Things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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Bahubali, a movie that has created and rewritten history in the annals of Indian cinema and how! The most awaited film, SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Bahubali: The Conclusion surely kept its word as the biggest film made on Indian celluloid and the massive, stupendous and record-breaking response it received on its opening weekend is more than valid proof enough. It has strengthened its hold at the box office like never before and cooked up a storm, witnessing a mad rush at the ticket counters with numbers reaching new heights by the day.

Did you know that the magnum opus, entered the Rs 100 crore club on its release day and no other Indian film has ever entered the Rs 100-crore club on its opening day. It was also the widest ever worldwide release in close to 9000 screens, no less! Want to know more about the epic movie, then read on to find out about the things you didn’t know about Bahubali!

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  • Bahubali: The Beginning and the sequel Bahubali 2: The Conclusion together are the most expensive Indian movies ever made, with an approximate budget of nearly 450 crore.
  • Out of 100 years of Indian cinema Bahubali is the only movie to be featured in a BBC documentary. And The Rise of Sivagamiis one of the books of Bahubali fiction trilogy.
  • More than 800+ technicians, including the special effects team of Jurassic world, were hired for the making of the movie. Bahubali involved a lot of complex computer-generated imagery (CGI) and VFX shots which comprise almost 90% of the movie, that is about 4,500-5,000 VFX shots in 3 hours!
  • Prabhas worked with his local trainer to build his body. He visited the US and interacted with WWE wrestlers to understand their training regimen. He was so impressed with the infrastructure that he got the equipment, costing INR 1.5 crore, and built a personal gym imitating the set-up of the WWE wrestlers.
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  • Prabhas would work out for 6 hours daily and start training early in the morning. His regime would start with about one-and-a-half hours of cardio, with focus on muscle building. In the evenings, to strengthen his body muscles, he would lift weights for about one-and-a-half hours.
  • Prabhas gained a whopping 20 kilos for his part as Amarendra Bahubali and his diet consisted of fish, egg whites (40 half boiled eggs and egg whites), vegetables and almonds. The actor would eat a meal every two hours, and had a total of six meals every day, which did not include rice. The total calorie intake of Prabhas while shooting for Bahubali was between 2000 to 4000 calories a day!
  • Prabhas did not sign a single movie for the past three years so that he could focus on Bahubali and sink into the feel of it.
  • It is the only Indian movie to be made in 4D and many of the movie halls had to adjust their projectors just to show this movie on their screens.
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  • This is the first Indian war movie which has stood in the category of Hollywood war movies such as Troyand 300.
  • This is the first time any regional movie is getting outstanding applause in the world market.
  • The movie took more than three years to get completed and the pre-production and scripting took one year, while the live action shooting took two years. Post production took more than six months.
  • The production crew consisted of 25 National Award Winning artists and technicians.
  • About 20,000 weapons were designed and used in the entire move and it had 50,000+ VFX shots spanning both the parts.
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  • 110 acres of space was reserved at Ramoji Film City for the shooting of the war scene.
  • Bahubali: The Beginning is the biggest VFX film in Indian film history with around nearly 90% of the final output achieved through various visual effects techniques such as rotoscoping, chroma removal, wire removal, 2D and 3D tracking, matchmoving, color correction, live action shooting and CG (3D Computer Graphics) integration, matte painting, camera projections and compositing.
  • Around 2000 junior artists were in live action shooting.
  • A total of 17 VFX studios and 600+ 3D animation and visual effects artists worked to finish the post production of the movie.
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  • Bahubali poster entered into Guinness Book of World Records and Limca Book of World Records – the production team held an event in Kerala where they revealed a movie poster measuring 51,968 sq ft and gained entry as the biggest poster of motion picture in both the books.
  • Another record set; SS Rajamouli tweeted on March 17: “50 million cumulative views of our trailer, across all languages, on YT & FB. The most viewed Indian movie trailer in 24hours. #BB2Storm”.
  • The climax of Bahubali: The Conclusion was shot with a whopping budget of Rs. 30 crore, which was almost double the budget of the climax shot of its prequel Bahubali: The Beginning.
  • The waterfall scene in Bahubali – The Beginning that took almost one-third of the total shooting time of the entire film.
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  • To get their bodies fit for the role they were playing Prabhas and Rana Daggubati were on a strict fitness regime, including diet and workout. They were even trained in martial arts by Vietnamese trainer Tuan. Both actors gained over 30 kilos to get into the skin of their characters.
  • Reportedly, director SS Rajamouli plans to make Bahubali 3.
  • It is said that Rajamouli took about more than 100 days to get the waterfall shot right. Being the most important scene in the movie, the team shot the sequence at three different waterfall locations to give it a grand effect.
  • A new language named ‘KILIKI’ was invented for the terrifying Kalakeya tribe in the movie. A completely new language was developed, with 750 words and 40 grammar rules!
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  • It will be the first Indian movie to have its own museum. The museum being made will house all the weapons, armours and costumes that the actors sport in the film.
  • ‘Bahubali’ has surpassed ‘300’ in IMDB ratings and is ranked at 9.4 out of 10.
  • A leading ticket-booking website revealed that they sold one Bahubali ticket every 12 seconds, breaking records there too!

Lights, Camera, Stunts!!!

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Bahubali is a movie that caught the nation’s attention like never before and people all over are awaiting the concluding part of this epic movie that has been narrated through spectacular visuals and amazing special effects. Bahubali, with its epic dimensions in nearly every aspect of filmmaking has been lauded for its exceptional stunts and special effects and its grandeur of scale especially in its stunts and battle sequences are truly spectacular.

Stunt coordinator of this blockbuster film King Solomon Raju visited AISFM for a stunt and action workshop for Bachelors and Masters students who will be graduating next semester. The outdoor shoot with our students was conducted on our campus by the man himself. Students got a hands-on experience on how stunts are supposed to be acted out and shot.

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Speaking to us during a break in the workshop, Solomon said about youngsters nowadays joining film schools to learn the finer nuances of various aspects of film-making, “It is imperative that today’s generation gets the right training and for that learning in a film school is very important. Just like how you cannot go from Grade 1 to Grade 10 in school, here you cannot just join the film industry and become known. By learning in a film school, they always have an added advantage. More and more people are joining the film industry now than earlier and it is a great thing.”

Talking about his favourite movie Bahubali, he said that it is one of the best things that has happened to him and rates the stunts and the movie as the best. When we are talking about the iconic movie how can we not ask the proverbial question on everyone’s lips, ‘Why did Kattappa kill Bahubali?’ To this, he smiled and said, “Even, I don’t know!” “Stunts have come a long way from the initial days of the film industry and have improved greatly. With the aid of computer graphics, various stunts can be tried in films,” he said and added that Bahubali has raised the standards for stunts too.

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Before getting back to the workshop, he left a word of advice for the youngsters who want to pursue film-making, “Follow your dream, work hard with passion and don’t give up.”

One of the AISFM students’ who attended the workshop, shared her thoughts on it. Isha Thota, said “The stunt workshop was quite an interesting experience. It made me aware of the intricacies that went in to the production of a “professional” stunt scene and also the need of a stunt coordinator even for low budget films. We learnt about other aspects we may use in a film that we may not have previously thought would need a coordinator for i.e. something as small and insignificant as a scene where a character falls onto the floor is in need of an awareness, about stunts.”

“One main aspect that was spoken about, that is of grave importance is that of safety. Mr. Solomon and his team were very prudent, and took various safety measures with the use of body harnesses and crash mats. We were also informed about the importance of using our own safety equipment in order to ensure that the quality has not deteriorated or any problems that come with wear and tear come up during a shoot. Apart from the basic need for safety, the film production and insurance is also at a risk if appropriate steps are not taken.”

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“We were also made aware of the steps taken in the production of a stunt sequence, from interacting with the director who informs the coordinator of the mood of the scene and the events leading up to the stunt sequence, and of course the setting and to the actual rehearsal of the stunt  sequence itself. During the shoot Mr. Solomon also did a mock pre vis using a camera phone to check different angles, after which the sequence was practiced, safety measures were taken and then we were onto actual production. We were told about various different “cheat” angles and movements we can use so as to insure actual impact isn’t needed, especially since we were shooting without VFX.”

“The day long shot was very engaging, the students were quite involved often doing the camera work themselves and the workshop was a educational first step to a more in-depth awareness of what goes on during a stunt sequence.”

“Be your harshest critic”

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He is the man with the magic touch, a man who needs no introduction. K. V. Vijayendra Prasad (Koduri Venkata Vijayendra Prasad), a prolific Indian film screenwriter and director known for his works in Telugu cinema and Bollywood. He is the screenwriter for more than twenty five films, most of which are blockbusters. His most recent works include Bahubali: The Beginning and Bajrangi Bhaijaan which are the biggest blockbusters of the year.

Sparing some very precious time from his busy schedule, he visited the AISFM campus recently to share his valuable inputs about his life, his cinematic journey and of course his stories, while interacting with our students.

A very humble and down-to-earth man, he never ceases to surprise with his unassuming nature. Said he before the interaction with the students’, “I always say that the person I am interacting with is more intelligent than me and I can learn from him and most of the time it happens. There are so many people here who have theoretical knowledge about films. So I wish to learn something from you.”

Talking about the movie that was on everyone’s mind, Bahubali, he recalled, “When my son Rajamouli wanted me to write a story for Prabhas he said that it should be a costume drama. He said that he should be able to create sequences where he can picturize good fights and that he wanted the female characters to be very powerful, as equals to the male characters. Then he asked me to include some grey characters also. The next morning I told him this scene – ‘a young man is displaying his dexterity in swordsmanship and when his father tells him that he is the best swordsman he had ever seen, the young child asks him in return – haven’t you heard of Bahubali? He fought with 200 people and he killed them all. By evening he was soaked in blood and not a drop was his. The father was mesmerised and asked where is this warrior, I want to see him. So the child replied that Bahubali is dead. Backstabbing is more powerful. – This is the scene I told Rajamouli and it didn’t have a beginning or an end then. Then I told him the scene about a mother carrying a child, wading across a river. I told him these two scenes and I saw the gleam in Rajamouli’s eyes. That’s how it all started.”

Bahubali seemed to be the top question again. Answering more questions about the hugely popular film that is been released in two parts, the veteran writer of this magnum opus said, “I never thought of writing it in two parts because it was a single story. But as it started evolving many beautiful sequences started coming up. I then knew that it would be at least five hours long and it would be impossible to shorten it to 2.5 hrs. Initially what we thought would be done with a 60 to 70 crore budget went on to become a 110 – 130 crore film. It is then that we thought of making it in two parts, that way we are safe and it also makes economic sense.”

Here are the excerpts of the session between the legendary writer and our students:
What is the future of Indian cinema under the subject of mythology?
It has a very good future; we love our mythology with its larger than life characters. Bahubali’s success is the success of the film industry of India. It has crossed the border of regional movies and become a pan Indian movie. Our Indian culture has got the vast resource of mythology, which no other nation can claim. I read somewhere that Bernard Shaw had read the whole Mahabharata and had said that ‘if it has happened, it is the most wonderful thing; but if it is written by somebody else, then it is a miracle’. It has thousands of characters for generations to come. Even if the best of screenplay writers attempt, they cannot write the Mahabharata again. We should have the imagination to pick up the characters from them. Very soon people will know the beauty of mythology and it will explode in the world. That’s what I wish for and pray also.

How do you get such different ideas for stories; that too back to back – be it Bahubali, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, Eega or Magadheera which are all different genres. Please share the secret.
Why, do you want to be a competitor? A story is nothing but a lie; it is fiction and not a fact. So, one should have the ability to lie very nicely and putting it together should look like the truth; and I can lie very well. (Laughs)

What was the most discouraging moment in your cinematic journey and how did you overcome it? Do you experience a writer’s block, how do you overcome it?
Unless you struggle you can’t come up in life, there is no easy way out and hard work always pays off. If somebody is not recognizing your talent, it’s their bad luck, so don’t underestimate yourself and always have confidence in yourself.
Yes, I too have a writer’s block sometime. Let me tell you about how Bhajrangi Bhaijaan came about. One of the best movies of Chiranjeevigaru is Pasivadi Pranam, I liked the movie a lot. About seven years ago I wanted to rehash it and make it with a commercial hero and a child’s character who cannot talk. Then I thought about including the hero’s character going to Pakistan and how he has to solve it. Later the thought of making him a bajrangi came by and I started weaving the story. We could have written against Pakistan but it didn’t feel right, that was the writer’s block for me. Then about four years back, I read about a couple in Pakistan whose child had a hole in her heart and they had come to India for the operation. When the hospital authorities came to know that they are from Pakistan and that they had come to India by taking loans, out of compassion the hospital authorities waived off their costs. They spoke about it on TV and I immediately connected to them. I thought I should make a movie which will lessen the enmity between the two countries and that was the impetus for me to write the Bhajrangi Bhaijaan story.

Could you please share some tips on writing stories?
Have you seen a pebble in a stream? It is in the water for thousands of years and when you pick it up and squeeze it, will even a single drop of water come out of it? No! It’s not absorbing anything. But if you dip a sponge in water and squeeze it, it will be full of water. So my suggestion to you is; tune your mind to whatever you see, read or hear. Whatever it is that you aspire to be in films, always keep your mind open and learn. That’s how I tune my mind. Nobody is above committing mistakes. You may think high of me. But don’t grab and swallow everything I say. Always have a reasonable doubt and use your experience. Everybody is bound to make mistakes.

You said that you watch Sholay before you write any film, does the entire film inspire you or is it any particular scene?
I consider Salim & Javed my gurus. Whenever I see Sholay my thinking capacity gets charged and it elevates my mind.

When you write a story, do you think of the ending in the beginning itself or does it evolve in the process? What comes to you first; the plot, character or theme?
I was watching the Kamal Hassan – Sridevi movie Sadma with my assistants. The ending is like a stab in the heart. And I said, let’s make the same ending but put in the interval. My assistant suggested that the girl should actually stab the hero in the heart. With this in mind, the Simhadri story evolved. That’s how stories keep evolving. If I am writing a movie for Nagarjuna, then I will write a story that will suit his image. This is one criterion. The other is, if somebody gives me an instance and says write a story centred on it, then I will write accordingly. So it is not a single approach. Depending on the necessity I write the story.

In the movie Magadheera, the introduction scene of the girl, where the hero touches the heroine’s hand, how do you write such scenes?
If it is a clichéd story of a boy meeting a girl, then it is boring. The theme has come umpteen times. There is nothing wrong with it as it is a good formula, but if you put new factors into it, it becomes a new story. Always try to be innovative and don’t put anything which we have already seen. Be your harshest critic. There are people who watch many movies and they are good critics but they cannot write a story. The entire encyclopaedia cannot create a single poem. Don’t keep on acquiring knowledge, it is useless. Look into yourself for new situations. Believe me, I watch very less movies as I can’t sit through a movie; I wanted to convert my weakness into my strength and turned into a writer. I’d suggest, don’t try to imitate, try to be innovate instead. Second thing is expectation and anticipation. If a boy meets a girl in a movie you will expect them to fall in love, there is no newness. But create such circumstances, that they fall in love. Audience must feel the necessity, that is anticipation. Most successful formula for a story is, don’t write the usual story, try something different. Create an anticipation in the audience and fulfil it to the maximum.

The celebrated writer ended the session by sharing another anecdote about Bahubali. He asked, ‘has anyone of you felt happy when people said bad things about you and used foul language against you’? He then said, “Let me share a story, I went for a bath during the Godavari Pushkaralu. I finished my bath and was coming back when I heard some villagers discussing the climax of Bahubali. They were yelling and saying ‘how can Katappa kill Bahubali? You should hit the writer for writing such a story. Bahubali shouldn’t have been killed.’ Hearing this, I couldn’t control my laughter. Even though they were yelling at me indirectly, I felt happy.”