Art & Culture

Baahubali cinematographer Senthil Kumar reveals what it took to make the blockbuster

Mona Ramavat
Mona RamavatApr 25, 2017 | 12:02

Baahubali cinematographer Senthil Kumar reveals what it took to make the blockbuster

Will Baahubali - The Conclusion be visually richer than Baahubali?

Yes. The whole film is grander and more intense emotionally and visually. With the technology used evolving over the last two years, it is technically superior too. Our endeavour was to make part two surpass the richness and grandeur of the first part in every way.

What are some of your favourite sequences?


There were so many that turned out better than we conceived them originally. It is also quite fulfilling when viewers give feedback on particular scenes and those become special.

The shot associated with the legendary question of why Katappa killed Baahubali has turned iconic in itself and is both interesting and humbling.


In the opening sequence of part one, with Sivagami (played by Ramya Krishnan), some scenes were shot in the day but convincingly made to look like night shots.

The director, SS Rajamouli was impressed with the aesthetics and we ended up shooting some night scenes for part two in the day, which turned out rather well.

What were the challenges involved, especially with the outdoor scenes?

The biggest challenge with any kind of outdoor shooting is usually the weather. For instance, in part one, Avantika's (played by Tamannah Bhatia) introduction sequence, shot in Mahabaleshwar, was meant to have a bright, sunlit feel.

But contrary to the weather forecast, it was raining and cloudy. With nearly 1,000 people involved, it was impractical to shift the shoot to another day or location. After seeing the final output, we decided that this was the apt look for the sequence after all.


It turned out to be the case with a few scenes in part two as well.


The films were shot over 600 days and another challenge was to ensure the colour consistency in every shot. Besides matching the colours, we had to lend the visuals a certain mood and brightness and keep that consistent too.

What was your biggest learning with the Baahubali project?

As an artist and technician, there was a lot to learn and unlearn about the art of filmmaking since several things were being attempted for the first time. After Baahubali, I have come to love my craft even more.

Despite the scale and the number of people involved, Rajamouli would handle every situation with the approach of exploring solutions rather than focusing on the problems. That was truly inspiring for me, and yes, I learnt to have a lot of patience.

Which of the sequences took several takes to shoot?

Some of the scenes in the war sequences needed several takes - even 30 in a couple of instances - simply because we wanted them to turn out as impeccable as possible.

If we were shooting with a few thousand people, all of them had to get into the character. Even if one person was seen as simply standing or not in action, we had to shoot again.


Are you looking forward to watching Baahubali - The Conclusion at a movie theatre?

Absolutely. It is one thing to watch the film with the CG (computer graphics) and VFX teams for detecting flaws, but quite another to watch it as the audience.

The energy of a movie theatre audience is altogether different. I have seen it several times already, but can't wait to catch the first show on the first day.

When you are not shooting for a film, what do you like doing?

I spend time with my family or indulge in photography. I can't stop making pictures.

Last updated: April 25, 2017 | 12:54
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