Forget Troy, Bollywood churning out an epic like Baahubali seems to be next to impossible

Bollywood has failed time and again in churning out epics like Baahubali, Troy or 300

The much-awaited trailer of SS Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali: The Conclusion was unveiled with a lot of buzz. The two-minute long trailer has left everyone asking the same question again: Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali? It seems that the sequel will be much bigger than the first instalment which netted around Rs 500 crore across the box office. The multilingual epic drama has been the talking point since the first look was unveiled last year.

Whether Baahubali 2 lives up to the expectations of the viewers, it will be seen on April 28 when it hits the theatres. But one thing is clear that the south Indian film industry has clearly mastered the art of churning out epics which are larger-than-life. It is one genre wherein Bollywood needs to do a serious rethink on why we have not been able to produce such magnanimous films. And trust me, we are nowhere close to producing an epic like Troy, 300 or Ben Hur.

In India, South Indian films are often mocked for the over-the-top stunt sequences which define almost every known concept of physics. But when it comes to content, they have outmatched us in this department. One simple reason is that we often hear a particular Hindi film is a remake of some Tamil, Telugu, Kannada or Malayalam film. It is not that we have not worked in this direction. But the results have been seriously disappointing.

In 2008, Abhishek Bachchan starred in fantasy superhero flick Drona. The protagonist played by Junior AB comes to know that he was a descendant of ancestral warrior called Drona. What follows next is his conflict with the baddies to again justify ‘good wins over evil’ concept. But the film was vehemently rejected by the viewers and fell flat at the box office. Just by donning armour and wielding a sword does not make a flick an epic.

Now, it is unfair to make fun of Abhishek Bachchan alone. Seven years prior to Drona, Shah Rukh Khan played the titular role of Mauryan emperor Ashoka in 2001 release Asoka. The film not only created a lot of controversy but performed poorly at the box office too. It is another fact that King Khan in an interview described the Santosh Sivan directorial as one of the beautiful journeys of his life. The film was criticised for being more a love story between Ashoka and Princess Kaurwaki (Kareena Kapoor Khan) rather than a war epic.

In 2015, Sanjay Leela Bhansali came out with his magnum opus Bajirao Mastani, which chronicled the love story of Maratha warrior Peshwa Bajirao and his wife Mastani Bai. Although the backdrop was set against Maratha army’s ambitious expedition to Delhi, but the film received accolades for the chemistry between Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. However, the film did have amazing action sequences which were praiseworthy. Just have a look at its introduction scene.

We are not questioning Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s filmmaking skills at all. Bajirao Mastani was a brilliant film no doubt. But what about Asoka which was meant to be about the ancient ruler only to be dominated by Shah Rukh Khan’s stardom? That’s where we lose the plot. The filmmakers might argue that there are no takers for such films but wasn’t Baahubali‘s Hindi version a success? Nowadays, the dubbed versions of South Indian films are extremely popular.

So, the fault is ours. A film like Baahubali is not only dependent on grandeur but also a strong script. We are unsure whether a producer would play a bigger gamble. By the way, Baahubali 2 has been produced by Dharma Productions, and we don’t need to remind you who owns it. Whether we will get to see an epic like Troy or 300 in Hindi, it is unsure.

Karan Johar, Express photo for InUth

Also read: Revealed: Why SS Rajamouli and Karan Johar released the trailer of Baahubali 2 in a hurry