Everybody wants to know why Kattappa killed Baahubali.
So Baahubali mania has gripped Telangana and Andhra Pradesh with just a few hours left for the release of the much-awaited sequel -- Bahubali 2: The Conclusion. The multi-lingual film in Telugu, Tamil and Hindi is being released in 9,000 screens across the world, including 6,500 screens in India.
Online ticket bookings in big theatres and multiplexes for the next one week have already been blocked and frenzied crowds are running from one theatre to another to stand in long queues to buys seats in advance offline.
Asian Cinema, the main distributors of the film, approached the Andhra Pradesh and Telangana governments seeking special permission to screen additional shows of the film to cash in on the hype for Baahubali 2 across the country. The Andhra government has given permission for 6 shows a day and the Telangana government has given its nod for 5 shows.
“The screening would start at 7am and go on until midnight in Andhra Pradesh. The total duration of the film is approximately 3 hours, including interval period. It means there would be a screening of the film in theatres for 18 hours a day,” film analyst A Venkat Reddy said.
“Assuming that there would be at least 15 minutes gap between any 2 shows, the theatres will run for almost 20 hours a day. Imagine the plight of theatre workers, parking employees and traffic managers on roads,” he added.
Some theatres have also announced special shows for Baahubali 2 from as early as 4 am. But officials said they are not going allow it.
“We are not going to permit any such shows. They have to strictly follow the 5-show rule and action would be taken if any theatre violates this,” Telangana minister for cinematography Talasani Srinivasa Yadav said.
The distributors have also sought permission from the 2 state governments to increase the ticket prices, saying that Baahubali 2 is a high budget film. They approached the court after the governments did not concede to their demand and managed to get a special permission.
The theatres increased the ticket prices by at least 30% -- Rs 70 ticket will now cost Rs 100, Rs 90 ticket at Rs 150 and Rs 200 ticket at Rs 300 in several movie halls.
“Adding to this, some big multiplexes in the city have also introduced combo prices - they are collecting snacks and cold drink prices also along with the ticket. This is atrocious,” Anirudh, a film buff, complained.
“There has also been a large scale black-marketing of Baahubali 2 tickets, ranging from Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 per ticket for the first-day show,” he alleged.
Commercial tax commissioner V Anil Kumar said he has received several such complaints of artificial hike in ticket prices in several theatres.
“This is against the Telangana Entertainment Tax Rules, 1939. All theatre owners should collect the ticket fares strictly as per the rules and remit the tax to the government,” he said adding people can lodge their complaints with the toll-free number 18004253787.
Warangal (urban) collector Amrapali stumbled upon an innovative idea of making the civic staff work with more vigour to beautify the city for the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi party’s plenary in the city on Thursday.
She booked as many as 350 tickets of Baahubali 2 in the local Asian Mall and gifted them as a token of appreciation to the municipal workers who worked hard ahead of the plenary.
And in some places, businesses have used Bahubali 2 tickets to lure more customers.
In Duggirala town in Guntur, a local Hindustan Petroleum gas dealer offered the film’s ticket free of cost to anyone who bought a new gas connection. And the response was tremendous with over 200 bookings in the last 24 hours.