Bahubali Review

**** Spoiler Alert ****

It has been a strange feeling throughout the months of June and July with Bahubali taking a front seat on all the social media platforms via the TV/YouTube interviews, Twitter feeds and Facebook posts.

As a preparation to see the movie, I deliberately attempted to learn as much about it through the above said mediums. The preparations include discerning the movie trailer scene by scene and correlating with behind the scenes that were available for quite some time. One such analysis include the prediction of a scene if it had a real back ground or mere overlays of CGI on the green screen backgrounds. These preparations helped me to succinctly judge the mastery of visual effects that were claimed to be top notch, and create my own opinion before and after watching the movie without being carried away by the storm of reviews.

The movie released and garnered appreciations from all the corners. Truth be told that I derived great pleasure with all the great reviews and the box office success that it claimed, especially in North India.

After watching the movie, I remembered back in 2005 when I have first seen the two volumes of “Kill Bill” and the visionary behind it in the name of Quentin Tarantino that had a big story which better be told in two volumes for its sheer size. He redefined the concept of character build up and the storytelling using visuals. There were always such great storytellers in India but fell short of explaining them in a grand scale using larger than life characters and visuals.

This movie is the biggest motion picture in India – hands down and no questions asked, though this cannot be compared with the likes of Lord of Rings in terms of visual grandeur and scale, arguably owing to the budget and reach of those Hollywood flicks. While reflecting on the movie, I came across multiple reviews with aspects not liked by reviewers and viewers, but I didn’t find any fault with them for my own reasons listed below –

  1. The avalanche escape looked very artificial, but I don’t complain as it takes huge effort and amount to recreate them especially given its triviality within the story
  2. The romance in the first half looked far-fetched, but I don’t complain given that they are to be shown during the character build of protagonist in order for us to root for him throughout
  3. The makeup of Devasena is a bit convoluted, but I pass that one
  4. The item song is ill-placed, but I enjoyed the visuals and gave me a break before gearing up for war that would demand every attention non-stop for the next half hour. Also this has set up a platform to show other provinces existed apart from Mahismathi

Strangely, none of the reviews talked about the inconsistency in the characters and the the partial success in depicting the war strategy on the screen.

1. The great characters of Sivagami, Kattappa and Amarendar Bahubali failed notice the nurturing ego in Bhallaladeva and the potential grave consequences of it

2. The kingdom of Mahismathi and the architecture of it didn’t change even after 25 years (you may want to ignore this one)

3. The greatness of the kingdoms is majorly defined by the wars waged and the strategies laid by the emperors that look beyond glaring perils with the loss of kin, people and economy. While the strategy of attack (and the execution of it) takes the greatest priority, there are other aspects to it such as preparation of ammunition, food and water for soldiers that dehydrate during long lasting wars.The demand to examine these details may look far-fetched but the attention to these details define the epic nature of a movie.

Now given that the leads here chose to use Trishula Vyuha strategy, I was intrigued to see how that is put to use and reap the benefits. But was surprised to see that there is no clear portrayal of it. The hand gestures by the lead characters to convey the action plan to the army throughout the war seemed repetitive for a varied set of actions performed. The motivational speech by Bahubali seemed out of place amidst the anger and chaos rendered through the war.

Nevertheless, these observations are not the reflections of its shortcomings and on the contrary, it filled my heart with joy to see the fictional story, characters, kingdom that were only defined in the text books (and the likes of Amar Chitra katha) to be unfolded on a large screen. This very attempt is hugely commendable and the result is for all of us to see.