Before Rs 1000-crore Mahabharata, these were India’s most expensive films

Malayalam superstar Mohanlal's Mahabharata based on Randamoozham will be the biggest motion picture-ever produced in India.

Written by Manoj Kumar R | Bengaluru | Updated: April 18, 2017 6:41 pm
Mohanlal’s The Mahabharata will be India’s most expensive film.

We were still not done with which is the most expensive Indian film ever — Baahubali 2 or 2.0 — and south industry has dropped another bomb. Mohanlal has announced that he will be a part of a film based on MT Vasudevan Nair’s Randamoozham, called The Mahabharata, which will be made on a mammoth budget of Rs 1000 crore. While we are a long way off from Hollywood — quick perspective, Avengers: Infinity Wars 1 and 2 is said to have a budget of over Rs 6000 crore — a bigger budget is ensuring that Indian films look and feel world-class.

Filmmaking is a very expensive business now more than ever. In India, a major portion of the budget of a film is spent on roping in a leading actor, who can guarantee the producers a minimum success at the box office. Instead, the filmmakers should be spending their money on special effects and technologies that enhance the film viewing experience of the audiences. Like Hollywood studios’ focus on making the film an astonishing viewing experience. Some of the Indian filmmakers like SS Rajamouli, Shankar and Malayalam superstar Mohanlal are rewriting the rules of producing a film. Here are their films, ranked according to budget.

Read | Forget Baahubali 2 and 2.0, Mohanlal to star as Bheem in Rs 1000-crore The Mahabharata


Director Shankar made Jeans 20 years ago, which was made on a budget of Rs 20 crore. And the director has come a long way since then. His upcoming film 2.0, starring Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar, is touted to be the most expensive film made in India (at least until The Mahabharata was announced). The early estimates suggested that the film will cost its producers more than Rs 400 crore and a large chunk of the budget goes to CGI.

Baahubali 1 and Baahubali 2

It has always been very expensive to make director SS Rajamouli’s vision a reality. He upped the ante in terms of productions with his blockbuster franchise, Baahubali. The film producers, Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni, have spent a whopping about Rs 400 crore in the making of these films. As Baahubali 2 is ready to land, its trailers have already made a buzz with the high-quality CGI and production values.



Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan’s superhero film Ra.One was celebrated as the most expensive film at the time. The production cost of the film was pegged at Rs 150 crore. However, it did not live up to the expectations at the box office.


Director Shankar is touted to be the James Cameron of India for the sheer scale he brings to his films. And that costs money. In 2009, Enthiran, starring Rajinikanth, was made at a budget of Rs 132 crore.


Superstar Rajinikanth’s Kochadaiyaan was the first India film to be made using the motion capture technology. A technology which was used in Hollywood films like The Adventures of Tintin and Avatar. However, the final output was not up to its Hollywood counterparts. The film was made on a budget of Rs 125 crore.


Krrish 3

The was the most expensive film starring Hrithik Roshan in the Krrish franchise. The Roshans had spent Rs 115 crore on this superhero film, which had an all-star cast, including Priyanka Chopra, Vivek Oberoi, Kangana Ranaut among others.


It is Shankar again. His second outing with actor Vikram, I, is one of the highest grossing Tamil films of all time. The film with the huge budget of Rs 100 crore, went on to collected a whopping Rs 225 crore worldwide. In the film, Vikram was seen in three avatars, including a hunchback.


Many films don’t share the actual budget. However, based on estimates, industry observers arrived at a consensus that the Vijay film was made at the cost of Rs 100 crore.

Dhoom 3

The third instalment in the popular heist movie series clearly had a higher budget than its predecessors. However, there are conflicting reports about the actual number. While many reports suggest it was made at a budget of Rs 175 crore, some reports peg it at Rs 125 crore.


This timeless classic deserves a special mention. The film was made at Rs 15 million on a never-seen-before scale in 1960. It may not be a big budget now. But at the time of its release, it was a big deal. Probably, it gave courage to other filmmakers to push the envelope further.

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  1. S
    May 17, 2017 at 10:06 am
    You missed sangamithra which has budget of about 400 cr
    1. S
      Shubham Rajelli
      Apr 28, 2017 at 4:41 pm
      Somehow the author of this article doesn't know the difference between budget and box-office. Shame on journalism
      1. I
        Apr 19, 2017 at 10:10 am
        Better donate ame money for humanity. We have millions of red light beggars & homeless peoples.
        1. M
          Apr 19, 2017 at 5:02 pm
          Well it's a billionaire producing. I don't think they think about wasting their money on other om people. They're probably doing this for the fame that comes with it. We can't help that behaviour. I doubt if I will give my money to the poor if I become a billionaire. I might give some to charity. But not a lot. I wouldn't want to spend my hard earned money on others. This is the nature of most rich people.
        2. R
          Ramji Ram
          Apr 19, 2017 at 8:42 am
          1. A
            Ashamed Jnr
            Apr 19, 2017 at 2:57 am
            All the Best.
            1. J
              Jayaprakash Pk
              Apr 18, 2017 at 9:02 pm
              I wonder how can an expensive film like the one reported above, can collect a portion of the expenditure if made in Malayalam. Even if the movie is made simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi, Kannada and in English, I do not think it can collect so much of money to meet the expenses projected. To make it in other languages, the lead roles of different characters have to be acted by actors who are known to audience. I do not think Mohanlal acting in the top lead role will be accepted by people speaking other languages as he is not po r among them. It is mainly because Mohanlal has not acted many films in other languages but concentrated in Malayalam. This is not to under estimate his acting talents and he still is one of the superb actors of Indian cinema.
              1. M
                Apr 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm
                You are correct at some parts. But think about Baahubali. Prabhas didn't act in any Hindi or North Indian movie before, and he still hasn't. Yet his movie Baahubali managed to get to the '3rd highest grossing in India' spot. He wasn't known among the north audiences, or even in states like Karnataka, Kerala etc. He became a humongous star after Baahubali.
              2. S
                Srikanth B
                Apr 18, 2017 at 6:11 pm
                Right now, 2570 Crore is the highest amount invested in a Hollywood movie. not 6000 crores. s: en.wikipedia /wiki/List_of_most_expensive_films
                1. M
                  Apr 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm
                  I think it's adjusted for inflation as well.
                2. S
                  Apr 18, 2017 at 4:55 pm
                  Moreover the novel name " amoozham" should be retained to admire MT Vasudevan Nair Sir. Mohanlal is trying to have full compliment on his name. Earlier we heard Mammooty was casted and then how the twist ??? Really biased !!!
                  1. C
                    Apr 18, 2017 at 6:55 pm
                    We have been hearing the news for years that amoozham is being adapted as a movie and Mohanlal is playing the lead role as Bhima . Just because you don't like that actor, don't spread incorrect news.
                    1. M
                      Apr 19, 2017 at 4:55 pm
                      I heard that too. But what I heard was that Mohanlal was Bheema and Mammootty as someone else and Amitabh Bachchan as Bhismar
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