India’s Arka Mediaworks is planning an international cut of its $40m action epic Bahubali, directed by S.S. Rajamouli, one of the biggest filmmakers in the Telugu-language film industry.
The first part of the two-part film will be released on 3,500 screens across India in July. Filmed in Telugu and Tamil, it will also be released in a Hindi version to be presented by leading Bollywood filmmaker Karan Johar (My Name Is Khan).
Cast includes top Telugu stars such as Prabhas, Rana Daggubati and Anushka Shetty. The film was shot over 450 days at Hyderabad’s Ramoji Film City, other Indian locations and Bulgaria. VFX houses such as John Hughes’ Tau Films and Korea’s Macrograph are now working on the film.
Arka CEO Shobu Yarlagadda said the international version of the film would shorten the two-parter’s 290-minute running time, adjusting the emphasis between drama and songs. “The film is set in a fictitious era and the story is completely original as we didn’t want the restraints or expectations that come with basing the film on Indian myth,” said Yarlagadda.
Arka has brought on board former Directors’ Fortnight head Francois Da Silva to rep the film in Cannes.
Rajamouli’s credits include period epic Warrior (Magadheera) and high-concept drama Fly (Eega), which both grossed more than $16m (Rs1bn) worldwide.