In the Hindi versions of Baahubali: The Beginning (2015) and Baahubali 2: The Conclusion (2017), Prabhas' voice was dubbed by actor Sharad Kelkar. However, with his upcoming outing, Saaho, the superstar is ready to speak the national language. The Sujeeth-directed multilingual has been shot in Telugu and Hindi, and will later be dubbed in Tamil and Malayalam by Prabhas.
The actor admits that he had to brush up on his Hindi-speaking skills before sharing screen space with a dominantly Bollywood cast — including Shraddha Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Neil Nitin Mukesh and Chunky Panday.
"I don't speak fluent Hindi, but I can read and write it. My second language in school, in Hyderabad, was Hindi. So I speak, what I refer to as, Hyderabadi Hindi," he says.
Determined to get the nuances of the language right, Prabhas hired language coach Kamal Ahmad.
"I had a special master on the set for me. We would keep rehearsing till my pronunciation was correct, and then shoot." Filming a multilingual meant that the makers would shoot every scene twice — while Prabhas would first deliver a shot in Telugu, he would then repeat the sequence mouthing Hindi dialogues.
Ahmad, on his part, points out that while the superstar's familiarity with the language made matters easier, the problem lay in perfecting the pronunciation.
"Prabhas is well-versed in Hindi. The problem was the accent. He worked hard to get the words and sentences in the correct diction, keeping the Hindi audience in mind. He would often be intrigued by some words and would ask me their exact meaning. One such word was 'buniyaad'." The film's leading lady too had an assistant director helping her with the Telugu lines.