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Kalki 2898 AD: Part 2 – The Prophecy Unfolds

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“Kalki 2898 AD” merges Indian mythology with futuristic sci-fi, featuring Prabhas as Bhairava, detailing a dystopian world.

Amitabh Bachchan plays Ashwatthama, an immortal from the Mahabharata era, while Deepika Padukone portrays Sumathi, pregnant with Kalki, Vishnu’s avatar. Kamal Haasan plays Supreme Yaskin, the antagonist.

The film’s blend of mythological themes and high-tech settings, with epic battles across physical and spiritual realms, has amazed global audiences, grossing over $84 million worldwide despite its $72 million budget, making it one of India’s most expensive films.

The concept for “Kalki 2898 AD” started developing after Nag Ashwin’s biopic “Mahanati” (2018), which explored the life of Indian actor Savitri from the 1950s and 60s.

Ashwin had long been intrigued by merging mythological elements with sci-fi, inspired by old Telugu films depicting “Mahabharata” battles and modern epics like “Star Wars” and “X-Men.”

This fascination drove him to create a futuristic dystopian world intertwined with ancient Indian mythology in his latest film.

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Kalki 2898 AD fetauring Amitabh Bachchan, Deepika Padukone, and Prabhas 

“In those black-and-white films, they’d show these arrows being exchanged in ‘Mahabharata’ battles,” Ashwin recalls of classic Telugu cinema. “One arrow would become fire, the other would become water, one would become a snake and the other would become an eagle. I always found that really cool.”

Produced by C. Aswani Dutt, Swapna Dutt and Priyanka Dutt for 50-year-old Indian banner Vyjayanthi Movies, bringing Ashwin’s expansive vision to life proved complex.

“To be honest, for all of us, we didn’t really know what we were trying to achieve when we started off,” Ashwin says.

“Only when we got into it and started trying to be very authentic in design and achieve these kinds of action sequences did we realize the scale and complexity of this world.”

The production of “Kalki 2898 AD” extensively utilized VFX studios both in India and internationally. Particularly noteworthy was the Kurukshetra battle sequence, a centerpiece inspired by the epic “Mahabharata.”

This sequence required significant time and effort due to its scale and complexity, blending traditional mythological elements with futuristic visuals through advanced visual effects.

 “We really started out with the idea that we should try to do everything in India,” Ashwin says. “But finally, we ended up using two or three foreign companies as well.”

Nag Ashwin faced the challenge of maintaining perspective and coherence throughout the four-year production of “Kalki 2898 AD.”

As the director and writer, he emphasized the importance of staying true to the vision he conceived in 2020 while filming in 2023 and 2024.

One of the highlights for him was directing the confrontation scenes between Amitabh Bachchan and Prabhas, describing it as surreal and immensely satisfying, especially given their status as iconic action heroes across different generations.

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Prabhas in Kalki 2898 AD

In the film, Prabhas’ character Bhairava is revealed to be a reincarnation of Karna from the “Mahabharata,” a warrior known for his tragic fate in the epic.

Ashwin chose to explore Karna’s story further, feeling that such a powerful warrior deserved redemption and closure, adding depth to Bhairava’s character arc in the futuristic setting of the film.

“Both Ashwatthama and Karna, the whole ‘Mahabharata’ is not really about good and bad as such, it’s just about people in circumstances where they have to choose,” he adds.

“These guys chose to be on the wrong side, so maybe the redemption is to fight on the other side in this yuga [age].”

“Kalki 2898 AD” concludes with hints of a broader cinematic universe, but Nag Ashwin clarified that the immediate focus is on Part 2.

Despite already shooting 25 to 30 days, significant action sequences remain, requiring almost a fresh start akin to a new production phase.

This approach underscores the ambitious scale and storytelling depth planned for the sequel, promising further expansion and exploration within the film’s futuristic mythological universe.

Regarding the sequel’s plot, Ashwin teases,

“Every loose end or thread that we left hanging has to be wrapped up. Obviously, the most important thing will be the face-off between these three, which will be between Yaskin who can now wield the Gandiva, which is thought to be the most powerful weapon, versus Karna and Ashwatthama, who are the most fearsome warriors.”

Nag Ashwin is thrilled with the reception of “Kalki 2898 AD” as it continues to perform well. He acknowledges the film’s strong opening due to its star cast and the positive reception of its trailer.

However, Ashwin also had some apprehensions, particularly because a sci-fi film is not typical in Indian cinema and differs from what audiences, especially Prabhas fans, might expect from a commercial film.

Despite this, the film’s success indicates a growing acceptance and interest in blending futuristic themes with Indian mythology on the big screen.

He adds,

“We’re extremely happy and grateful that people have accepted the film for what it is fully and have been watching it multiple times. That’s really the barometer of whether a movie is successful.”

Nag Ashwin has confirmed that discussions are ongoing for an international expansion of “Kalki 2898 AD.” The film is set to release in Japan in the second half of this year, indicating a strategic move to reach global audiences beyond India.

However, a release date for China has not been finalized yet, suggesting further plans for international distribution are in progress to capitalize on the film’s appeal and thematic elements.

“Japan has been a proven market for the previous films of Prabhas,” he says. “I think the Japanese fans would fully love this kind of film.”

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