Chennai: Filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, whose highly anticipated magnum opus ‘Baahubali’ - which he calls his tribute to Indian epic Mahabharat - releases in cinemas on Friday, says the creative success of his film is more important than its box office prospects.
"I'm usually not motivated by money. When my films succeed creatively, that's my biggest achievement. The creative satisfaction I get from my films matters to me the most than box office numbers," Rajamouli said.
Although he admits film economics is important, he says that's not what drives him to make films.
‘Baahubali’, which is touted as one of India's most expensive films at Rs.250 crore (nearly $40 million), is Rajamouli's "tribute to Indian epic Mahabharat."
"One of the biggest inspirations behind 'Baahubali' is 'Mahabharat'. The epic war drama between the Pandavas and Kauravas has always fascinated me," he said, adding that the Amar Chitra Katha comics too helped him envision the world of ‘Baahubali’.
The film, originally made in Telugu and Tamil, will also release in Hindi and Malayalam in dubbed versions.
Asked why he chose to release the film in multiple languages, he said: "Given the budget of the film, it's impossible to recover the cost involved if we release in one language. Right from the start, the plan was to make it as a Tamil-Telugu bilingual. Hence, we cast actors who are popular in both the industries.
"Following the success of 'Eega' ('Makkhi' in Hindi), we had planned to release 'Baahubali' in Hindi as well."
When the team was looking for someone to release the film in the northern belt, filmmaker Karan Johar came on board.
The film is all set to release in a record number of 4,000 screens worldwide.
It took the team nearly three years to complete the first part of the film. With another 120 days of shoot left on the second part, it's expected to hit the screens next year.
Rajamouli says it wasn't easy to stay motivated throughout.
"We struggled towards the end, especially to complete the last 20 percent of the film, as most actors by then had almost given up having shot for over a year. But I always believe the team draws its motivation from the director, so I had to push myself and others without losing my cool," he said.
Despite the long wait, the buzz around ‘Baahubali’ was always alive. It's perhaps the best marketed south Indian film ever.
"A lot of planning went into all this. Over the last one year, we've been very active on social media platforms. We needed to create the buzz, make audiences - irrespective of the region - curious about our film. And the only way to do it was through marketing," he said.
Megastar Amitabh Bachchan too has heaped praise on Rajamouli's creation and even wished to be part of it.
Asked if he plans to rope in Big B in the second part of the movie, he said: "I'd love to work with all the stars, provided I have a suitable script for them. I can't approach them just because I want to work with them. For 'Baahubali', I had decided long back that Prabhas was my hero. I let my script choose my actor and not vice versa.
"It was nice of Bachchan sir to say lovely things about our film."
The film is about the story of two warring brothers for an ancient kingdom. It features Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty and Tamannah Bhatia in the lead roles.