Will Adipurush recreate the Baahubali success for Prabhas?

The shooting of Prabhas and Saif Ali Khan-starrer Adipurush has commenced today, February 2. The much-awaited Om Raut directorial venture is unarguably the most talked-about feature film in the country right now. The historical epic will be shot as a bilingual in Telugu and Hindi and is set to be dubbed and released in other Indian languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada along with several foreign languages as well. Needless to say, ever since the movie was announced in 2020, fans have been drawing parallels between Adipurush and the Baahubali franchise, and are debating if Prabhas will be able to repeat the astounding success of Baahubali with Adipurush.

Post the release of both Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion in 2015 and 2017, respectively, Rebel Star and Telugu actor Prabhas shot to pan-India fame. The historical epic went on to break a number of box office records and has, since then, come to be known for its numbers. While the first instalment of the franchise was mounted on a budget of over Rs 180 crore, its successor had an even bigger production cost of Rs 250 crore, thus making both the films two of the costliest mainstream projects in India. Furthermore, the second instalment of the franchise went on to gross more than Rs 1,700 crore at the worldwide box office. This made it the second-biggest worldwide commercial Indian grosser of all time, only behind Aamir Khan’s Dangal. Not only that but Baahubali: The Conclusion also opened in a record 9,000 plus screens globally in the April of 2017.

Besides the innumerable VFX shots that featured in both the films and the number of VFX artists who worked on the projects to bring them to life, what added to their charm was the fact that they could be termed as genre-defining mythological features. This was infused with chartbuster music, over-the-top action sequences and a whole lot of punchlines, each of which helped the franchise in becoming a global blockbuster. Something that ultimately helped Prabhas become a nationwide sensation. The series also gloated of a star-studded cast that featured actors like Anushka Shetty, Ramya Krishna, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah and Sathyaraj in important roles, apart from Prabhas.

Baahubali took to the emotional Indian viewer rather earnestly because many thought that both the movies of the franchise were SS Rajamouli’s ode to the Hindu traditions and way of life. Prabhas’s dignified Amarendra Baahubali was compared to Lord Rama, a personification of the ideal human being who humbly followed his parents’ order without ever questioning their merit. And just like how Lord Rama went to live a life of exile at his stepmother’s wish, Baahubali, along with Devasena, is banished from the royal palace in the film. Needless to say, he doesn’t question Rajmata Sivagami for her inaction during the fictional altercation either. This even prompted the viewers to perceive both Devasena and Sivagami as the traditional Hindu women who were thought to be both strong-willed and dedicated to their responsibilities.

Ever since the blockbuster success of the Baahubali series, the Indian film industry has massively turned towards historical dramas while hoping to replicate the success of the franchise. It is not surprising then that a lot of filmmakers have announced a slew of mythological dramas in the past year alone. Undoubtedly, the most anticipated film of this lot is Adipurush.

Reportedly an on-screen adaptation of The Ramayana, Adipurush will see Prabhas play Lord Rama’s character, shades of which were visible in his larger-than-life depiction of Amarendra Baahubali as well. Needless to mention, Lord Rama, who is the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu, is well-known as the Adi Purusha.

Rumours are rife that the mythological drama will have a total production cost of Rs 400 crore, thus officially making it the costliest project headlined by Prabhas. Director Om Raut has decided to spend a large chunk of the money on VFX. Supervisors from the Star Wars and Avatar film franchises have been roped in to work on the graphics of this Indian epic. The motion picture will also be shot on green mat technology, a method that some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters have relied upon to produce a once-in-a-lifetime viewing experience for the viewers.

Also, if Baahubali was reported to have had 45,000 VFX shots, Adipurush is expected to have much more. To top that, the Prabhas and Saif Ali Khan-starrer is also expected to go past the release size of the mighty Baahubali: The Conclusion.

While Prabhas will be seen enacting Lord Rama on the big screen, Om Raut has also signed the versatile Saif Ali Khan to play the antagonist in the movie. Saif also played the menacing villain, Udayanbhan Singh, in Om Raut’s Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior, a film that starred Ajay Devgn in the lead and was the biggest blockbuster of 2020.

In Adipurush, Saif’s character is said to be based on the King of Lanka, Ravana, and is tipped to be called Lankeshwar. However, given the eye-popping budget and scale of the title, the makers have also approached leading Bollywood actors, both male and female, to play pivotal roles in the mythological drama. Producers such as Bhushan Kumar, Krishan Kumar, Om Raut, Prasad Sutar and Rajesh Nair have joined hands for the project.

With hugely successful precedents in Baahubali series and Tanhaji, Adipurush is promising to be the zenith of mainstream cinema within the country. With more and more resources being pumped into the making of this cinematic extravaganza, the stakes have gone up like never before. However, for a cinema-starved audience in the past one year, it’s simply a case of the more being the merrier, something which will certainly hold this tent-pole film in good stead and will perhaps allow its main lead, Prabhas, to repeat the record-setting success of Baahubali.

The mythological drama is expected to torch the box office post its release in mid-2022.

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