Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubatti, Ramya Krishnan, Tamanna Bhatia, Anushka Shetty, Nassar, Satyaraj, Subbaraja
Director: S S Rajamouli
A mammoth budget movie, this S S Rajamouli conceptualized and directed Indian magnum opus with story by V. Vijayendra Prasad and promoted by Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions, beats its own drum and hollers with pugnacious velocity in its attempts to score a connect with the audience already sold on the mystery behind the death of its protagonist Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas) – as depicted in the prequel.
There’s beauty in the conceptualization, audacity in the creatives and regality in Sabu Cyril’s art direction here. The production standards are much higher than we’ve seen (even better than the prequel) and eclipses even the best of Bollywood extravaganzas, in scale and grandeur.
The special effects are also marginally better than that of the prequel. Of course flights of fancy are part and parcel of mainstream Indian cinema and it’s no different here –so you shouldn’t be surprised at Amarendra Baahubali flying in the air while aiming his bow and multiple arrow heads at his enemies, literally walking tall on a rogue elephant’s trunk, single handedly managing to pull down a massive drawbridge, making slingshots out of tall palms, wrecking a sluice gate that might take several thousand men to open up, pulling down a gigantic statue and so many other countless and incredible acts of valour that deem him a God rather than a human. But doubts do creep in.
If he is a celestial being, then why does he need to get his hands bloodied? Logic and consistency are conspicuous by their absence here. Rajamouli whimsies with fantasy and grandeur in order to keep the audience entranced. And the story’s many twists and turns keeps the gilt-edged narrative eventful and happening.
Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) first offers the throne to her stepson Amarendra and then takes the offer back at the behest of her conniving son Bhalla (Rana Daggubatti). She also orders Baahubali’s death, falling prey to conspiracy theories concocted by her husband Bijjaladeva (Nassar) and son.
Borrowing plot-twists from the Mahabharata and Ramayana, Rajamouli brandishes healthy doses of reverence, intrigue and valorific repugnance in order to give ‘good’ a bigger boost over ‘evil’. Of course, the evil in the form of power hungry Bhalladeva(Rana) and his crippled father (Nassar), is more than up to the task. Kuttapa (Satyaraj) is the one who gets all knotted up in his efforts to stay loyal to the rulers of the great Mahishmati kingdom.
Conflict between two step-brothers brought on by greed for power, is the crux of the story here. And given the venerated projection of Baahubali as unconquerable protagonist, you may well be somewhat convinced about his fancy skill sets. But it’s hammered in hard.
The narrative resounds with sound blasts venerating the chosen one. Kreem’s music is so overwhelming that you come out of the movie shell shocked by the pulverizing effect of his beats.
While the fairly consistent majesty of the visuals, scale of imagination, reverberating tempo, ritualistic twists and pose-heavy performances are par for the course, the obvious slant towards redoubtable fantasy doesn’t quite cut ice here. Nevertheless, this one is a fulsome entertainer that blasts on all its cylinders and is worth a dekho on the big screen!