No Republic Day... No Eid... No Independence Day... No Diwali... No Christmas... No mall visits... No city shows... No appearance on comedy shows on TV... No Khans, no Kapoors, no Roshans, no Kumars... No item songs... No foreign locations...
Yet, BAAHUBALI-2 smashes every record in sight and sets new benchmarks at the BO. I have never seen such hype, hysteria and craze for any film ever in my 37-year career as a journalist and I say this because I have been a witness to the Manmohan Desai-Amitabh Bachchan era. I distinctly recall, every Big B-Man ji film *together* was looked forward to with great enthusiasm, but BAAHUBALI-2 is akin to an event, a celebration that has the entire nation participating with great fervour.
Now let's discuss its performance at the BO...
Everyone was keen to know the answer to the question: Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali? Did the terrific cliffhanger do the trick? Did the tremendous curiosity [to know the answer] translate into an earth-shattering start at the ticket windows? Yes, that's one of the key reasons. Also, BAAHUBALI has emerged the biggest brand today and that too translated into a fantabulous start.
However, all hype and no content can prove disastrous for any film. As a matter of fact, aggressive promotions can attract footfalls till the word of mouth comes into play. The moment the verdict is out, the business either skyrockets or plummets on Day 1 itself. The public opinion spreads faster than fire nowadays. More so because social media is an extension of our lives. It can make or break a film within hours.
The stupendous business across the weekend -- from East to West and from North to South -- clearly indicates that BAAHUBALI-2 is here to stay, enjoy a glorious innings at theatres and set new benchmarks. What will be its eventual lifetime business? That's a bit difficult to guess at this stage, but one thing is for sure, this one's a game changer. It will be difficult to surpass its business soon.
Before I conclude this piece, I'd like to doff my hat to S.S. Rajamouli, the creator of the BAAHUBALI franchise. Like I stated in my review: "It requires foresight, guts, vision and of course, the financial muscle to bring to life a lavish spectacle on the giant screen. And Rajamouli uses his strengths and opportunities to accomplish what a majority of storytellers can only talk about or dream of."
The only regret is, BAAHUBALI-2 is the conclusion of this epic saga. I genuinely wish this series never terminates. You don't want this joyride to end ever... yeh dil maange more!