Does he feel there is sudden urge to make bigger films, especially after the announcement of Mohanlal-starrer multilingual film “The Mahabharata”, to be made on a budget of Rs 1000 crore?
“I think it is amazing filmmakers have started to think big. Baahubali’ has given them the license to go big,” he said.
In “Baahubali” franchise, Rana plays a fictional character Bhallaladeva, who locks horns over an ancient kingdom with his brother Amarendra Baahubali, played by Prabhas.
Asked if he finds surprising that a negative character vis–vis all the positive ones he has played so far has won him nation-wide recognition, he said: “It’s a Rs 450 crore war film and it will give you far greater visibility.”
“It is the biggest film in the country and even if I played any other character, it would have given me the same visibility. This is franchise cinema which is far bigger than any film that I have been part of so far,” he explained.
Rana, known for being part of films such as “Leader”, “Dum Maaro Dum” and “Department”, says he has always been on the lookout for projects that transcended regional boundaries.
“Baahubali’ helped me explore new avenues across borders. It has given us so much strength that even while sitting in Hyderabad, we could think of making a huge franchise-based film that will be lapped up by the entire nation. It has taught me to take content to wherever I want,” he said, adding the experience of working on the country’s biggest film helped him to “understand and portray a character better”.
“It is because of the experience of working with finer actors and a highly talented director. Everything I have learnt from both the parts of the film will reflect on whatever I choose to do next,” he said.
“Baahubali: The Beginning” had a phenomenal run at the box office. It ended up as one of the biggest grossers of Indian cinema.
Is there a sense of nervousness ahead of the release of “Baahubali 2”, considering part one was a huge hit?
“It is the same story audiences are going to watch after two years. It’s the continuation of what happened at the end of first part. When we were making part one, we didn’t realise how big it will become and where it will take us,” Rana said.
“The fact that it has become a brand and has been accepted even internationally, gives you so much more strength to make a greater part two. Ultimately, everything that we have made in this film is bigger than the first part,” he added.
Talking about “Baahubali 2”, Rana said things got easier while working on this project.
“When we were doing the first part, it was our first attempt in the war genre and everything was new to us. None of us even knew how everything that we are shooting will look in the end with visual effects. There were challenges every single day and it was a struggle to address them,” Rana said.
“Though part two was a physically taxing film in every which way, what we did here was we didn’t make the same mistakes we made in part one. We had bigger budget to shoot, thanks to the success of first part,” he said.
“Baahubali 2…”, which also stars Prabhas, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah Bhatia, Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan, is slated for worldwide release on Friday.