Now that the sequel to Baahubali is all set to rewrite box office history, producer Shobu Yarlagadda, the man who believed in Rajamouli’s vision and was confident that a mythological epic on this scale could be pulled off, is a happy man.
“I can’t say, we saw this coming,” Shobu laughs gently when reminded of the intense fury of the Baahubali franchise. “But we knew it would succeed. Rajamouli and I had a shared vision, and we had a determination to pull it off. Most important of all we had a dedicated team helmed by Rajamouli , writer K Vijayendra Prasadji (he’s Rajamouli’s father) and (leading man) Prabhas who devoted five years of their life and career to Baahubali. I focused entirely on Baahubali while my production house continued to produce television content which continues to be our bread and butter.”
Prabhas interestingly was not a name to reckon with when Baahubali was planned with him.
Recounts Shobu, “But Rajamouli was committed to doing a film with Prabhas. And in hindsight we are fortunate to have Prabhas play the title role. Baaahubali is unimaginable without Prabhas. Rajamouli, you must remember, was a formidable name in Telugu cinema from before Baahubali. In fact Rajamouli shared a very special friendship with me from early in my career as a producer. We were friends first, then business associates. We worked together on a sucessful Telugu film Maryada Ramanna. Rajamouli had done other blockbusters like Magadheera and Eega before Baahubali.”
This time, though, Shobu says there was a difference. “We were determined to take Baahubali far beyond its native language, far beyond Telugu cinema .For that we needed the kind of budget and dedication that we got from all our artistes and technicians.”
Initially the budget earmarked for Baahubali was far lower than what it eventually turned out to be. “We had decided that the project needed Rs 120 crores for both the segments. Eventually the film cost Rs 450 crores to make. Every penny was worth it,” says Shobu.
The important thing now, says Shobu, is to take the Baahubali franchise ahead. “We are now working on a television serial based in the back stories of Baahubali.”
No budget or time limit has been set aside for the serial. Says Shobu, “Unlike the film we are not budgeting the television series. All we know is that it would be India’s answer to Game Of Thrones with the highest production values possible. We wouldn’t compromise on the budget just because it’s television. We’ll treat the series with the same respect as the two feature films.”
The series which goes into shooting in another 4-5 months will be telecast in early 2018.It will be shot on the Baahubali set erected at Ramuji Rao Studio in the outskirts of Hyderabad for the two feature films. The casting for the series is yet to begin.