Bāhubali

Bahubali

Image courtesy – Google image search

Once in a long while there comes a movie that will take your breath away. That will have you tied up, heart and soul, in the narrative so much that when it ends and the lights come on, there’s a moment of complete disorientation and you wonder where the heck you are. You keep playing the scenes over and over again in your head and it feels real, every single time. To me, Bāhubali was THAT kind of a movie.

Let’s get some things out first which might have a bearing on my experience –
(a) I set foot in a movie theater yesterday after almost 3 years. [Yes, when a child happens, some other things don’t happen.]

(b) I have a thing for Prabhas and Rana [yep, both].

And (c) I’m a sucker for period films with all the silks and crowns and royalty and macho looking kings and princes. [I’m a living stereotype, eh?]

Now, I went for the movie with moderate expectations – my husband had seen it already and he wasn’t all amazed, so I knew better than to expect the sky and heavens above. But I loved it! Yes, there were some inconsistencies and imperfections. Yes, there are a lot of scenes that require turning off the logic and reason button in your brain. But hey, that’s what entertainment is to me. For the umpteenth time (on this blog), I don’t like to go watch a movie only to see reality there – I have enough of it in my real life. If we go with that attitude, this movie is such a treat.

On to the details (oh so many details!)

[SPOILER ALERT – I’ve laid bare almost all the good scenes and the general story line. Consider yourself warned of spoilers.]

Cast: Loved Rana. Loved him in ‘Leader’, but after the eye-candy phase ended, I realized he can’t really act. Didn’t watch any of his other movies after that, but much drooling happened over his photos. Prabhas was good too, but he looked a tad old. Maybe all that body building took a toll, who knows. Oh oh, that scene with lifting the Shivalingam? Oh. My. God. I’ll go watch the movie again just for that scene, yo. Anushka didn’t have a lot of screen time in Part 1 (apart from the initial shock-value scene when we first see her face) and I’m assuming they’ve kept her for Part 2. Tamannah – hmm, this one is tricky. She did a good job, but I felt she was the wrong choice for a warrior woman. Her ‘manly’ warrior walks, dialogues and expressions didn’t seem natural and in some places, I kind of felt she was overacting. Maybe a Nithya Menon or Anushka Shetty (the ‘Arundhati’ type role) would’ve been apt. Nasser, Ramya Krishna – class acts, both. Satyaraj – good to see him on screen after a while! He was every bit the Kattappa character and was a joy to watch. Have I got them all? Ok good.

Music: Loved the BGM – it’s the goosebumps inducing kind, especially the part where they show the Mayushmati city/fortress for the first time. The songs themselves were not so memorable. I can’t recollect a single tune or word even from the songs now. Maybe if I hear them again a couple of times? I’ll try. What I felt was the music in the songs ended up being contemporary, rather than match the period in which the movie is set – the instruments and the digital undertones didn’t sit well with the overall theme.

Art/Special effects/Cinematography: Win. Win. Win. You have to see it to believe it. Here’s what I tell everyone to please watch this in a theatre – not on a laptop, not on a tab and not on a TV. In a theatre. Please. You can thank me later.

Costumes: I might have been actually drooling (imagine a gaping mouth and a stunned expression on the face) over the silk and handloom ensembles. All those ikats and pochampallis and raw silks – I died and went to costume heaven. There’s this item song with 3 item girls – oh their ikat harem pants! Beautiful! It’s all I saw (stop sniggering, yo). And Prabhas’ waist coat type thingie too. Much deep sighing happened. Also, I hate my wardrobe (rather, what passes for one these days).

That said, there were some inconsistencies with the costume in the first half – when Prabhas scales the mountain, he reaches a place that’s snow covered. But the people living there are wearing cotton! Fail. Rajamouli could’ve used some leather for equally good effect (the colors were anyway browns and reds). Small thing, yes, but this kind of attention to detail is what makes a movie perfect.

Story: Let’s face it – it’s a formula film. Son separated from mother at birth, grows up as commoner and then comes back to save mommy and take the throne. We saw MGR do it in Adimai Penn, a million years ago. But I’m willing to ignore that fact because of the way it’s taken. And the reasons above.

Direction: Fairly good, in short. Like I said earlier, there are some little slips here and there that could’ve been done better. There’s an overall lack of attention to detail, I felt. And we really could’ve done without that ‘romantic’ bit where Prabhas is giving Tamanna an impromptu makeover – there are a lot of ways to show a man wooing a woman and this was a bit creepy, with the disrobing, tearing, etc. And at the end of the song she’s instantly in love with him? Yeah. But hey, suspension of disbelief. So, ok.

I enjoyed the movie more than I expected to. I’m not a big fan of war scenes, so I found the last 20 mins a bit of a bore – there’s only so much killing you can see in a movie, no? [I didn’t enjoy the Whitewalker-Crows battle in GoT Season 5 either!] And the big suspense in the last scene – yeah, I saw that last week in some idiot’s FB or Whatsapp update (if I remember who you are, you better run and hide in a cave across the seven seas!), so slightly bummed.

So, all said and done, I’d love to watch it a second time! 🙂 Those 3 hours inside, I was not on this Earth. That’s the kind of entertainment I love.

Now waiting for Part 2 in 2016. Not very happy, but what choice do we have eh? Add this to the ever-growing list of sequels (books and movies, both) that I’m forever waiting for.

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