If ever there was the cinematic epitome of style over substance, it was S S Rajamouli’s Baahubali and now it’s sequel Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Actually, scratch that, it’s more than an interquel, 300 style, auguring, overlapping and finally sequel-ling the original where honest army chief Kattappa kills undeterred warrior Amarendra Baahubali. Rajamouli’s follow up, again much like 300 (or Red Cliff) in that franchise, attempts to widen the canvas and paint the Kattappa’s struggle as just one piece of a much bigger conflict against Bhallaladeva & Amarendra Baahubali. Where Part I set up the pieces and hinted at greater machinations to the upcoming internal battle in Mahismathi Kingdom, Baahubali II pretty much kicks the door in and screams “who wants to get some answers!!” and then it pauses for a minute and screams slightly less loudly “let’s have some long strategic gambits first!”.
Baahubali II doesn’t start where Part I left off – bet you didn’t see that coming (straight narrative) – and concerns itself with the lead up to the battle that gave the movie its name. While Baahubali II and its predecessor both borrow heavily from the Mythology and few Asian sword-and-sandal films – and this one especially – end up being more battle themed film more than anything else.
Personal ambition. Familial loyalty. Political betrayal. The burden of leadership. It’s all here in this sequel to Baahubali. The story, if you can call it that, is a Indian mythology mishmash. A rampaging king Bhallaladeva (Rana) is torturing and killing his way across the borders of Mahismathi kingdom, while the rogue Vaithalikas dither over whether or not to intervene. Meanwhile, a mortal Shiva (Prabhas) decides to take matter into his own hands with the help of royal slave Kattappa (Satyaraj), of course after listening to his backstory.
In this ambition driven film performances does fill up the spaces and represent the characters. None of the actors seems to have completely sunk in their teeth in those characters. We can give credit to Prabhas for putting in lit of effort and his screen presence as Amarendra Baahubali dominates the movie proceedings. The actor gives an improved performance compared to the first part. Rana Daggubati finds his moment to shine, while killing Baahubali. Anushka Shetty with her consistency impresses and over rides her Arundhanthi act. So this can be called as her career best performance. Ramya Krishnan, Satyaraj and Nassar literally carry few scenes with their performances. In a ‘Relangi’ inspired role Subbaraju does have bit to contribute.
When it comes to scripting Baahubali makers have always been open about the inspirations from Mythology. Many Mythological stories are clubbed into one film, that you see today. That’s Baahubali. If you are wondering why am I referring to duology as one film, because the story makes sense not as two but one. Mythological stories from Mahabharata like; Kunti-Draupadi Samvadam, prehistory of Kouravas, Bheeshma – Satyavathi angle, Laaksha Dhruva dhahanam, Viratparval also antagonist character moulded on Ravana Bhramhas myths. You see with these many inspirations from Mythology, one expects a cohesive and meaning full story rather it falls into the traps of commercialism and ends being as routine as yesterday’s news paper.
As far as characterizations go Rajamouli does deliver one strong character in Devasena and promises to deliver a consistent character in Baahubali and Kattappa, but in his penchant to give all the characters grey shades, he dilutes the characters of Kattappa, Sivagami and Baahubali himself. One wonders how come Sivagami being so thoughtful can become gullible in a jiffy. While Baahubali appears to be a consistent character his love story doesn’t make any sense. Why does Baahubali think ‘Love is only possible, when you are not yourself ?’. Subbaraju‘s character does take us to happy world of cinema and helps us remember movies like Mayabazar, Pathalabhairavi and Many others. So tell me what new in Baahubali?
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