SS Rajamouli and Karan Johar's magnum opus is by far the most ambitious film project Indian cinema has ever seen.
From the scale of production and money invested to the magnitude of the film, Baahubali is India's most extravagant cinematic experience. But is it worth spending your money? Read on the review to find out...
What's it about
Baahubali- The Beginning is the first part of the two part series (the second part being Baahubali- The Conclusion) which features Prabhas as the wildling, Shivudu who is not only born into greatness but also destined to do great things like his father King Amarendra Baahubali (also played by Prabhas in the film.) Unaware of his own lineage yet pulled towards it by an inexplicable urge, Shivudu lives a son of Mother Nature lives like Tarzan, dangling from dangerously high hills and until one day he is drawn towards an Apsara-like figure. This figure is Shivudu's imagination of the warrior princess Avantika (Tamannaah). Following the apparition, Shivudu finds himself close to a group of rebels (and his love interest Avantika is also a part of them). This group speaks of crushing King Bhallala Deva of Mahishpati (Rana Daggubatti) and rescuing Devasana (Anushka Shetty), but Shivudu understands nothing of it. A series of events follow as he falls in love with Avantika who tells him that she is sworn to protect Devasana. Not knowing who Devasana is, Shivudu sets out to fulfil Avantika's duty because he loves her and unconsciously he moves towards fulfilling his own destiny as Baahubali because Devasana is none other than late King Amarendra Baahubali's wife, Shivudu's mother and also Bhallala Deva's sister-in-law. The evil king Bhallala keeps Devasana chained outside his palace like a dog and he mistreats and extorts his subjects as well. But all of that changes when Shivudu enters Mahishmati, turning the whole city's attention towards him. For now that is the basic plot you need to know. For more you'll have to make a quick trip to your nearest theatre!
What is hot
Well, first I have to talk about just how spectacular the visuals are. Bravo Karan Johar for wisely investing in this project! From the first frame itself, my eyes were glued to the screen as I could see why Baahubali is the most extravagant film of India. From covering wide expanses of waterfalls, forests and mountains to erecting a whole city with a mix of real locations and computer effects, Baahubali takes you on a visual retreat that will linger for days. SS Rajamouli's vision as a director is something I laud as he gives us a story of epic proportions, mythical in depiction and mythological in feel, encased in the modern day innovations of CGI and visual effects. In the acting department, Prabhas and Rana do a commendable job. Prabhas as the righteous guy and Rana as the hate-evoking villain fit their respective bills perfectly. Special mention to Ramya Krishnan for portraying Shivagami with inimitable restraint. Kudos to Rajamouli once again for giving us powerful female characters like Shivagami and Devasana who drive the plot ahead on their shoulders and aren't reduced to being meaningless supporting cast due to their gender. Baahubali was like Mahabharat meeting Game of Thrones for me. Rajamouli gives us characters like Shivudu, who is an endearing simpleton born to avenge his mother, and Bhallaladeva, the fallible evil king who is a product of being overshadowed by a sibling and then jilted in love, who are sculpted in the moulds of characters like Lord Rama or Duryodhana from our own mythology. I just want to thank Rajamouli for attempting to take the Indian cinema, which is currently stuck in a rut, in this direction and having the courage to make a film like Baahubali that doesn't pander to feeding the audiences dim-witted content. Baahubali, for all I know could also become India's first ever superhero movie as it's protagonist has all the qualities of one!
What is not
People are going to talk about the length of the movie being painful. Some sections of the film could have been trimmed, for instance the battle sequences could have been tighter. One ridiculous item number that comes in the second half of the movie is of no use to the story and simply slackens the plot. It is obvious that the makers put it there to add some hot quotient in an otherwise serious film. Shivudu and Avantika’s romance is severely underplayed and only restricted to a song leaving the viewers wishing for more because those two have crackling chemistry! Some of the effect of the film will be lost on the non-Telugu and non-Tamil speaking audiences because voice-overs don’t really have the same impact. It would be unfair to accuse Baahubali of not being at par with the West in terms of CGI and graphics but I just hope that it has opened a road to improvement.
What to do
You know how Harry Potter’s last movie came out in two parts and that sucked incredibly? Do you remember the feeling when you just sat there waiting for Sherlock’s new season to air? I felt exactly like that when right before the end credits the screen displayed “Baahubali- The Conclusion In 2016” If you love listening to elaborate stories about heroes and warriors and other such mythical marvels, don’t miss Baahubali. And for those who aren’t into content all that much, watch it anyway for it is India’s most expensive film ever!
3.5 out of 5
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