The Bahubali mania entered our house almost a month ago when the trailers were released. We have seen many larger than life movies such as Avatar, Avengers and The lord of the rings, but surprisingly none of them had the effect that Bahubali had – probably because of the emotional connect to the regional story, and must also be owing to the marketing strategy that the makers deployed through various channels to increase movie’s reach. My six year old son had replaced his style icon from spider man to Bahubali, and his current favourite movie from ‘Kong: Skull Island’ to Bahubali, and understandably so.
Before we entered the theatre, I warned my son to empty his bladder that there will be no wee breaks, for I didn’t want to miss any single scene of this visual extravaganza, but partly also because I paid a ruthless $40 per ticket even for the child and I want bang for every buck. The titles began to roll showing a recap of memorable scenes from ‘Bahubali: the beginning’ etched through sculpted images with the backdrop of Keeravani’s mellifluous ‘Oka Pranam’ (Telugu version), followed by Amarendra Bahubali’s grand entrance against a raging elephant. This giant start has asserted my cause to pay attention to the happenings that has been rendered so well on screen.
I normally try to watch any movie as objectively as possible without any empathy on the story/content/characters, but my critic’s hat was instantly replaced by that of a fan as the proceedings unfolded. The movie was engaging right from the word go that it didn’t give me the scope to astutely observe the other aspects of movie such as cinematography, camera position, the supporting actors etc., which I am used to look for.
There is a lot to like in this film. Its scale is far bigger than part 1, and as the makers suggested, there is so much emotional drama that never bores us. It is a simple story of two cousins’, one upright withholding dharma from all corners, and the other deceitful whose innocent smile hides far more sinister mind along with ever scheming father to usurp the throne and still wanting more.
The screenplay was tight that there seemed to be no extra scene. Contradictory to the many reviews, the humour in first half is engaging that shows the other side of Kattappa. The Kunthala kingdom is enchanting with the CGI looking far better than its predecessor. The only complaint, if I have any, is that Devasana was a bit more aggressive than required for a bride-to-be during her confrontations with Sivagami. If only she played smart, she may have even saved Bahubali, or probably not. But then alas, even Bahubali can’t escape the saas-bahu fiasco (pun intended).
Now the infamous question “why Kattappa killed Bahubali?” was more of an expression that’s used to raise intrigue, as honestly, I was more interested in whodunit than ‘why’dunit. The sequences leading to Bahubali’s death is believable and poignant that there will more likely not be a dry eye watching it. The screenplay was interlaced by creativity at every possible level – palm trees used as catapults, bulls with flaming horns, multi arrow archery, telescope created through crystal viewers (reminded me of Shrek series). A discerning eye can find many faults in the making – for instance, the quiver never falls short of arrows despite delivering many in a fight. But I chose to ignore them in order to keep the fun afloat.
With the larger than life imagery clamouring for every attention, the almost 3 hour duration and three unwarranted pee breaks claimed by my son (thanks to the jumbo coke) didn’t appear long and I didn’t want the saga to finish.
Now as I sit back to reflect on the movie, I silently salute the might of the director that has left nothing to imagination, but instead converted every imagination to reality. In short, it has taken movie watching experience to a new level.
As much as we like to see it one more time, the mental effort to muster another $40 each for the entire family seem to be a true bahubalian task.