By Sandeep Sharma and Haricharan Pudipeddi
New Delhi– Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali? An enigma that has been on the mind of every Indian since the last 21 months, will finally get unveiled on Friday with the release of “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”. If trade pundits and films experts are to be believed, filmmaker S.S. Rajamoulis magnum opus will set new benchmarks in Indian cinema.
Released in July 2015, ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ — the first film in the epic fantasy franchise — raked in over Rs 600 crore at the box office while leaving fans amazed with its grandiose sets, unprecedented action sequences and astounding storyline. Thus, fans across the world keenly await “Baahubali 2”, which will release in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam in over 6500 screens across India.
The film features Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Rana Daggubati and Tamannaah in the lead.
“I have sky high expectations from ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’ and I believe it’s going to make records. Expectations from first film were not that big. Despite that‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ worked so well. The way it performed is the reason why expectations are so huge from the second part,” Mumbai-based distributor Rajesh Thadani told IANS.
“This film has the potential to create new benchmarks in cinema. There have been films in the past which have had big hype, but ‘Baahubali’ is an exception. It will definitely open doors for the southern industry in other regions,” Thadani added.
Trade expert Taran Adarsh said “Baahubali 2” will get a “hurricane” at the box office, which has not witnessed huge footfalls for the last few weeks now.
“The weather may be hot and humid, but the box office is ice-cold… Await ‘Baahubali 2′ to reactivate film business… Expecting a hurricane at the box office,” Adarsh tweeted last week.
In north India, Delhi-based distributor Joginder Mahajan is expecting a “miracle” with the film.
“Advance booking for the film is doing great. There are discussions going on between exhibitors and distributors regarding the profits in north India. The hype of the film is really huge amongst the masses. It might break all the records at the box office,” Mahajan told IANS.
Ashish Saksena, COO-Cinemas, BookMyShow said that they are witnessing an “unprecedented advance booking” for “Baahubali 2”.
“We have already sold over one million tickets across languages, even when the bookings have been live for just over a day. Though the film is largely perceived to be loved by South Indian audience, the response from Hindi speaking markets has been highly encouraging as well,” Saksena told IANS.
In South, “Baahubali 2” will release in around 650 screens in Tamil Nadu. According to trade analyst Sreedhar Pillai, it’s the biggest release for a film in the state.
“Even Rajinikanth’s ‘Enthiran’ and ‘Kabali’ released in just over 500 screens. The craze for ‘Baahubali’ is phenomenal and unprecedented. The buzz is bigger than it has ever been for a big Tamil film. Tickets are sold out everywhere,” Pillai told IANS.
Unlike other states, where the ticket prices have been hiked in huge numbers, in Tamil Nadu, the film’s ticket is being sold at the nominal price of Rs 120 due to the price cap by the government.
Pillai added that the film’s release timing is perfect.
“It’s the summer vacation for kids. The film is going to have a dream run for first four days as May 1 (Labour Day) happens to be holiday. It’s a very well planned release and I have been told the team locked the release date nearly eight months ago,” he said.
In Kerala, meanwhile, Global United Media is releasing the film in over 300 screens.
“This is the biggest release ever for a non-Malayalam film. This is the kind of film which doesn’t get made every day. Since the release of ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’, the total number of theatres in Kerala has increased which has automatically paved the way for a wider release for the second part.
“The film is going to set new benchmarks for Indian cinema,” Prem Menon, Managing Director, Global United Media, told IANS.
The buzz around the film’s release is even higher in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, say experts.
So, one can say that the stage is perfectly set for “Baahubali 2” to prove is mettle and set new records in Indian cinema.