Tamannaah Bhatia
The actress talks about her role in the film, why she’s missing in the trailer, and her much talked-about spat with S S Rajamouli
Nayandeep Rakshit (DNA; April 27, 2017)

She might not have a superhit film in Bollywood to boast of, but down South, she’s a superstar. Tamannaah Bhatia gears up for the release of the much-awaited sequel to Baahubali.

In this conversation, she talks about her role in the second part, on going missing in the trailer and the obvious ‘Why did Katappa kill Baahubali’ query.

Baahubali 2 euphoria
“It’s been two years since the first part came out. The kind of excitement and the enthusiasm has not died down even now that the film had to be re-released, which is a first for me. I feel really lucky and fortunate to have been a part of Baahubali. I didn’t expect this kind of euphoria for the film when I got on board. Of course, I knew we were making something extraordinarily special because the content itself is so strong and I have been a huge fan of Rajamouli Sir. His films are known for its story telling and screenplay and that’s the reason he’s a very consistent filmmaker. He has a 100 per cent success rate, which I don’t see many filmmakers achieve.”

Missing in trailer
“The trailer was amazing. It crossed my expectations as well. And look at how well-received it is. And it doesn’t matter how much I’m there in the promo. Even in the first part, I was there only in one shot. So it’s no big deal. When people watch the film, they will see a lot of me in it. But honestly, this is one film where even if I got to be in one frame or just a part of it, I would have still done it. Because it’s a matter of great pride for any actor and people would actually kill others to be part of something like Baahubali. One shot, half a shot, one frame — all that is trivial.”

Character changes
“I play the same character and because it’s the second part to the film, my character has not changed at all. But I have had to train myself in sword fighting and horse riding again. Also, they could invest a lot more money because the first one did great business and was super successful. I haven’t seen any other production that was so well planned and organised. We had two units shooting everyday. One in some place and one at another place and that’s how we finished the film.”

Climax of Baahubali 2
“I am primarily the climax of the film. So yes, you will see a lot of me in the climax. Last time, I wasn’t required in the climax but this time, the war will have a lot of me. And I can’t reveal more than this, but I am the reason why the climax takes place.”

SRK cameo?
“There are no cameos. At least, not of the people that have been reported by the media. There are no special appearances, that much I can tell you.”

Spat with S S
“It’s completely baseless (laughs). It only makes for a great write-up. That’s about it. I have always been in awe of Rajamouli Sir. That has not changed. But yes, a large section of the media has funny things to say about it. So we read about it and we laugh!”

More revelations in B2
“We shot a lot of the second part even before we released the first part. Nothing has been revisited or changed since. Because we anyway worked according to the script and the story for the second part was ready even before the first one hit screens. In fact, you will see a lot more story in the second part. The first part was more about visual effects only and just about an introduction of the characters. We didn’t tell you much of the story but The Conclusion reveals the conflict between characters that were introduced in the previous one. We didn’t have to rework it at all. We had only shot 30 per cent of the second part when Baahubali The Beginning released.”

“I do know the reason. I am one of the few people who always knew it. (Smiles) But I am not going to say anything about it. I came to know about it a day before the first part released. In fact, you won’t believe when we actually shot the scene, we knew this would be the ending to Baahubali, but we never apprehended that it would become the talking point. Why Katappa Killed Baahubali (#WKKB) has become a craze now and that’s definitely not what any of us could have even remotely imagined it would turn out to be. It was not our selling point for sure. Baahubali 2 begins exactly from that point and we straightaway answer that question in the first five minutes. I didn’t even have a theory on it because none of us actually thought it was that big to have a theory on, back then.”

On Baahubali 2’s box-office run
“I have never understood the math. I can’t quote numbers because I don’t know much about it. But I can humbly say that Baahubali 2 is going to do even better than the first one. It will be something that will make people happy and proud. We all have faith in this product. So, I won’t be surprised if it actually becomes the highest grossing Indian film ever.”

Baahubali 2 vs 2.0
“The only similarity between the two films is the scale. Putting that aside, I think these films are very different in terms of genre. 2.0 is a futuristic film and we are a period film. First and foremost, on the basis of premises, we are extremely opposite. So there is nothing else you can compare the films on. They are, of course, great films, different in their style so I don’t see a sense of clash or comparison. Today, films like 2.0 and Baahubali 2 are introducing a new league of Indian cinema globally. These two films coming from the South is another sense of pride because the industry is getting the attention it deserves.”

Baahubali 3?
“People have been asking Rajamouli Sir and I also was curious. So, I will just tell you what he told me. He mentioned that the franchise of Baahubali will continue- with comics, VR and other stuff. Now there are so many other platforms where you can continue a film like this. So that will happen. But the world of Baahubali and the other characters will culminate in the second part. As a film, Baahubali will come to an end with The Conclusion.