Now that the sequel to Baahubali has rewritten box office history, producer Shobu Yarlagadda, the man who believed in Rajamouli’s vision and was confident that a mythological epic of this scale could be pulled off, is a happy man.
Shobu Yarlagadda I can’t say, we saw this coming, 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 (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.
Shobu Yarlagadda But Rajamouli was committed to doing a film with Prabhas. And in hindsight, we are fortunate to have Prabhas play the title role. Baahubali 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.
Shobu Yarlagadda 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.
Shobu Yarlagadda 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.
The important thing now, says Shobu, is to take the Baahubali franchise ahead.
Shobu Yarlagadda 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.
Shobu Yarlagadda 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 on the outskirts of Hyderabad for the two feature films. The casting for the series is yet to begin.