Telugu blockbuster Bahubali
, hailed by critics and audiences alike for its superlative visuals, won the National Award for Best Film for 2015.
The lavish banchmark-setting film, made reportedly at a cost of Rs. 120 crores (the normal successful Telugu film grosses Rs. 50-60 crores), is widely regarded as featuring the best work on visual effects yet in an Indian film.
The film is set in the fictional land of Mahismathi, and is said to be inspired by stories its director S S Rajamouli read in Amar Chitra Katha comics as a child. It features the tale of two warring brothers battling for a kingdom, and is being made in two parts. The first part was released last year, and the second, currently being shot, is scheduled to release in the summer of 2017.
The film bestowed demigod status upon its director Rajamouli, already regarded the most successful film director ever of India - he's had no box-office failures in a nearly 15-year-old career where he made almost 10 films, and several of his films have been blockbusters. Bahubali has been the crowning glory, making about Rs. 600 crores at the box-office (the film was released across the world, in multiple languages). It is currently reportedly the third highest grosser of all time in India, behind PK
starring Aamir Khan and Bajrangi Bhaijaan
starring Salman Khan. That is remarkable considering it's a regional language film.
The film stands out as much for its visual effects as for the fact that it is almost entirely a director's oeuvre. The cast - the film doesn't really star any Telugu film A-Listers or powerhouse performers though hero Prabhas is considered a crowd-puller - is mostly part of the narrative rather than the primary fare, which is very unusual for a big budget Telugu film.
Rajamouli surprisingly did not win the Best Director award - that honour went to Sanjay Leela Bhansali for his own magnum opus Bajirao Mastani
. Amitabh Bachchan for Piku
and Kangana Ranaut for Tanu Weds Manu Returns
won the National Awards for Best Actor and Best Actress respectively.
Another Telugu film, Kanche
, won the Best Telugu Film award. It is not necessary that such an award is handed out every year - the National Awards jury may choose not to give out the award if it does not find any film in that year matching the standards, and multiple times in the past the award was not handed out.
Kanche is a period film set in World War 2, was directed by Radha Krishna Jagarlamudi, and stars Varun Tej.