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Rohini Plays a Tribal Woman in Baahubali

Is this is the first time you’ve worked on a period film?

No, Yashoda Krishna is my first film; I have done mythology before. I acted in Kota Lo Paaga when I must have been barely eight. When something as old as 1000 years is being recreated, we get to know how we lived then. In Bahubali’s case, Sabu kept it rustic. They had done so much home work, about what they cooked in their homes and offerings they would make to God. Every aspect and character has been designed meticulously. I have done art films where I have seen detailing but for a commercial film, I have never seen this kind of preparation. I greyed my hair for the role and I don’t even mind playing a granny’s role, if the role and story are good. I have worked for more than 30 days and I stay in the first part only.

What kind of excitement did you go through?

We went to Kerala, Athirapally waterfalls. Twenty days or so, we shot there and moved back to RFC. It was so exciting in Kerala; I have been there and shot for so many Malayalam films but I never went to the interiors like I had gone for Bahubali. It is risky, we could slip from the stones; it is a terrain we never explored but Rajamouli and Peter Hein would lead and we would follow them. The detailing for every shot, every gesture is something you should see to believe it. For me, the excitement is to work with a film maker who is dedicated, in such a commercial set up.

What did you observe about Rajamouli?

Many directors like Kamal Haasan, Balu Mahendra don’t move until they get what they want. Even I don’t give up. I remember for Virumandi (Potharaju), it  was shot in live sound (even for Yashoda Krishna). Soon after the shoot, he would go back and would edit there itself. There was something wrong once and he returned to shoot the entire episode again. I grew up watching such film makers and to see that that kind of single mindedness in Rajamouli, I was obviously excited. He keeps a frame and decides what he wants. Ikkada seleyaru ravali, ikkada pedda chettu undali and he gets it. To get that, we need to keep certain things ready, pumping water to that place, uprooting and getting trees with mud. It is either generated or he uses special effects. With that kind of preparation for every frame, not much time would be wasted.

On the people around him

He had ten technicians or so on his finger tips who would get what he wanted. On one side, I would see the people making Siva Lingams and I kept watching them. They must have made 100 Siva Lingams for Bahubali. It was like an industry where there were tents. I am just citing an example of Siva Lingam but there are lot more things. Everyday I would go and see how and why they are making. The battle field, the caves would be made then and there itself; it was fantastic.  For me Bahubali is big because of the director not compromising and not moving on till he got what he wanted. He would re-shoot if it was not perfect. I dubbed for both Telugu and Tamil.

Your current projects

At the moment I am leaving for Paris to do stage shows. Theatre needs a lot of time. For one play, we need to invest that time and also there is no money. I have three shows in Paris, supported by an Indian cultural wing and we’re invited by a French theatre. I shot for a Malayalam film recently for Abrid Shine, the director of 1983 and it’s his second project. It is a great role that comes in the end and has one long sequence. Nivin Pauly is one of the producers for this film and as an actor, I was motivated by the work we did.

(Sunita Yalavarthi)

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Interview With Bahubali Producer Shobu Yarlagadda


[dropcap]F[/dropcap]or Baahubali producer, Shobu Yarlagadda, choosing a project depends on the relationship that he shares with director and artistes. Read on to know more about him.

When did your association with Rajamouli begin?
My relationship with him goes very long back even before our professional association started. I know him since he started working with Raghavendra Rao garu. We were supposed to do a small film first but it never materialised. Then we did Maryada Ramanna, we struck a good rapport and became good family friends. It is more personal friendship between two families. After Maryada Ramanna, he was supposed to do a big project for K Raghavendra Rao. Since Raghavendra Rao didn’t want to handle it on his own, given it is a huge product, we stepped in. It became a joint production between him and us. Arka Media Works belongs to me and Prasad and we do some work with RK Films. I came back from US in 96 and did a couple of businesses and it didn’t work and was looking for a new avenue. Then me and Prasad decided that television is a good option. We entered television and do selective work. Films is a natural progression.

[pullquote position=”left”] Around four thousand screens all over the world will come out with Bahubali. There is so much post production which is a big aspect. For all of us artistes and technicians, producers..it is a once in a life time experience. [/pullquote]

How do you choose your project and people?

It is the relationship that we have with the director and artistes. Krish came and narrated the story. It was more of an accidental narration and we did it. Maryada Ramanna was our first film and we wanted to do it with someone we could trust and we are comfortable with it. We are not in a hurry to do a film; television is our bread and butter and that goes on. Movies, unless we have rapport comfort level and we see some value as we bring as producers to the project, we don’t do it. We bring a lot to the table, not just money. There are two or three lines but Rajamouli wanted to do a folklore or a period film and not a contemporary subject. He and his father went back and forth and both of us liked this subject.

You are being called the real hero for believing in the project

Partly it is inherent in me, not to get perturbed. We are used to ups and downs and we have lot of belief in this project and we know will pull it through. When someone is working, the entire team is genuinely working for the project with genuine interest, you trust and want to support the project to the best. By the time we finish the second part it will be four years. There have been ups and downs, the budgets have gone up. There were certain hiccups and we had to reschedule the whole thing as Prabhas had to go through a surgery. One year has been allotted to pre-production. Even after one year, we did parallel planning and designing. We were mentally prepared in a way that it will be out in 2015, for a long haul. Also we were prepared that the budget will go up, but it went up little more than expected.



How important is Bahubali for TFI ?

It is important in a way that if it does well, the buoyancy will be there. It will spread to the distributors and exhibitors. It will be positive. It will give confidence to others to try something out of the box not necessarily on the same scale. It will bring Telugu film industry on the national map. We have been covered in international trade magazines; they came to the sets and met us. The vastness, the scale is making news and also Eega, the last film of Rajamouli has become an internationally a cult film. It has been screened in film festivals. They are aware of the film and believe in this director.



Risks involved in the making of the film

It will definitely have a strong impact if something goes wrong but I don’t foresee it. About ups and downs, mainly it is trying to get the film ready on time, on schedules in budget. We are trying to do something. It is going to cost more, how much more can we stretch it? These are the challenges we addressed. Rajamouli strongly believes in emotion and the scale to go with it. He didn’t want to compromise on the points. Some areas we reduced and some we didn’t. Second part sixty percent has been shot and the climax and some action episodes is pending.



Reason to split the film into two parts?

Beyond two and half hours, however great a film is, no one has the patience to sit through a film. Both the budgets were such. One film doesn’t justify so much spending. To make it economically viable, we made it into two parts. Originally, the intention was to make one but when the story was written it was coming to three and a half hours to four hours. When we try to make it two and a half hours we lose the essence and the costs were high. We went back to the drawing board and re-looked at the story and screenplay and decided to make two independent films which will slightly increase the budget but the sets would be the same and it would make more economic sense across two films. We would be doing justice to both the stories. It is a continuation; it is one story told in two parts and would have an independent feel.

Confidence levels after execution of the project

This is at a different level and scale. It required a lot of patience, persistence, lot of  detailing, going into minute things. The bigger picture is to ensure the film is made in time in this much budget and it travels to all languages and rest of the world as far as possible. To ensure this happens, you need to do a lot of things at many levels and I was lucky to have people to take it everywhere. Lot of support came in from family and friends for financial and emotional support. RFC played a key role. They provided infrastructure and lot of financing for the film. That is one aspect and to have a place spanning over 2000 acres and getting to do multiple things in one place, the logistics would have been difficult but for RFC. We had sets, a floor with 1000 people working. We could go and check when we wanted. Eighty percent in RFC and then little in Mahabaleshwar, Kerala and Bulgaria. After the visual effects and CG, it will transport you into a different world. Around four thousand screens will be ready for Bahubali. There is so much post production, which is a big aspect. For all of us artistes, technicians and producers, it is a once in a life time experience.

(Sunita Yalavarthi)


Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.

Focus on Bahubali Stylist Prashanti Tipirneni-An Interview

[dropcap]O[/dropcap]ne of the stylists for Bahubali, Prashanti Tipirneni has worked for Vedam, Golconda High School and she is now currently working on Anushka’s costumes for Size Zero. Prashanti gives more importance to simplicity and comfort and is not a flamboyant person at all. She however says, she likes to be funky sometimes and some other time very sobre, depending on how she is feeling that day. In a chat with Telugu360, she says she is missing Bahubali shoot and is looking forward to wrapping up the remaining 40 percent soon. “After Size Zero, I think I will get a month and a half break after which I will move to Bahubali Part II. The reviews and inputs from people will let us know where we are lacking and we might do a better job.”

Do costume designers and stylists need to be present on the sets every day till the shoot gets finished?

I haven’t travelled for my other films but for jewellery and research for Bahubali I travelled a bit. Mostly I did from scratch in Hyderabad. For Size Zero, I am travelling a bit to Mumbai once or twice. I only work for movies and that too one at a time. I am in a particular zone and would prefer to be in that zone till I finish. For some scripts, our presence is not needed. For Vedam, I wasn’t there. I would go on the first day, see if everything was going smoothly and return. Even with Golconda High School, I would just pack, tag them and give it but for Size Zero and Bahubali, it is different. We had to make Anushka look heavy, there will be problems with the body suit, some fit and some don’t. So, I got to be there. Moreover every production is different, so is the director. It is okay if you aren’t there. The assistant directors will handle it but we can’t rely on them. So I go everyday.

[pullquote position=”left”] We had to be in ready at 5 am in Ramoji Film City, and all the junior artistes would be ready standing in a line with costumes. We would paint them black, on their faces especially the Kalakeyas and in the last would send them for breakfast. We did that for nearly five months.[/pullquote] 

  • Do you think a professional course helps a stylist or is practical, hands on job will suffice?
A lot in this field has specially to do with common sense, keeping in mind is what the director’s vision is. I am not undermining what people learn in colleges. I regret not doing NIFT and other courses. Lot of times I want a certain cut, pleat or a fold and I don’t know how to do it. If I had done that, I would have been easy, we would have been trained well. I never learnt cutting. I did Masters in counselling and more into child psychology and marriage counselling.
  • How did you and Rama compartmentalize work?
We categorised it into two, Rama was doing Hero’s kingdom, the Mayashmathis that involved the hero, Ramya Krishna. I did the heroine’s kingdom that had Anushka, Tamanna and that’s how we divided work. I would be doing it in one style and the difference between one kingdom and the other would be distinct and evident. We did a war and that was the biggest sequence. The costumes were done by Rama. We kept supporting one another no matter whose work it is. The biggest crew was 1000 people, soldiers–half of them were Kalakeyas and half Mahashmathis and there were two groups in Mahashmatis.


  • What time would the shoot begin?
We had to be in ready at 5 am in Ramoji Film City and all the junior artistes would be ready standing in a line with costumes. We would paint them black on their faces, especially, the Kalakeyas and in the last, would send them for breakfast. We did that for nearly five months. The first shot would be at 7am. All of them, the direction department too were staying back in RFC but I would be coming back for my daughter. Her school, bus and had to get up at 3.30am, leave by 4am and be at RFC by 5am, return in the evening and would be home by 9pm. I would hardly get time to be with her and she would sleep by then. I got to learn a lot in this  project. The whole team works like a family. This is the kind of exposure and experience, I don’t think I would have got in any other project.

What metal and stones were used to dress the artistes?

Bahubali is a mammoth project and Rajamouli is a systematic planner and from scratch, he gave us time for trial and error. We would never let it come till the last minute. There was eight months pre production when I got into the picture and even before that there were story sittings. For every meeting, all the technicians and ADs would be there. We had lot of story to fall back on to do our research, source and create material. The discussions on the  minerals were available, the skill sets they had, what soil they had and what grains they frew. All of this played on our mind. For costumes and jewellery, we didn’t want to use stones or diamonds. We used a little Kundan on Ramya Krishna but mostly plain gold on women. All jewellery is silver and we gold plated it.



  • Teaming with jewellery brands would have helped?

In the beginning we were banking on brands to make the jewellery and were trying to team up with jewellers and in the process lost lot of time. They wouldn’t understand our requirement, we needed something new and didn’t like things they already had. I went to Jaipur and as I love Amrapali jewellery, I went to the head of Amprapali and got antiques that I liked as samples. If I carried earrings from there, we would make necklaces and hip chains here. It depends from deal to deal and we got some in exhibitions. Most of it, we got it made as we had a silver smith with us. In RFC now there is an art related museum and an entire floor has been given to display jewellery used for Bahubali.


  • How exciting was it to work these three years?

it was very exciting as it is has to be built from scratch and Bahubali is fiction not history based. It gave us leverage to do what we wanted. It was physically tiring nevertheless. I am not a morning person and waking up at 3.30 am was torture but once on the set it didn’t feel like work. Everyone from small to high technicians, they owned this product, it didn’t feel  taxing at all. Now I am missing the shoot as I do ‘Size Zero.’ I keep calling Rama and tell her that I am missing the shoot. What you imagine on screen is high level images but this is ten times more bigger, you are in awe of it, it is a fantastic feeling.


  • Three films with Anushka, what rapport do you share with her?

She is not fussy at all and she is a close friend..not that she says yes for everything, she will only tell you no, only with a reason, and why it will work or why it won’t. She has the clarity..that makes our job easier. She sees the ability in a person and if she feels you will do full justice she will not even question you. If she feels somewhere your notice should be brought she will tell you. There is no discomfort or stressed feeling working with her and moreover in the last three years we have become really close friends.

(Sunita Yalavarthi)

Telugu360 is always open for the best and bright journalists. If you are interested in full-time or freelance, email us at Krishna@telugu360.com.



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