Living up to hype….and delivering!

58399951The weight of expectations can be quite a strain, especially when you have 2 years to go a bit overboard. The hype around Baahubali: The Conclusion was immense- how on earth was SS Rajamouli going to meet expectations, how could stun the viewers with even more eye watering visuals and most importantly how would he keep the film from buckling under it’s own success?

Fortunately for most part, SSR kept his equanimity and did not let all the hoopla around sway him. In all the interviews in the last 2 years, he has consistently said that the 2nd movie was not a sequel but the rest of the story- something already written and therefore did not need any more treatment.

The 1st movie was a milestone for Indian cinema- his ability to tell a coherent story and use special effects to drive the plot rather than something to add a “stun” value. Read my review here and like millions of others I was waiting for the full story quite impatiently.

It is a testament to SSR’s story telling that the interest was sustained by so many for such a long time.

The “good” bit of Baahubali- The conclusion

  • The story is political intrigue and therefore believable, the rightful heir and people’s choice is something that most of us can relate to.
  • The screenplay is far less jumpy, moving quite seamlessly and logically- the only point it falters is when for no apparent reason, the Pindari’s attack Kundala- but I guess there needed to be a reason for Baahubali to show his true colors.
  • The battle sequences were equally good, if not better than the last time- though the weaponery was not as fearsome, the strategizing was better.
  • The best thing about part 2 was the fabulous female characters. Ramya Krishnan as Sivakami was a sight to behold, but Anushka’s Devasena was just magnificent. Her  fighting skills and the disdain for being treated like a “girl” and best of all her disdain for an alliance that she perceived as being disrespectful. But my admiration for the writer went up a notch when she clearly said that while she follow the man she loved into battle, she would not ever be his prisoner or shed her dignity for him- this is such an important lesson for all women that loving a man, does not ever mean you lose your self worth! Her handling of Sivakami in the court and the total disgust with her being accused and tried was superlatively written.
  • Nasser was so good at being venal and scheming that I almost forgot his fantastic performances in other movies!
  • Taking good actors in supporting roles pays off big time, Sathyaraj as Kattappa was as spectacular.
  • Prabhas’s 5 year commitment to the 2 Baahubali movies is evident. Some of the sequences just flow seamlessly & his chemistry with Kattappa’s character is beautifully done. The physicality of the role, which is phenomenal in this iteration has been done so well that you don’t find one false note. And the eye watering postcard type opportunities he gives in the film are a good-if overdone tribute to his efforts!
  • The most amazing sequence in this film is the archery sequence with Devasena & Baahubali- I cannot think of another film sequence where such intense passion has been created in a fight scene- full marks to Peter Hein for this scene!bahubali-2-baahubali-2-baahubali-2-poster-prabhas-anushka-shetty-baahubali-conclusion
  • I particularly liked Prabhas’s solving of the villagers problems with engineering, it drove the message that education and technology can be used to make people’s life easier!
  • Rana Duggabatti looks way more regal that Prabhas and one can almost feel sad that he is the villain- but his fight sequences are just a delight to watch.

The bits that did not work:

  • To start with, the opening song between Sivakami & Baahubali….slightly Oedipal!
  • The VFX and CGI in places were just  too overpowering, in some sequences it was just too evident. Particularly the war sequence with the waterfall and the final war sequences with the flinging palm trees. SSR went just a bit overboard I think!
  • The story lost a bit in the whole spectacle, especially the degeneration of BhallalaDeva, from being jealous of his cousin, to killing his mother- the disintegration of self was not cohesive and neither was his obsession of Devasena. SSR showed the hatred in Pingaladevan far better than he did for Rana.
  • The harnessing of the population for the final battle was also a bit rushed – in fact most of the 2nd movie was about the backstory and final battle between Rana & Prabhas was not set up properly
  • And most disappointingly, the reason for #WKKB is not massive…but rather staring in the face!
  • Sivakami’s loss of trust for Baahubali is fairly trivial.
  • And even SSR could not resist dragging the movie just a bit more, some sharper editing would have been welcome, focusing more on the characters than on the spanning shots of the very expensive sets!

The ambivalent bits….not sure about Devasena & Prabhas color coordinating their outfits…cute but not sure!

But in spite of these shortcomings, Baahubali 2, keeps you rooted- for the whole 2hrs 45 mins! The sheer passion of the main actors, the work of the crew shows in every frame and SSR’s undisputed ability in holding on to the main story keeps you focussed. In this iteration, the romance does not distract and neither are there any superfluous characters.
Prabhas is in almost every single frame and you still don’t feel he overpowers the others- which is a feat in itself, but the credit goes to the director and writer for giving the other players scope in their parts.

SSR kept the story simple, delivered on the special effects and the main characters- and the result is a great entertainer! A $28 well spent!!

Rating 4/5