S S Rajamouli’s Baahubali (2015) Movie Review
Opened: July 10, 2015
Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah, Anushka Shetty, Sathyaraj, Nasser, Adivi Sesh, Ramya Krishna, Kiccha Sundeep, Rakesh Varre and Meka Ramakrishna
Screenplay and Direction: S S Rajamouli
Presented by K Raghavendra Rao
Producers: Shobu Yarlagadda & Prasad Devineni
Censor Certificate: U/A
Runtime: 159 Minutes
I’m sucker for fairytale and folklore ingeminatings, and a major sucker for good vs evil lores… so I had very high hopes for this period drama, Baahubali directed by S S Rajamouli.
Right from the word go Rajamouli takes you into a world where Swords & Violence are no strangers to its inhabitants. The story centers on a group of tribes living around Mahismathi. Rohini, the head, is very over protective of her people and believes that her way of living in shadows is the only right survive. Shivudu (Prabhas), a free-spirit who wants to explore the world behind the mountain and disobey the rules. In spite of everything, a passionate love story stems from within the different kins. From the first sight Shivudu (Prabhas) and Avanthika (Tamannaah) strike such an intense bond that they aren’t sure when love began. Immersed in a storm of consequences, with Devasena (Anushka Shetty) being its backdrop, from here blooms a fervent emotion like no other. What follows leaves you continuously questioning if Shivudu – Avanthika love for one another, can triumph over kin politics and family honors.
The trailers always looked as if Bhallala Deva and Sivagami characters had been written for Rana Daggubati and Ramya Krishna and in fact, these are the leads that steal the show. With such expectations, Rana Daggubati outshines himself as he covers a full intricate range of charismas – from being Powerful, cunning to intellectual, and heartbroken. Ramya Krishna is an epitome of feminine grace as the strong and powerful leader. Her expressive big eyes are able to showcase her histrionics in a very interesting manner. “Darling” Prabhas dedication shows up in every scene (as Shivudu and Baahubali) in the movie. Though, he was not completely possessed with his characterizations. Satyaraj is similar to Magadheera / Jorah Mormont, who goes to any standard to save the pride of their kingdom. Tamannaah Batia looks impressive despite a rather limited role. Adivi Sesh as son of Rana Daggubati chosen for his wild looks. That doesn’t help at all and he needs to work on histrionics. Prabhakar terrifying look as Kalakeya is good. Nasser, Anushka Shetty, Rohini, Tanikella Bharini, Meka Ramakrishna and Rakesh Varre are okay in their small characters. Scarlett Wilson, Gabriela Bertante and Nora Fatehi are red-hot in the item number.
S S Rajamouli’s movies are always overweening. Monstrously rattling that it will make your jaw drop for a dozen times in every movie. But coming to the core of Baahubali is basic Troy, Hercules story with Prince of Persia. Everything else is essentially background noise. Written by S S Rajamouli, it’s such a shame that the supposedly based on a mythology-inspired story instead resembles Croods, Mask of Zorro, Magadheera, Karan Arjun, Kodama Simham, Prince of Persia and Exodus more than anything – if you recall lad was free spirited – tries to cross the mountains – Finds his real image – Gets to know about his family – Where two young prince try to win over each other for the crown – one wins the battle and crowned as the new king. The most dominant elements were from Game of Thrones. We also pick up similarities with Hercules, Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean, Veerabhimanyu, Mulan (Avalanche scene) and Conan the Barbarian (Javelin shots) especially with regards to the battle scenes. Due to which as a movie Baahubali will bore you as, it doesn’t have enough original scenes and soul to carry the momentum forward. Rajamouli is slowly transforming in to a director who is selling off soul for the luxury.
For the most part of Baahubali has a snail paced narrative. It moves really slow, with each scene taking whatever happened before it two steps backward, elevating just how idiotic things have become. Its does start to drag completely as the film cuts in to the main action as it’s about to hit the climax. Lets keep the logic’s aside as we are bound have these unexplained things in larger than life commercial films, bear them. Dialogues by Ch. Vijay Kumar & G. Ajay Kumar are very routine and there are no powerful dialogues to elevate main characters. Its always hard to convert Rajamouli’s vision into reality, but without a doubt the strongest thing about this movie is the visual effects (Supervision by Srinivas Mohan). Almost every shot of this movie is simply beautiful to look at (thanks to Firefly Creative Studios, Makuta VFX Studio and Prasad EFX). The Waterfall sequence (by Makuta VFX Studio), Gaur Fight (by Tau Films) and Mahismathi Kingdom shots are simply awesome. The usage of Lidar Scanning, Animatronics make CGI look real and the digital enhancement has added colorful and bright look to the effects. Music by MM Keeravani is mediocre and the songs are wasted by klutzy placement and repetition. The cinematography by K K Senthil Kumar is technically good. Art work by Sabu Cyril is fantastic, regarding how much Rajamouli has relied on miniature art and sets. The costumes by Rama Rajamouli & Prashanti Tripirneni are appropriate. Editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao is poor, movie could have easily trimmed down by 10-15 min. Fight Choreography by Peter Heins is completely inspired by the Western films and wanna know what made him inspire from so many films for a single war episode. Production values of Arka Media are grand.
While the world sits up in anticipation of S S Rajamouli’s ambitious, 160 odd crore period – drama, it’s got to be said that Baahubali is a film of queer contradictions. Technically, it blasts open the hypotheses of cinema and goes where few have attained earlier. There is enough here that will excite and beatify fans. But there’s also a lot in it that exacerbates normal crowd. For a visually game-changing film, Rajamouli opts for a folklore and love story that are way too common and at times, even moth-eaten. There’s an overall lack of feelings in Baahubali. With that said, maybe a duology is just too much to ask of “Baahubali”, and hopefully Baahubali – the conclusion will be more superior to the part one.
Survi Review: 2.5/5 ( rated 0.5 more for VFX effects)