Baahubali 2 pre-release event and audio launch was a celebration of team spirit
A sea of people thronged Ramoji Film City on Sunday, March 26, to witness what is most likely to be the biggest film event of the year in Telugu cinema: Baahubali - The Conclusion's pre-release event and audio launch. With Karan Johar as the chief guest, the entire team of Baahubali, over a span of three hours, praised their co-stars and technicians for putting their heart and soul into making the film.
— Karan Johar (@karanjohar) March 26, 2017
Speaking at the event, Karan Johar said, "I have said this many times and I'll say this again; Baahubali is probably the proudest Indian film ever made. K Asif's Mughal-E-Azam brought the entire fraternity together as a proud Indian film. That was way back in 1960. And 57 years later, there's an experience like Mughal-E-Azam and that is Baahubali. To say that SS Rajamouli is the biggest Indian filmmaker is not enough. I would say SS Rajamouli is a global filmmaker in the league of Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Christopher Nolan and beyond."
"His narrative has soul, his cinema has strength and his personality, which is so humble, makes me feel tiny. I haven't even achieved 1/10th of what he has achieved in the past 5 years. It takes guts, gumption and tremendous amount of glory to make a film like Baahubali. Baahubali is not the conclusion but the beginning of a journey which will inspire thousands of Indian filmmakers. I feel proud that we are a tiny part of Baahubali," he said.
Karan went on to praise the whole cast of Baahubali : The Conclusion saying that they have displayed such strength and dedication to cinema that not many Hindi actors display that in Bollywood. "I want to go back home and teach actors that this is what pure dedication to cinema is all about," he said referring to the cast of Baahubali.
Earlier in the event, Raja Koduri, senior vice president and chief architect of the AMD Radeon Technologies Group, gave a sneak-peek of Baahubali's virtual reality experience - The Sword Of Baahubali, which will be premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in late April this year. He said, "When I visited the sets of Baahubali for the first time, I was stunned looking at the scale of the film. And then, I went back to the US thinking that we need to bring this world of Baahubali closer to the people. That's how we started exploring the idea of Baahubali VR."
The team spirit and camaraderie among the cast and crew was at full display and Rajamouli himself paid a rich tribute to the entire team - right from the production team to the costume assistants, who toiled for five years to make the film possible. "There are so many people whom I want to thank that I don't think I've enough time for it. I couldn't have made Baahubali without the support of the whole team and my family. Every time I scored a hit, it was my wife who kept me grounded and I'll always be indebted to her," Rajamouli said.
Perhaps, the most emotional moment of the event was the song sung by MM Keeravani, music director, as a tribute to SS Rajamouli's incredible vision. Not only did it get a standing ovation from the crowd, but also Keeravani's gesture reduced Rajamouli to tears. Soon after he stepped down from the podium, Rajamouli's daughter Mayukha rushed to hug him to celebrate the moment. The entire segment struck an emotional chord with people so much that the clip of Rajamouli, visibly overwhelmed, went viral on social media.
Moreover, the entire team made it a point to acknowledge the efforts of Sri Valli (line producer), Rama Rajamouli and Prashanthi, who worked as the costume designers, as the driving force behind the film. "Valli is my Sivagami," said MM Keeravani referring to his wife, adding, "Once, when I went to the sets of the film, some people wanted to take my photographs. They didn't even know my name. All they knew was that I was Valli's husband. I was extremely pleased."
Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, who produced the film, thanked Karan Johar for helping them to conquer the Hindi market, which had been quite tough for South Indian filmmakers in the past. "When we showed Karan Johar few stills and concept art of Baahubali, he saw potential in it. Since he put his name on the film, we were able to reach out to a wider audience. We sincerely thank him for being part of the journey," Shobu said.
Praising Rajamouli, he added that he expects everyone around him to be on the same page. "Rajamouli is successful because of his talent, handwork and more importantly, he's uncorrupted by money. That's a rare quality to have," Shobu said.
Among the actors, Tamannaah was the first to go on stage and she thanked Rajamouli for believing in her. "Baahubali is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I became more brave as a person after acting in this film," she said. Anushka Shetty, who played Devasena in the film, was all praise for her co-star Prabhas. "He dedicated five years of his life to the film. We are all quite proud of him."
Calling Prabhas as the best co-star he has ever had, Rana Daggubati said, "I would love to work with Prabhas in all the films. He's the best co-star I've ever had. I'm going to miss the team a lot and it makes me sad that I can't hear Valli yelling at me for being late to the sets. I hope she continues to reprimand me every now and then, just for the sake of good old times."
The best part of the event was reserved for the star Prabhas himself who made a grand entry - suspended in air with ropes, descending on to the podium amidst fireworks - a feat that was the first of its kind for any movie-related event in Telugu cinema.
"I thank all my fans who patiently waited for the film to release. I hope to do at least couple of films every year from now onwards," Prabhas said.
Baahubali : The Conclusion, directed by SS Rajamouli, is expected to release in close to 6500-7000 screens in India alone on April 28. It'll also release in IMAX format in select screens across the world on the same day.