New Delhi: The teaser of superstar Rajinikanth’s 2.0, a sequel to his 2010 blockbuster Enthiran, was launched today amidst much excitement. The film that has been long in the making and subject to several delays, reportedly due to extensive VFX work, has apparently spent close to 400 crore as total budget, making it the most expensive Indian film ever.

There is however, much going for it. First, the stellar cast. While Rajinikanth is expected to bounce back after the underwhelming box office collections of his last film Kaala that remained under 100 crore, there is much curiosity around the Tamil-Hindi bilingual thanks to the presence of north Indian superstar Akshay Kumar who is the main antagonist in the film and will build appeal for non-south Indian audiences.

“2.0 brings together some of the biggest names in the industry," said Atul Mohan, editor of trade magazine Complete Cinema about the film whose first installment had made around 150 crore in 2010. “Apart from Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, there is director Shankar and music composer AR Rahman. The sky is the limit for this one."

To be sure, comparisons of 2.0 with the other regional blockbuster, S.S Rajamouli’s two-part war epic franchise Baahubali, are obvious. While Rajinikanth’s new film has crossed the 250 crore budget of the war epic, it also has an edge, industry experts say thanks to its cutting-edge special effects. Baahubali, on the other hand, was a tale based around Indian mythology and tradition. Like Baahubali, 2.0 is being presented by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions which in 2015, had enhanced curiosity for what was deemed just another regional film. Johar had sought around 2,000 screens for the Hindi version of Baahubali: The Beginning in 2015 and 4,000 for Baahubali 2: The Conclusion in 2017. The gamble obviously paid off since the second part alone earned more than 1,700 crore worldwide. Moreover, interest in regional cinema has grown by leaps and bounds since the release of Enthiran in 2010 given the pan-India success of films like Baahubali and Sairat.

“If all goes well, 2.0 could well be the highest grossing Indian film ever, beating Baahubali," Mohan said.

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