‘Bahubali,’ India’s Most Expensive Movie Ever, Gears Up for Launch


The $40 million warrior epic in two parts hopes for pan-Indian appeal with releases in multiple languages and could put the spotlight on Southern India’s film industry that is often overshadowed by Bollywood.

India’s most expensive film ever, Bahubali, has been described as India’s version of Troy, 300 or Hercules, but makers of the $40 million warrior epic insist the movie’s heart is all Indian.

Bahubali features superstars Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty and Tamannaah. The first installment of the two-part epic hits the screens in India on July 10, and the industry will closely watch its performance. Previously, 2011 release Ra.One, co-produced by and starring actor Shah Rukh Khan, was considered India’s most expensive film, with an estimated budget of about $27.4 million.

The movie is directed by S.S. Rajamouli, who helmed the blockbusters Magadheera and Eega. The film’s creators say that any similarities to Hollywood movie 300  are purely coincidental.

“The idea is to go for an international audience, outside the Indian diaspora. It is always nice to see your movie do well outside your comfort zone, for as many people as possible to see it,” producer Shobu Yarlagadda tells THR. He’s enlisted big names at events like the Cannes Film Festival to encourage this result, such as Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, a former shooter who took a silver medal at the Olympics in 2004.

Bahubali translates as “The One With Strong Arms,” and it tells of two warring brothers battling for control of an ancient Indian kingdom.

“The appeal is not just because of the big-budget battle scenes, it’s because the emotions are very basic and hard-hitting, so it will appeal to everyone,” says Rajamouli.

Bahubali will be released in the Telugu, Tamil, Hindi and Malayalam languages and was shot in Ramoji studios in Hyderabad. The two-part Bahubali, costing still a fraction of the budgets of Hollywood blockbusters, was made in the Telugu and Tamil languages for the Tollywood and Kollywood markets. But producers have been aggressively marketing the movie as one that will work in other language markets within India as well.

Southern India’s film industries are not as well known as their northern counterparts and are often overshadowed by the country’s much-better-known Hindi-language Bollywood films. But Bahubali is breaking the mold. Telugu and Hindi trailers crossed 1 million views each within 24 hours, and on Facebook the trailer surpassed 1.5 million views, 300,000 likes and 200,000 shares in 24 hours.

Shobu says the original plan was to launch the trailer in front of 30,000 fans in a sports stadium in Hyderabad, but the sheer scale of demand meant the police ordered the event closed.

“We wanted to give a large-screen experience to our fans and so we had a special free half-hour screening between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m on June 1 across 300 screens in the two Telugu-speaking states in India.  Fans turned up in large numbers to watch the trailer, and most of the shows across the 300 screens were full. In fact the theaters had to turn away many fans as they were full,” says Shobu.

Indian cinema produces films in 39 languages and dialects. Last year, 216 Hindi or Bollywood movies were released, fewer than the 287 in Tamil and 255 Telugu. Bollywood — centered around the western city of Mumbai — is India’s biggest-grossing movie industry, accounting for $565 million in box-office revenue in 2013. But Tollywood and Kollywood were not far behind, bringing in a total of $468 million combined.

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What’s the connecting link between ‘Baahubali’ and ‘Jurassic World’?


Were you impressed with the special effects of Jurassic World? Now watch similar special effects in Baahubali! S.S. Rajamouli’s Baahubali, India’s largest motion picture is made on a magnificent scale. Highly advanced technology has been used for the film.

The VFX and special effects of the film are on a different level altogether, nothing less than the scale of any Hollywood film. In fact, few members of the Jurassic World crew are also a part of theBaahubali crew. So, common people have worked on the special effects of both films.

The kind of special effects seen in both films will be on the same scale. Baahubali is the first ever Indian film that transcends regional boundaries and has a pan-India appeal. Presented by Karan Johar, Baahubali is set to release on July 10.

Baahubali to become India’s most expensive film


A non-Bollywood special effects-laden battle epic which features more than 1,000 armoured extras is to become India’s most expensive film of all time.

Baahubali, which has already drawn comparisons to Zack Snyder’s 300, is being shot in two parts in the city of Hyderabad, capital of the southern Telangana state. The Tollywood adventure tells the story of two warring brothers battling for control of an ancient Indian kingdom, according to director SS Rajamouli.

“It’s the simple story of a father who has been back-stabbed, a mother who has been enchained for no wrong of hers and the story of a son who takes revenge. The two parts span two generations,” the film-maker, best known for 2012’s Eega (Fly) and 2009’s Magadheera (Great Warrior), told AFP. “There are still over a hundred days of shooting left, followed by post-production for the second part,” he added. “The budget will definitely be over 250 crore rupees [£25m] for both parts.”

The previous most expensive film was 2010’s Enthiran (Robot), which cost £14m. Both movies are, surprisingly, Tamil language productions, though Baahubali will also be filmed in the Telugu language. India’s best known film industry is Hindi-language Bollywood, centred on the western city of Mumbai. But Baahubali has been produced for the Tollywood and Kollywood markets which centre on Hyderabad and the far south state of Tamil Nadu respectively.

Baahubali required an extensive cast of 2,000 extras for its battle scenes, with more than 1,000 dressed as soldiers in full costume. About 500-600 technicians, as well as horses and elephants, were also utilised, and 600 artists from 17 studios across India worked on CGI visual effects.

“We would not have been able to recover the cost even if it had been a single film because the storyline would not have allowed us to make it under three hours long,” said Rajamouli. “So we decided to increase the budget some more and make it in two parts and in two languages, Tamil and Telugu, which are our main markets, to make it more viable.”

The first part of the film, Baahubali – The Beginning, is due to debut in cinemas on July 10, with part two arriving next year. Producers are also expected to dub the film into Hindi and are also considering a cut down version for the international market.

Salman Khan to play a wrestler in YRF’s Sultan; Deepika Padukone first choice for female lead


Salman Khan is all set to showcase his well muscled body in his next film, Sultan, in which he will play a wrestler – this film marks Salman’s ‘return’ to YRF post their last film together Ek Tha Tiger.

Insiders suggest that Deepika Padukone has been roped in as the leading lady but an official announcement is yet to be made.

You can well gauge the content of the film from its catchline of the teaser trailer: “Wrestling is not a sport. It’s about fighting what lies within” – Salman Khan of course, plays the title role.

While Sultan is being produced by Aditya Chopra and written-directed by Ali Abbas Zafar, the shooting of the film will commence in November.

What is interesting is that, while on one hand, Salman Khan plays the title role of Sultan, a 40 year old wrestler from Haryana, on the other hand, Aamir Khan too is gearing himself up to play a wrestler on Nitish Tiwari’s Dangal, a film that is based on Mahavir Singh Phogat.

Sultan has been slated for an Eid 2016 release.

Jurassic World: An ungainly beast


In the 90s when Steven Spielberg brought the Jurassic period out from the two paragraphs in biology books to a living reality, he would not have realised that his theme park will strike a chord across the world. So much so that 14 years after the third film in the series hit the screens we now have a new Jurassic Park Inn in Sonepat. It is advertised on the back of the auto I travelled in to watch the latest offering from Universal studios. But the point is what was essentially conceived to instil fear became a friendly option. One of the harshest periods in the history of earth is being celebrated as an innocuous water theme park. That’s the power of cinema in changing public perception.

Dinosaurs might have lost out to Spielberg’s “Transformers” and Marvel products in his homeland but here the clumsy beast continues to thrive. Perhaps the makers feel that Indian box office can play a big part in bringing the comatose franchise to life and that’s why they have roped in Irrfan Khan as Masrani, the new owner of the Park. In fact it is a tribute to the growing Indian economic power where an Indian can inherit Jurassic Park. Masrani knows that the interest in dinosaurs is waning. They have been reduced to dolphin acts in water parks. He wants more teeth in his next showpiece not realising what the genetic cocktail entails.

Genre: Sci-fi adventure
Director: Colin Treverrow
Cast: Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’onofrio

Trevorrow has taken the baton from Spielberg but runs the same all over again at a more controlled diet. The format is the same. Instead of T-Rex we have Indominus Rex, named thus because it could be easily spelt by kids. Perhaps they mean Indian kids. As expected it goes berserk and since we are not told about its genetic combination, it could do anything. However, the limited budget ensures that we get to see it only a couple of times in full size before the climax. And it seems not too different from T-Rex. Perhaps it has a bigger mouth cavity.

True to Spielberg’s school, the film has an emotional anchor, where two kids Zach (Nick) and Grey (Ty Simpkins) come to spend time with their young aunt Clara (Bryce), who administers the park. Clara is a career-oriented girl who has little time for relationships. She ignores the kids and they come in the way of Indominus. Yes, the beast brings the humans together as Clara joins hands with her ex-boyfriend Owen (Chris) — a dinosaur trainer — the only man on the park who sees them as living beings.

Human greed continues to be the narrative’s underpinning. And those who are new to the party will like it. The film suggests that monstrosity is relative. For a sparrow, a cat is a monster. Here a former army man Hoskins (Onforio) wants to turn them mercenaries in the war against terror. However, along the way you figure out that the film suffers from similar corporate excess that it suggests to guard against. It tries to bring the suspecting audience to its side by making fun of its inherent intentions. Clara asks an employee to take off the T-shirt which advertises the previous version of the Park indicating that behind that cool façade there is a danger for playing with the nature. However, as the film progresses Hoskins turns out to be a cheesy trope from a B-movie. So is Clara, whose outfits keep getting shorter as she moves from cold and calculated to a warm-blooded living thing. By the climax she develops a huge slit in her skirt! Zach and Grey seldom seem in the danger of being gobbled up. The stunts remind of the previous versions. There is very little surprise left in the moves of Rex. It takes off the car you use to hide behind to show your worth against nature.

Try it as a tribute to the original and you don’t mind it, else put on the DVD and try to outpace Tyrannosaurus. It may have less teeth but its bite endures.

Vidya Balan Conferred With Honorary Doctorate


Bollywood actress Vidya Balan on Monday, June 1 was conferred with the degree of Doctor of Arts Honoris Causa by Rai University in Mumbai, at a special convocation ceremony. Ahmedabad-based university honoured Vidya to appreciate her outstanding contribution to Indian cinema and for her endeavour to bring out the strong side of a woman via the silver screen. Rai University has also named a scholarship programme after her, a report said. “It is truly humbling and overwhelming to receive this honour. What makes this even more special is that I complete ten years in the film industry this year. “There can be no bigger compliment for any actor than to have done work that has made a significant mark and also to be looked upon as a role model by young India. I hope to live up to the title,” Vidya said in a statement.
The Rai University decided to award the actress with the degree for her exceptional contribution to the Indian film industry and for her contribution to empowering womanhood in the country, read a statement. Rai University provides education and empowering opportunities for all sections of society, especially for girls from the underprivileged sections of society. The university’s chancellor Harbeen Arora also mentions that Vidya’s films are synonymous with strong women in society. “Among the league of iconic actors, Vidya is a pioneer in every way. Her films epitomise a distinct Indianness and a powerful womanhood,” Arora said. On the auspicious occasion, Vidya was dressed in an elegant orange and pink Kanjeevaram saree. Her husband and filmamker Siddhart Roy Kapur and other close family members were present to attend the event. In 2011, Vidya won the National Film Award for the best actress in The Dirty Picture. Besides, she has also won five Filmfare Awards for playing challenging and strong roles in Parineeta (2005), Paa (2009), The Dirty Picture (2011), and Kahaani (2012) and she also bagged Critics Award for the Best Actress for Ishqiya in 2010. In 2014, Vidya became the proud recipient of the fourth highest civilian award Padma Shri by the Government of India for her examplary contribution in the Indian Cinema.

Baahubali, India’s Most Expensive Film, Inspired by the Mahabharata


Filmmaker SS Rajamouli says his megabudget two-part Baahubali: The Beginning is inspired by the epic Mahabharata.

Baahubali is inspired by Mahabharata, and the upcoming second part is also inspired by Mahabharata,” Mr Rajamouli said here during the launch of the trailer of the movie on June 1.

“All my movies are inspired by Mahabharata and Ramayana because those are two epics that have been fed to me right from my childhood. I get my emotional connect from those epics,” he added.

SS Rajamouli was launching the trailer in Mumbai with Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar, who is presenting the film, and cast members Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty and Tamannaah Bhatia. On YouTube, the trailer has been watched over 7.5 lakh times since being posted at 5pm on Monday.

Baahubali, starring Prabhas in a double role of which one is the titular hero, is believed to be India’s most expensive film and is being filmed in Telugu and Tamil. Dubbed versions of the film will be released in Hindi, Malayalam, English and French.

Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions has bought the theatrical rights to the Hindi version of the film, part one of which will hit theatres on July 10.

Sketch of a legend


The Google doodle on Nargis took film-lovers on a nostalgic trip down Hindi cinema’s memory lane.

Lovers of retro Hindi films gaped longer than others at the Google doodle on actor Nargis that paid a tribute to this icon of RK Films on her 86th birth anniversary. The doodle featured an illustration of her holding her dupatta with both hands. Known for her elegance, she lent a new dimension to the romantic oeuvre with the close rapport she shared with Raj Kapoor. Some of the most memorable Shankar-Jaikishen songs are an ode this famous pair’s onscreen chemistry. In fact, the RK Films logo is inspired by a scene from one of their super hit films Barsaat. Her other successful films with Raj Kapoor include Chori Chori,Aag, Jagte Raho and Shree 420.

]The actress, whose original name was Fatima Rashid, was born on June 1, 1929. She married actor Sunil Dutt, when he rescued her from a fire on the sets of Mother India, which was India’s first submission for the Academy Awards. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, who admired Nargis, nominated her to the Rajya Sabha. The actor, who died of cancer, devoted her last years to social work along with her husband.

Nargis made her acting debut in Talashe Haq in 1935 as a child actor, but her career began with the 1942 film Tamanna.

She won several awards during her illustrious career, including the coveted National Award. She was also conferred the Padma Shri.

She had three children, son Sanjay Dutt and daughters Priya and Namrata.

Salman Khan’s ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’: ‘Brother’ Shah Rukh Khan tweets the first look


Of all the friendship gestures one could expect from Shah Rukh Khan and Salman Khan’s (re)budding friendship, this was the least expected. Shah Rukh Khan unveiled his friend-turned-foe-turned-friend Salman Khan’s much awaited movie ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s first look.

The first look zooms in on Salman Khan’s upper body – starting from his lips to his chest. The superstar sports a rugged and intense look with a stubble. But it’s a silver locket dangling on his neck that grabs the attention.

A very special movie by various means, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ has brought together the Khan triumvirate. The third Khan of the trinity – Aamir Khan – also tweeted the first look.

The duo of SRK and Salman have had a history of their own. The duo has worked together in movies like ‘Karan Arjun’ (1995) and ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ (1998), and made headlines for their friendship. They were last seen together in a song in the 2007 Farah Khan directorial ‘Om Shanti Om’ in which they shared a frame and danced.

They had a fallout in the year 2008 at Salman’s former girlfriend Katrina Kaif’s birthday party.

Since then, the two had not been in talking terms, and refrained from making comments over and about each other’s personal and professional lives.

But things started falling in place when SRK and Salman greeted and hugged at each other at Baba Siddiqui’s Iftaar party in the year 2013. Baba Siddiqui again became the harbinger of the Khan bonhomie next year when the duo hugged again at that year’s Iftaar party.

The SRK-Salman friendship sojourn took a steep turn and broke the internet when a picture from one of wedding ceremonies of Salman’s sister Arpita went viral. The picture had SRK and Salman affectionately kissing Arpita.

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A true Karan-Arjun moment as it was, Arpita surely invited the blessings and envy of many

cinegoers; blessings for this was a sight every Bollywood fan would die for, and envy for obvious reasons.

Shah Rukh Khan was seen enjoying Arpita’s wedding ceremonies to the most and even shook a leg with Salman at the function, that took place later last year. SRK had said he would ‘most certainly’ attend the wedding of his sister, who he has been very close with.

There were other pictures from the ceremonies one of which had Salman doing the famous SRK pose with SRK looking on.

Apart from Salman Khan, SRK’s relationship with Aamir Khan has also been a difficult one. So much so, that no one could imagine the Khan trinity under one roof for long. But the impossible happened when the long running talk show ‘Aap Ki Adalat’ celebrated 21 years of its run.

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The Khan troika was even seen taking up to the famous towel dance picked up from the song ‘Jawaani Phir Na Aaye’ from movie ‘Mujhse Shaadi Karogi’ (2004).

The friendship was growing and picking up pace and the two were seen softening their stands against each other.

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On May 5, ahead of the court verdict on Salman Khan’s hit-and-run case, Shah Rukh Khan was seen visiting Salman’s residence at the Galaxy Apartments.

The Salman-Aamir story, however, has been an easier one. Having worked in a cult-comedy like ‘Andaz Apna Apna’ (1994), the two have always been seen showering each other with praises. While Aamir never ceases to appreciate Salman’s movies and even promotes his movies, Salman is also seen making references to Aamir’s films and work, be it his interviews or while hosting the reality show ‘Bigg Boss’.

visiting Salman’s residence ahead of the May 6 verdict.

The friendship juggernaut of this troika came to its most unexpected culmination when SRK and Aamir, both, took to Twitter to share the first look of Salman Khan’s movie. Not only does this put an end to the many speculations still over their relations, but also sends a vibe of harmony among the fraternity. Never before has Bollywood seen a star of the Khans’ stature to do something like this for his rival.

‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’s director Kabir Khan also tweeted:

Twitterati, especially Salman Khan’s fans, have been going gaga over the ‘Bhaijaan’ bond established on the social media. From being called a ‘Karan Arjun aa gaye’ moment, to being named a marketing coup, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ has taken over Twitter and how.

Hailed as the most awaited movie of the year 2015, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’ has added another feather to its cap aka the Khan brotherhood. Talk of being big, it will now be humongous.

Kudos to SRK and Aamir’s spirit we say, and kudos to the “brother”hood. And as Kabir Khan says, “Abhi aagey dekho, hota hai kya!”

Fast & Furious 8


Vin Diesel Gives Us A ‘Fast & Furious 8′ Update, Says It’s ‘From Paul’

“‘Furious 7’ was for Paul; ‘8’ is from Paul,” says Diesel.
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“Furious 7” has broken records and hearts around the world, and its success hasn’t gone unnoticed from producer-star Vin Diesel.

“The fact that the world embraced it and allowed it to be Paul’s legacy, it’s just a beautiful thing,” Diesel told MTV News backstage at Sunday night’s (April 12) Movie Awards

Given the film’s record-smashing debut at the box office, an eighth installment of the “Fast & Furious” franchise is all but confirmed by Universal Pictures. Diesel has been vocal about his hopes for “Fast & Furious 8,” but the actor revealed that the film’s biggest proponent was its late star Paul Walker.

“Paul used to say that [‘Fast & Furious’] 8 was guaranteed and, in some ways, when you’re brother guarantees something, you have to make sure it comes to pass,” Diesel said.

“So, if fate has it — fate, F8 — then you’ll get it. ‘Furious 7′ was for Paul; 8 is from Paul.’”

As for Diesel’s “Furious 7″ co-star and habitual scene-stealer, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, daddy is ready to go back to work.

Speaking to MTV News backstage at the Movie Awards, Johnson said he’s game for another “Fast” film. “I talked to Vin today — we had a nice discussion — and I think whatever it is, whatever we come up with for ‘Furious 8,’ we have to raise the bar, in terms of action, yes, but also in terms of story and character.”

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