It was fitting enough that the grounds of the prestigious Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati, with its own aura of enriching history, paid host to the audio launch of the most-anticipated films this decade, Baahubali:The Beginning, a work that promises to be an experience, indeed an epic, on the lines of a Ramayana or a Mahabharata, for this generation.
There are scores going gaga about the budget and the scale on which it’s being made, but Baahubali is an attempt that needs to be celebrated significantly for reviving a genre that Telugu cinema could have nearly lost touch with, historical fiction, a brainchild of the K V Reddy, Kamalakara Kameswara Rao and the Vithalacharya brought up with such care since the 50’s.
Penned by one of the best story-writers that the country has ever produced, V Vijayendra Prasad, the film’s audio launch had a motif that deserves clinical attention. Lasting about 5 hours, the Baahubali unit on a hazy Saturday, dedicated the night to worship cinema’s off-screen heroes, the technical crew, giving them the space that they deserve and we probably can know very little of, in our broad experience of watching films.
While Rana Daggubati, as charismatic as ever, spoke about the spot-boys who arrived early on the sets to ensure everything’s ready for the actors, the angelic Tamannaah chose to focus on the quality of the artwork that Mallesh, the painter who was one of the key architects to construct an alluring world of Baahubali, brought about. Elegantly-dressed Anushka Shetty threw light on her make-up man Naidu and SS Rajamouli took time to mention that the ten artistes on-screen are a representation of the 2000 odd people who worked for the film.
The man of the night, well and truly, was the composer MM Keeravani himself, with a live performance of the title-track that left the crowd spellbound. SS Rajamouli took time out to credit his firmness on lending a perspective to things, on what can or not work for the film.
Interestingly, it’s a younger lot that convinced Keeravani to do the goods for the first part of the two-film series, whose album features an intriguing mix of renditions by Geetha Madhuri, Karthik, Deepu and other notable singers.
The event saw the maker speak volumes on how he was inspired by the performance of Ramya Krishna who plays Sivagami besides heeding the professionalism of his leading ladies, Anushka and Tamannaah, the personality of Rana and his equation with the title-lead himself, Prabhas whom he fondly called his ‘soul-mate’.
A film, whose seed idea was envisaged in 2009, prior to the release of Magadheera, strenuously made over a thousand days, took about a third’s time for the pre-production phase, i.e. a year, which ideally makers utilize, to churn out a couple of lazily written Masala potboilers that viewers in this era have been rather forced to accept with the lack of choice around, spare a rare Sekhar Kammula or Mohankrishna Indraganti around.
On a note about the film’s care for detailing, it’s interesting to know about a new tribal language that the makers in collaboration with Madhan Karky, popular Tamil lyricist and son of the legendary poet Vairamuthu, gave birth to, Kiliki.
The Kalakeya tribes in the film use this specific language that boasts of more than 750 words structured using 40 grammatical rules. A glimpse of this was put to display at the audio launch, with one of the antagonists in the film, Prabhakar, mouthing a few words of the language.
To put the ‘commodification’ of the Baahubali aside as the biggest Indian film ever made, merely in terms of the budget, it’s a tougher to come across a better set of words than what the most prominent of many news-makers around, Ramgopal Verma put across.
In one of his tweets, he left behind an apt note that read,“I don’t care what Baahubali’s cost is or what it will recover. It’s like the Taj Mahal for Indian cinema and will be a reference point for decades.To just commercially evaluate it will be an act of blasphemy.”
Baahubali is set to release worldwide on 10 July, 2015.