Baahubali – The Beginning Review

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S.S.Rajamouli’s Bahubali – The Beginning is about Sivudu (Prabhas Raju) a tribal boy who longes to know what lies above the waterfall that is situated near his forest. After repeated attempts, Sivudu manages to reach the top of the mountain where he discovers Avantika (Tamannaah Bhatia). While following her, Sivudu discovers that she is part of a group of rebels, who aim to revolt against Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati) and free Devasena (Anushka Shetty) from Bhallala’s clutches. Sivudu falls in love with Avantika and volunteers to free Devasena to win Avantika’s heart. But little by little, Sivudu begins to discover his destiny and finds the secret that was unknown to him for years, that he is the son of the great king Mahendra Baahubali.

When I was watching Baahubali, I was like ‘Oh, that’s 300!’,’Oh, I have seen that in Lord of the Rings’,’Oh, that’s a complete rip-off from Troy/Hobbit’. But it was after the movie ended that the fact hit me. My mind was riddled with so many thoughts about those high-budget Hollywood extravaganzas because this movie too was not less than them if epic proportions is the deciding factor.

Mesmerizing is every fraction of a second of this movie. First of all, the acting is superb. Ms.Bhatia gives me glimpses of Neytiri from Avatar and Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. Fortunately, she doesn’t just serve as an eye candy for the audiences and hero, she is at par when it comes to action and fuels all the anger required from a part as strong as hers. Ramya Krishnan is commanding as Sivagami. No one seems to match up with her when she is on-screen. It feels as if I was watching that opening sequence of Godfather where Marlon Brando just overpowers the acting prowess of the hugely talented cast around him. Prabhas himself as Baahubali provides all the charm and vigour and charisma that his ultra stylized hero requires. Rana Daggubati is, like always, awesome but still it always feels as if he has still not unleashed all the potential that he has. Sathyaraj as Kattappa serves the same role that Micheal Caine had in The Dark Knight, the wisest, bravest and loyal guy around, but he also has some hard-hitting action sequences in which he conducts himself brilliantly.

Baahubali is a great epic, no doubts to that. My first acquaintance with this flick happened at the annual Mumbai Comic Con where Rana Daggubati had come for the trailer launch of the movie. I watched some portions of it and experienced some of the epicness, but never expected it to be as awesome as this. Or maybe, my mind was clouded by the thumping of my heart due to the anticipation to meet Mark Gatiss. It was recently when I heard Dharma Productions had helmed the project and had invested a whooping sum 39 million dollars on the movie. It isn’t a big sum if you consider the amount put into Hollywood movies, but to invest such a sum into a movie which was not even in Hindi was commendable.

And every single penny invested in it shows. Sabu Cyril’s production design is epic in every respect. This fictional land is as vast and rich and intriguing as Westeros from Game Of Thrones. The opening credits too begin like Game Of Thrones, with a map of Mahishmathi Kingdom. I have watched too many Hollywood movies which has gained me a lot of exposure to great visual effects, C.G.I and unbelievable production design, but I assure you, Baahubali had some jaw-dropping moments in store for me too.

I rank the cinematography of the movie as the best I have seen this year along with Mad Max – Fury Road. That was a high-octane thrilling chase through wastelands, this is an epic war and story of betrayal set in a tone which reminds us of the epic Mahabharata. The lighting of the movie amazes me. The music of the movie is horrible. The songs were completely unnecessary in a flick like this and it also has an excruciating unrelated item song in the middle. But the lighting of that song just blew me away. There is a scene in which a dancer bends forward with a black and white background in the back. It gave such a poetic effect to that scene due to which that single shot stayed with me even after the movie ended.

The movie has a firm stronghold over its script. It wasn’t consumed by the high-budget it had gained access to. Some movies just squeeze in action sequences to set the cash registers ringing but Baahubali’s action sequences are well-choreographed and well shot. The action is superb. You will surely experience adrenaline pumping through your body during the high octane, thrilling and visually arresting action sequences of Baahubali. The movie doesn’t use that crappy shaky camera effect and it actually feels as if the hero himself is doing these stunts. It also doesn’t have an over-dependence on CGI, which worked very well in its favour.

The background score of the movie is exhilarating. The flamboyant portrayal of that war sequence wouldn’t have been complete without that heart-thumping, melancholic theme echoing through the cinema hall. The movie resorts to some cliches, and also begins with one, which shattered my hope about the movie at its inception itself but then restored it as well with its realistic depiction of this compelling epic. The visual effects supervisor also has some areas to work on, because that snow sequence felt as if I was watching The Grand Budapest Hotel but this India’s baby steps into this territory, so I guess that can be forgiven. Fortunately, this movie’s focus is one the characters. High-budget movies pays more attention to the action rather than the emotions but, there is a lot of character development in the movie and does make you give a damn about Sivudu. The movie may seem over-the-top at some points as well, but that’s where these characters live at, over-the-top. (literally)

Baahubali is a beautifully shot, visually arresting, flamboyant epic with high octane thrills and superbly shot action which is filled with intriguing characters who make this movie a must watch .

The ending and the twist of the movie may come as sort-of-abrupt to the viewers, because my mother too exclaimed ‘That’s the end?’ but let me assure you, it is perfect for setting the canvas for the final installment, because my mother later added that ‘I wanted more of it’. And that’s all I have to say about this.

Note : Please, do not Google anything related to this movie before you watch it. It will spoil your movie going experience.

Rating : 9.1 / 10

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