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Nag Ashwin on Kalki 2898 AD sequel: Every loose end or thread that we left hanging has to be wrapped up

Kalki 2898 AD, combining myth and futurism, is a sci-fi epic taking the world by storm.

Nag Ashwin on Kalki 2898 AD sequel: Every loose end or thread that we left hanging has to be wrapped up
Kalki 2898 AD update on sequel

Last Updated: 09.49 AM, Jul 05, 2024


After premiering at No. 3 worldwide, Nag Ashwin's ambitious science fiction film Kalki 2898 AD has become a hit at the box office, grossing over $84 million worldwide. An estimated $72 million went into making it, making it one of the most costly Indian films of all time.

Kalki 2898 AD Plot and characters

An enigmatic warrior named Bhairava (Prabhas) is the protagonist of Kalki 2898 AD, a dystopian future set piece. As he travels through a planet in ruins due to war and ecological collapse, he becomes entangled in a long-forgotten prophecy. Amitabh Bachchan portrays Ashwatthama, an immortal character from the Indian mythological epic Mahabharata, while Deepika Padukone portrays Sumathi, a character pregnant with Vishnu's avatar, Kalki. Kamal Haasan portrays the antagonist, Supreme Yaskin. Epic wars that transcend the material and immaterial worlds culminate in this film's fusion of futuristic technology with aspects of Indian mythology.


The inspiration for Kalki 2898 AD started to form following Ashwin's 2018 biopic of Savitri from the 1950s and 1960s, Mahanati, but he claims that the idea of combining mythical and science fiction elements had been boiling for a long time. In an interview with Variety, Ashwin discussed his lifelong dream of creating a hybrid of the Mahabharata war scenes from classic black-and-white Telugu cinema with the fantastical universes of Star Wars and X-Men.

Ashwin claims that classic Telugu cinema depicted the trading of arrows in Mahabharata battles. Depending on your wishes, one arrow could transform into fire, the other into water, a serpent, or an eagle. To me, that has always been incredibly cool.

Production challenges and vision realisation

The Dutt sisters—Priyanka, C. Aswani, and Swapna—worked tirelessly to bring Ashwin's grand vision to fruition for their 50-year-old Indian label, Vyjayanthi Movies. In the beginning, none of us had a clear idea of what we were aiming for, admits Ashwin. The magnitude and intricacy of this world became apparent only when they dove headfirst into the project, endeavoured to be extremely realistic in their design, and pulled off these types of action sequences.

The production utilised visual effects studios from all over the world, including those in India. The Mahabharata's Kurukshetra war scene was especially labour-intensive. It was originally their intention to do everything in India, Ashwin explains. However, in the end, they ended up using two or three additional foreign companies.

Keeping his focus throughout the four years of production was the hardest thing for Ashwin. He explains that the challenge was to maintain perspective and provide constructive feedback on a 2020 script while filming was taking place in 2023 or 2024. A person must always keep in mind their initial perspective.

Epic battles and action sequences

The clash between Prabhas and Amitabh Bachchan was a highlight for the director. He gushes over the battle between the original action hero, Mr. Bachchan, and the current action star, Prabhas. The fact that these action sequences are likely the most memorable parts of the film for the majority of viewers is a wonderful reward for the incredibly surreal experience of creating them.

In the epic Mahabharata, Karna faces hopeless conditions; the film's Bhairava, played by Prabhas, is revealed to be a reincarnation of Karna. According to Ashwin, Karna always felt unfinished when asked to explain his decision. For a fighter of this calibre, redemption was necessary; he needed the concluding chapter.

He goes on to say that the entire Mahabharata is not really about virtue and evil as such; it's just about people in situations where they have to make a choice. This stands true for both Ashwatthama and Karna. Maybe the only way for these men to find redemption in this yuga [age] is to fight on the opposite side, since they knowingly chose to be on the wrong side.

The ending of Kalki 2898 AD hinted at a potential expanded cinematic universe, but Ashwin made it clear that the current emphasis is on Part 2. A lot of action is still remaining, although we shot approximately 25 or 30 days ago. He said that it's going to start as a whole new production.

Future plans and sequels

Ashwin teases the sequel's plot, promising to wrap up every loose end or thread they left hanging. The most crucial part will definitely be the showdown between these three. Yaskin, who has recently mastered the Gandiva—widely considered to be the ultimate weapon—will go up against the most terrifying fighters, Karna and Ashwatthama.

The animated four-part miniseries B&B: Bujji and Bhairava is finishing up with two more episodes, taking place two years before the events of Kalki 2898 AD. These episodes will be available on Prime Video.

Ashwin couldn't be happier with the response from the audience, as Kalki 2898 AD keeps running well. With its A-list cast and positive trailer reception, he predicts that the film will have a strong opening weekend. Still, some nervousness was present; after all, Indians aren't exactly accustomed to seeing science fiction films, so naturally, they have questions whenever they see one. As far as Prabhas fans are concerned, it is not their average commercial film.

He continues, expressing immense happiness and gratitude that people have accepted the film for what it is and have watched it multiple times. That is the true measure of a film's success.

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