Prabhas emerged as one of the biggest pan-India stars after Baahubali. Now, that his next film Saaho is ready to release, he spoke about how things have changed for him over the years, the pressure to perform and impress his audience who have put him on a pedestal and his plans of doing films in all languages.
Here are some excerpts from the interview:
Expectations are high after Baahubali, do you feel the pressure?
Baahubali made history, Saaho is just to entertain the audience that watched Baahubali. Entertaining that audience is the biggest thing that can happen and we are all stressed as we have spent so much money, energy and time to do exactly that. Because of this stress, I don’t even watch my film on the day of its release. We think so much that this will work and that will work, there is so much doubt and confusion. So many people have loved Baahubali, so they need to like Saaho.
Since you have now emerged as a pan-India actor, will you take up a few more Hindi films now?
Yes, if Saaho works and everything goes good, I will do a lot of pan-India films as I have got offers from Bollywood, Tamil Nadu and everywhere. So, I might do regional films also. It depends on how it works. One needs to work hard anywhere. It all depends on the script though, if it is intriguing, it will work.
Definitely, when I came here for the first time, I didn’t know that people will accept Baahubali so wonderfully. When I came to Bollywood, it was not easy for me as I was not used to all this. There were a lot of cultural differences here. But there are warm people here as well. So many stars have called me. At Baahubali’s Delhi premiere, Ajay Devgn sir was also doing some other film there, so he called me and spoke to me, and Ranbir (Kapoor) messaged me. So, I would say that I got a very warm welcome.
Saaho is being called the biggest Indian action film, how did you prepare for it?
This was not like Baahubali, as there we shot on horses, and for the war so there were a lot of action scenes. Whereas this was a film in the present. We did a lot of preparation for this too, but I would say that the technicians had to prepare much more than us. We have action technicians from around the world, and they had more work to do, so we were safer.
Why do you end up doing lesser films? People expected you to do more films, especially because you became so famous after Baahubali.
Even I want to do at least one film in a year. That I had decided even after Baahubali, but things worked differently. I wanted to do a love story, I think I should have done that, but even that would have taken a year because Baahubali is always attached to me, so the quality of everything I now do has to be great. But this became an action film and it took so much more time than I expected it to, but it also demanded this amount of time and scale.
Did you ever think that Baahubali would become such a grand success?
No, we just wanted it to be very entertaining. We thought it will do well with part one, but not at this level. We had actually started with part two, with Devasena’s scene, which turned out to be the most famous scene, it was actually a seven to eight days shoot. So we started with that, then we went on to shoot part one for twenty days, then we thought we will complete both parts simultaneously. But the budget was so high, that we had to stop and could only finish part one.
We thought if it works in Telugu then there are chances that it will also work in Tamil and Malayalam. We didn’t know how much it would work, we didn’t know if the film will be accepted either because they had not seen a periodic war film in a long time. We took a chance, we thought if we make thirty to forty crores then we will be able to make part two. But then with the kind of response we got, things changed so much.
Has the success of Baahubali given you the confidence to experiment in Hindi cinema?
I need to work hard to be that confident. Even in Telugu, I need to work hard, if I have given two hits, I have also given two flops. You will never know what the audience likes, they will watch Baahubali also, an Arjun Reddy also and a Darling also. Every Saturday there are different films that are being consumed by the same audience. It is not easy to think that you have now established yourself, it is about one film at a time. In fact, I think dealing with a flop is much easier, because you have lost, and anything you gain is beautiful. But Rajamouli has given me Baahubali and I don’t know what to do now, so we are just banging our heads and trying our best.