April 12, 2016
Bajirao Mastani, the film, was a magnum opus and among the highest grossing films of 2015. The epic saga produced by Bhansali Productions and Eros International was much speculated before its release in December 2015.
Of course, Bhansali films are a visual extravaganza, and especially period films where the detailing of costume, sets, regional peculiarities and the art direction are impeccable, or arguably overdone. To leave no stone unturned in promoting his historic masterpiece, the producers of Bajirao Mastani also released a first-of-its-kind graphic web series titled ‘Blazing Bajirao.’
The movie itself spent 12 years in the development stage. While the production houses were narrowing in on the final cast of the movie, the research on Bajirao’s life gave ample juice for the writers. But a lot of it was cut short so that the feature film length doesn’t become too long.
Blazing Bajirao, the animation series, glimpses at the characters in Bajirao’s life. Alok Sharma of Small Town Boys and Saumin Patel tell us how Blazing Bajirao came to life.
Eros International, the motion picture company was coming up with an app – ErosNow, and while pitching some ideas to the then CCO Vaibhav Vishal; they came up with the idea for a webseries – Badass Bajirao (later renamed Blazing Bajirao). Although this series was meant to promote the film, Alok and Saumin along with their composer Dhirendra Mulkalwar crafted each episode of Blazing Bajirao as an independent short animated film.
“We went totally stylish and started playing with the size of the monuments, exaggerating their grandeur and then there was no looking back – our sequences became slicker and the compositions got crazy. Not only people at Eros but even Mr. Bhansali loved what we were doing,” says Alok. While Alok took care of the period based ideas, Saumin’s animation and Dhirendra’s composition gave it a contemporary touch.
Since Blazing Bajirao was a created for marketing purposes it also covered the aspects of Bajirao’s life that were excluded from the film. The film focusses on Bajirao Peshwa, his wife Kashi Bai and his second wife and the princess of Bundelkhand, Mastani, the series focusses on his mother, tales of friendship and the skills in warfare.
The web series is targeted towards a more younger audience, and also made to incite the interest of people without giving away the plot of the feature film. Apart from following N S Inaamdaar’s book — Rau, that inspired the film, Alok and Saumin had Bhansali’s writers helping them out when they got too close to the plot of the movie.
It was predecided that the webseries will be short, and each episode spans around three minutes. While walking on a tightrope with the deadlines, when asked about what would they like to add or edit from the original work, Alok said he wants to change the voice over from episode 1 that had words in Hinglish (Hindi and English) and a particular battle story with the Portuguese; while Saumin wanted to add more episodes describing the wit and war tales of the legendary warrior.
The series is a fresh take on animation and history; and the well-crafted production is confirmed by the fact that you get hooked. To watch all episodes of the web series you can visit ErosNow or Youtube.