The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Movie Review : Bahubali - The Beginning... A demi-epic (thankfully not an epidemic)...



To me, these were the three characters that defined Bahubali - The Beginning.


Remember reading Gulliver's Travels? Bahubali's grandeur makes you feel like Gulliver in Brobdingnag. First of its kind from the contemporary Tollywood stable, it definitely etched its name in the annals of Indian Cinema. Kudos to the hero, SS Rajamouli and his sidekicks Shobhu & Prasad for having placed enormous (250 Cr. is enormous, isn't it??) trust in the audience, who unlike them did not disappoint even by an inch. 

Cast

A handsome hulk who got cloned from his dad and adorned by his (not so) glamorous Aphrodite, a supposedly ex-Cleopatra imprisoned by another hulk, a woman of justice who apparently to the displeasure of her handicapped husband likes her foster son to her own and a loyal servant to the throne of Maahishmati sum up the key characters in the tale.

The most underrated character in all the promos, Kattappa, is the best character in the movie and Sathyaraj lived the role to perfection. Another well crafted character was Sivagami, played by Ramya Krishna who exuded an aura that commands a 'take a bow' from feminists and others alike. Anushka (Devasena) was the surprise package of the movie. She was awesome in the de-glam role of an old mother and a de-throned empress. Prabhas, the handsome hulk, was apt as Sivudu aka Mahendra Bahubali and drew whistles from the crowd on quite a few occasions. However, as Amarendra Bahubali, his voice was no match his physique. Rana dominated the screen as Bhallala Deva. Tamanna (Avantika) fit the bill as an avenger. All others were adequate. Kiccha Sudeep did a cameo as Aslam Khan.

Plot 

A standard template of a Telugu movie married VFX brilliance under a super(vision)ary to result in this masterpiece called Bahubali. I will not play a spoilsport here. Watch it out on the big screen to know the story for yourself. 

Analysis

Exquisitely stunning visuals form a major part of the film. The former half reminds you of Avatar and the latter half of LOTR, though it really didn't matter as Rajamouli, to me, represented more of a Visionary and a 'Total Paisa Vasool cinematic experience' than 'originality'.

Breathtaking visuals of the waterfalls awe you in the very beginning. The scene where Sivudu lifts the Shiva Lingam gives goosebumps with the right mix of content, cinematography and RR. The war scenes towards the end are a feast to the eyes. Some very simple, but profound ideas of the war equipment have been very well depicted. No wonder they have come out well, thanks to the visionary genius and the God of detail in Rajamouli. I have seen almost every action packed movie grossly defy the laws of physics. Bahubali too does it, though very meagerly, but in such style that you hardly seem to notice it. 

Cinematography by KK Senthil Kumar is top notch. Art work by Sabu Cyril was brilliant. The magnanimity of the sets of Maahishmati formed the best subject for the lens. The well conceptualized war machinery, weapons and the formations have been enhanced to the next level by the cinematographer's eye and the Director's vision. Re-recording by Keeravani was apt and enhanced the movie by another notch. 

Screenplay is straight and simple with no major twists and interlaces, except for the flashback episode in the second half. The climax has also been well thought of, to give a sensible and a suspense-filled sneak-peek to the sequel.

On the flip side, lack of novelty in the story and not enough depth in the characterization dispel the emotional content of the movie despite plenty of 'emotional' scenes. None of the scenes except for the one in which Kattappa recognizes Bahubali touch your heart. The most critical scene in the movie amidst the war wherein Prabhas addresses his fleeing forces was also very shallow. A predictable screenplay adds to it by not infusing any element of suspense in the movie.
Keeravani's music was totally sub-standard; it survived, thanks to the captivating visuals and war scenes. 'Mamatala Thalli' was positioned well and resonated sentiment. 'Dheevara' was also shot very well, though the song seemed a little abrupt. A typical 'K Raghavendra Rao'ish song in the first half was totally out of place except for giving an opportunity to Tamanna to bare her back and relieve her midriff of the burden of the metal which she carried otherwise, throughout the movie. The item song in the latter half was probably placed to allow Rajamouli a cameo. This could have been avoided giving more screen space for the war scenes, thereby enhancing the overall experience. 

The Bottomline 

Best ever movie from the Indian stable rendered just short of an EPIC, thanks to the lackluster music and a soul-less story. Do watch the movie, for, it makes you proud. 

My Rating : 3.5 / 5.  


P.S.

This movie being the first part of the two-part series, you come out with some sense of incompleteness. That should however not allow anyone to rate low, this masterpiece. My rating has been normalized considering the same factor. Else, in isolation, I'd have rated it 3 / 5

The grand openings that the film had garnered over the very first weekend, are a testimony to its acceptance by the masses. 

Bloopers

Who said Bahubali didn't have rib-tickling moments? Prabhas' theatric Shiva Tandavam at the waterfall, Nasser's 'Shakuni-like' dialogues and Adivi Sesh's expressions and body language in the Bull Fight scene offer you comic relief. Ramya Krishna and team being able to watch the happenings on the other end of the battlefield as if they were watching their own image in a mirror seemed incomprehensible to me. The VFX which was otherwise great, appeared surreal in the Maahishmati set, which looked like a bunch of cardboard boxes put together. Otherwise, the movie was flawless.

After all, if masterpieces like LOTR & Avatar have bloopers, why not Bahubali? 

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About Uday Sankar Yerramilli