it.
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