Sunday, July 12, 2015

Bahubali - The Epic

The most expected movie of the year - Bahubali,directed by S S Rajamouli, has finally hit the silver screens.I watched the Tamil version.Rajamouli gained popularity all over India after his fantasy flick Magadheera - starring Ram Charan.The dubbed version itself was well received among even non-Telugu speaking audience.Then he went on with Eega(Naan-E in Tamil and it was not a dubbing, but a bilingual),which again went on to become a super hit.Now he has made Bahubali as a bilingual again(some say its trilingual - Tamil,Telugu and Hindu,but not sure).What's Bahubali all about? I can answer in one word - Grandeur.Ofcourse Bahubali has more to offer.

Well in the name of review,I don't want to reveal too much about the story. Infact,more than story it is the narration and the visuals that keeps us engaged till the end.This is how the movie goes on - the tribal people see a hand carrying a kid in water,asking for help.The kid is brought up by Rohini and she names him Shivudu. The boy keeps asking whats there in the hills behind waterfalls and he attempts to climb that hill many times,but he fails.Needless to say,who that kid is - hero Prabhas. One fine day he sees an angel like girl calling singing and dancing at him,Somehow he climbs the hill and finds out a rebel group.Who are they?What's their goal?How Prabhas joins them and what he finds out? This is what Bahubali part-1 is all about.

Rajamouli's screenplay has more scope for 'mass' scenes than any suspense element.Performance-wise everyone has done their part very well.Tamanna as Avantika, has tried her best to act as a rebel.Her angry expressions and fights justify her casting.Other heroine Anushka as Devasenai, has less footage compared to Tamanna, but its a powerful character.Anushka's make-up and dialogues are well received by the masses. The very first scene when Anushka was shown,people started whistling.Glad to see a heroine having such a mass appeal,especially when her character is not an usual glamorous one.Sathyaraj rocked as Kattappa - the loyal slave.In one scene Sathyaraj fights with 'Kicha' Sudeep.It was choreographed very well.The energy shown by Sathyaraj in that scene makes it a treat to watch.Sudeep as Aslam,comes in just 1 scene.He may get more footage in second part it seems.Still I doubt it as he gets a special 'Thanks' in the title card.

Palvaalthevan(Rana) is a ruthless king.He kills his own people,tries to kill his cousin,doesn't mind people dying when his 100 feet gold statue is raised.Such is his lust for power.He looks good and has a good screenpresence.He had to work really hard to be accepted as a villain.His hard work paid off. Prabhas as Bahubali and Shiva fits to the character perfectly.He is not such a big mass hero, but his tall and strong physique is appealing.His physqiue makes some scenes like lifting the Shiva statue believable.There are mass scenes for Prabhas.His entry into the Magizhmadhi kingdom is the best sequence. Theater erupted to a thunderous response for the golden statue scene.There are more mass scenes like his walk after chopping off the head of a prince,lifting the Shiva Lingam,fighting in battle field etc.

Rajamouli has shown the quality called 'Rajabakthi'(people's devotion towards the king) very well.I have read this in novels as well,how a 'good' king will be treated by the people of his country.In one word - he will be treated like a God.We can see that from the expressions of people.It was so natural especially in the statue lifting scene.

CGI work was ok,not bad.It could have been bit better,but with an Indian budget,we have to compromise on this aspect.Flying scenes,the snow ride etc were bit amateur.But the battlefield scenes are the highlight of the movie.It was picturised so well that one could feel as if he is returning from real battlefield. Of course, one can argue that there are better Hollywood movies.Always there will be a better option,without comparison I can say the battle scene was marvelous.The funny language of 'Kalakeyas',the competition between Rana and Prabhas to outsmart each other in defeating the enemy to get crowned,Prabhas' inspirational speech and the grand sets and CGI work makes the battlefield scene a mind blowing experience. 

There will be comparisons between Magadheera and Bahubali.The question of whether Bahubali is better than Magadheera is unavoidable.Magadheera cannot be called as a period film as only the flashback portions involve all those wars and kingdoms.But Bahubali is completely a period film. Magadheera had a reference to Sagapthiya Vamsam, people of which will kill atleast 100 people before their death in wars to save the country, with the hero Ram Charan himself playing a warrior from Sagapthiya Vamsam. Bahubali has Kattappa,a strong and bold warrior,who is capable of saving the entire kingdom,but remains a slave to kings due to the promise of his ancestors.Magadheera had electrifying scenes like confrontation between Ram Charan and SriHari,RamCharan and DevGill etc. Bahubali doesn't have such confrontation scenes with villain directly.Probably I should say till now we didn't see such a scene as the movie is still not over.The director gives a clear lead to second part in the climax.Otherwise both the movies follows the 'mass template' faithfully. There are scenes of head chopping,item song etc in both the movies.Magadheera had better songs compared to Bahubali. But Maragatha Mani's BGM gives the much needed mass feel.

I have written about almost all the important characters except Ramya Krishnan.She deserves a special write up.16 years ago,her Neelampari character was a huge hit among masses.Her acting had such a reach that people teared off the screens in some theaters because she insulted Rajni(in movie). In these 16 years she has done many movies,but her Sivagami character in Bahubali creates the same impact.You get goosebumps when she feeds both the babies and says both are her sons(Rana and Prabhas), runs the kingdom in the absence of an able king,fights the traitors,brings up the children. The crowning scene was terrific.Ramya understood the character very well and has given what it actually needs.She stands up tall,with a proud smile on her face praises one prince and crowns the other.If I remember correctly only Ramya speaks punch dialogues,ex 'adhuve en kattalai,enadhu kattalaye Saasanam'.Splendid performance.If you ask me to watch it a second time,without any second thought I would go mainly because of Ramya Krishnan.She has lived as Raj Mata. I am sure Ramya will have a part in second part too.

We should ignore people who sit in home and say "my uncle's sister's friend's brother's daughter texted me 'Bahubali' is average,so its average".We have seen movies like this since black and white days.MGR's 'Adimaippen' had somewhat similar script.But that we can say for any movie. Bahubali is a tested and tried formula script with grand visuals and soulful performances.Royal salute to Rajamouli for making the characters speak proper Tamil.Credit goes to Karky(dialogue writer) as well. Its not only a visual treat but its epic. Go for it!!!


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