Watch Baahubali, Now In Animation

IMAGE: A scene from Baahubali: Crown of Blood.

S S Rajamouli says he has been toying with the idea of making an animation film for some time now.

The director hopes to venture into ‘newer’ territories in his future projects, much like his latest animation series, Baahubali: Crown of Blood, which is set in the universe of his popular Baahubali feature films.

Rajamouli, also known for action movies like Eega, Magadheera and RRR, serves as creator on the Disney+ Hotstar series along with Sharad Devarajan of The Legend of Hanuman fame.

“It’s been on my mind,” Rajamouli said, referring to directing an animated film.

“I like making films which will enable me to enter newer areas in my forthcoming films. For a long time, I’ve had this thought of making an animation film. Whether it’s Eega or how I’m associated with Hotstar for this (series), all these things are for me to learn. It helps me to develop my skills,” he said.

IMAGE: Prabhas in Baahubali: The Conclusion

The series serves as a prequel to Rajamouli’s blockbuster Baahubali movies — 2015’s Baahubali: The Beginning and Baahubali: The Conclusion (2017).

A self-proclaimed fan of The Lion King and Aladdin, Rajamouli said there’s an audience for animation films in India.

“Everyone was watching those films with a houseful of audiences cheering, clapping, laughing, and enjoying like any other film. So the audience is there for animation films. It’s just the belief of us as film-makers to bring animation content and the ability to make the connection (is needed)” he added.

“If you’ve seen Magadheera, you see how the connection happens between (characters played by) Ram Charan and Kajal. That magical connection has to happen (between film-makers and animation). The minute it happens, floodgates will open and tons of content will be created,” he said.

According to Rajamouli, the animation content in India is restricted to children, unlike the US and Japanese anime films.

“It is surprising that the animation world in India doesn’t go beyond children cartoons. We had the right kind of people and we felt like taking it forward. We had long story discussions with Sharad,” he added.

IMAGE: Ramya Krishnan and Prabhas in Baahubali: The Beginning. Photograph: Kind courtesy Baahubali /Instagram

Rajamouli said it was ‘difficult’ for him to let someone else take forward his widely successful Baahubali franchise through the animation series but he is happy with the result.

“Initially, I thought I’ll not let him (Devarajan) do anything without my consent. Gradually, I realised I have to let go. Before letting it go, I took them to the process of how we made Baahubali, its characters and conflicts.

“There’s a sur (note) of Baahubali that resonated with audiences. I tried to explain to them what the sur was, and he understood it. Later, he and his team came with the story, character arcs and that’s how Baahubali: Crown of Blood happened. I’m happy with the way it turned out.”

IMAGE: Prabhas and S S Rajamouli on the sets of Baahubali 2. Photograph: Kind courtesy Baahubali/Instagram

The director also revealed they spent ‘zero budget’ on the marketing of the first part of Baahubali.

“We didn’t buy any spots, pay any newspapers or web sites to put up the posters. But we did a lot of homework. We created many videos and digital posters internally. We released the character (posters), we released the making (behind-the-scenes) videos.

“A lot of publicity happened but the thing is that we didn’t spend money on it. We just used our brains and time. Each film is different. You market it depending on product to product but the base is that we constantly strive to bring in new audiences to get interested in the product.”

Baahubali: Crown of Blood, directed by Jeevan J Kang and Navin John, will premiere on Disney+ Hotstar on May 17.