As Baahubali 2 turns four, here why this Prabhas-starrer could be last of its kind in history of Indian cinema

Baahubali: The Conclusion began no less than a carnival. Four years from today, there was no fear of congestion and viruses, SS Rajamouli had the same thing on people’s minds for the early morning show (6 am or so before) of the epic, taking their seats on time before the show Started looking. The moment the doors open, people rush in, are not afraid to step on toes or others push you.

In these Kovid times, it is hard to imagine a world without social discrimination, but on April 28, 2017, it was the scene in over 6000 theaters across India. Everyone in the country wanted to watch Bahubali 2 and everyone wanted to do it sooner or later. That is why this film became the highest-grossing film in the history of Indian cinema. We are a deeply diverse country. We all have different tastes in films, favorite stars and filmmakers. Take South India for example. Film fans in Tamil Nadu may not feel as excited about the release of an Allu Arjun film as they would in a film starring Ajith. And film fans in Telugu states may not feel the same level of yearning for a Vijay film, that they would normally feel for a Mahesh Babu starrer. Meanwhile, Hindi-speaking audiences have been kept away from the attraction of films coming from the south, with a few exceptions.

However, Bahubali overcame those obstacles. Images of people queuing long outside theaters to buy tickets before the film’s release are still fresh in memory. And it was not limited to the South Indian states, it was an all-India phenomenon. And keeping in mind you, this was a time when people had the option of buying tickets through online platforms. While some queues were running for a few kilometers, online ticketing platforms were also overwhelmed.

A day before the release of director SS Rajamouli’s Magnum Opus, Bookmyshow sold 12 tickets every second for the film. Within a day, the ticketing platform sold over one million tickets. It is one of the new business records that made the film closer to its release. And naturally, ticket prices skyrocketed. In states, where movie ticket prices were not regulated by the government, tickets sold for more than Rs 600. And prices on luxury screens touched a new high.

At a time when Bollywood was introduced to a 100 crore club and big stars waited for their films to reach their iconic days, Bahubali broke that record within hours of its release. The film grossed over Rs 100 crore worldwide in its opening day. And it became the fastest and first Indian film to earn Rs 1000 crore from ticket sales within 10 days of its theatrical debut. Therefore, on average, the film earned Rs 100 crore every day for 10 days, dwarfing all previous collection records in the history of Indian cinema.

Bahubali: The Conclusion scene

The Hindi dubbed version of the film grossed over Rs 500 crore 30 days after its release. To put it in context, the highest-grossing film in the history of Bollywood is a Telugu film with a regional film star, Prabhas in the lead. The final collection of Bahubali 2 is said to be worth Rs 1,800 crore.

However, emerging as India’s biggest grosser globally was not Bahubali 2’s only achievement. Yes, it showed the true size of the domestic market to the members of the Indian film fraternity. This opened up new opportunities for regional films in a big way. Now, “All India Film” is the keyword that drives the mainstream business in regional cinema. This changed the hierarchy of power in Indian cinema. Now, more than ever Bollywood filmmakers are working on South Indian filmmakers.

And more importantly, Bahubali 2 primarily unites India, cutting across barriers of language and culture. It was a force that remained in the periphery of cricket till now.

And that was four years ago. Today, we are on the verge of a new world, where a crowd of 10 people in a supermarket causes panic in our hearts. When we come out of this epidemic, we do not know what “normal” will look like. But, we can say with some certainty, India is unlikely to share mutual enthusiasm to go to the theater to see another film in the future. Bahubali 2 may be the last film that has received so much love from people in India. This may mark an important era that has ended. Bahubali 2 may be the last success of its kind in the history of cinema-history of India.

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