Hyderabad/Bengaluru: With S.S. Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali 2: The Conclusion set to hit screens worldwide on 28 April, here are 10 quick facts to know about the highly-anticipated Telugu film.
1. Both Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion were together made at a cost of Rs400-450 crore. The first part alone earned more than Rs600 crore worldwide when it released in 2015.
2. The sequel is expected to be screened at around 6,500 screens across India in various languages (mainly Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam), topping the maximum screen count of 4,500 for a big-ticket Bollywood film. In Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the movie will be screened in nearly 95% of all theatres and both state governments have also given the nod for five and six shows per day, respectively.
3. Baahubali 2: The Conclusion will release in over 1,000 screens overseas, out of which 900 cinemas are booked in the US. While the first part earned over $8 million in the US, the second part should reel in about $15 million, according to Telugu film distribution company Great India Films, which has bagged the US distribution rights of the sequel.
4. Rajamouli’s war epic revolves around the story of Baahubali and his cousin Bhallaladeva’s (played by Prabhas and Rana Daggubati) fight for the throne of the fictional kingdom of Mahishmati. The first movie ended with Baahubali-loyalist Kattappa (the army chief played by Satyaraj) killing the former for reasons unknown. Even as audiences worldwide are keen to get to the bottom of “why Kattappa killed Baahubali”—a phrase whose acronym WKKB has become a popular hashtag on social media—Rajamouli has said shooting the WWKB scene was a big moment for the team and had a lot of emotion around it.
5. Baahubali 2’s trailer was viewed 77 million times, and is believed to be the highest for any movie in India.
6. As part of its expansive promotion beyond the two movies, an animated series titled Lost Legends has also been launched on Amazon Prime, producer Shobhu Yarlagadda said at an event in Hyderabad on 25 April.
7. Taking the franchise into the gaming sector, a real-time mobile strategy game, titled Baahubali: The Game, will be launched on 27 April. This will feature strategy and player-versus-player modes for users, said Mark Skaggs, director of Moonfrog Labs, which developed the game. Skaggs has previously led teams that created globally famous games such as FarmVille, Empire, CityVille, Lord of the Rings: Battle for Middle-earth etc. Baahubali: The Game will be available on Google Play Store and the Apple App Store.
8. Based on the movies, the makers also premiered a virtual reality experience, titled The Sword of Baahubali, at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York on 21 April. Soon, Baahubali virtual reality kiosks will also be set up in theatres across India. This will, however, have a different story line from the movie.
9. The makers of the Baahubali movies have extensively used social media, whether to create a buzz around the release—such as running Facebook Live events or a quiz with weekend tickets as a reward—or warning fans against falling prey to fake websites claiming to be selling tickets for the movie.
10. Anand Neelakantan, an author who typically writes mythological fiction, suspected that it was a friend prank-calling him when Rajamouli telephoned to ask if he would write a three-part series as a prequel to the Baahubali movies. The Rise of Sivagami, the first book in the trilogy, was released earlier this month.