Rating : 3.8/5
Genre : Historical
Year : 2015
Running time : 3 hours 17 minutes
Director : S. S. Rajamouli
Cast : Prabhas, Rana Daggubatti, Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj, Nasser, Tamannah Bhatia, Anushka Shetty
Kid rating: PG
Bahubali came and went and we heard of how great it was from a friend who’s an unabashed Rajnikanth fan. Ergo, I dismissed it. Years later (really, one year later) when Bahubali 2 was coming out, and Bahubali was on tv one day, the husband and I actually watched it. Pretty decent really, but read on.
Bahubali stars Prabhas as Shiva, a super-strong, if naive, village lad. He lives with his adopted parents, who had rescued him as baby, afloat on the river. Shiva spends his days, traipsing around doing manly things, i.e.; lifting heavy Shivalingas for his mom. Surrounded by beautiful nature and mountains, Shiva, on one of his many jaunts, follows a beautiful wraith up a mountain and discovers a whole new world up there. Along with discovering (pun intended) aforementioned beautiful wraith Avantika , Shiva now finds out many surprising things about his past. With this new found knowledge, he has an overwhelmingly difficult goal to accomplish. Is he up to the challenge?
Bahubali is a “period” film, of kings and their kingdoms, of faith, family, fealty and betrayal. There’s lots of emotion, drama and some cringeworthiness built-in; the men are broad-shouldered and smoldering with machismo, and the women outwardly rebellious, but inwardly simpering. The film is shot on a spectacular scale – large, lavish sets, lots of computer generated effects and grand vistas. There is meticulous detail, be it in the furnishings, finery or the design and workings of battle-field weapons. This is not your mom’s Ramayana.
The film has a rather handsome and talented cast. Prabhas plays the main character of Shiva aka Bahubali, and he is good-looking in a doofus-y kind of a way. In this film, he seems relatively fit and well-muscled, but in Bahubali-2 you see his propensity to go to pot, not unlike other Southie heroes (Arvind Swamy etc.). Rana Daggubatti, the other kingly figure in this period epic, has been seen earlier in Hindi films like Dum Maaro Dum and Baby. Then there’s the accomplished Nasser in a negative avatar, and Ramya Krishnan, as powerful Queen mother Sivagami, lights up the screen with her fire-and-brimstone spewing dialogues. Tamannah Bhatia plays Avantika, a rather feeble rebel, succumbing easily to Shiva’s charms.
Bahubali for all its hi-tech wizardry, definitely had Southie touches, like scenes where all the extras seem to emote alike – everyone’s shaking their heads in sync as though thinking the exact same thought at exactly the same time! Then there were the romantic scenes, with the exaggerated sighs, simpering and coyness. Also, and this is not just limited to Southie films, the men are portrayed as just, virtuous warriors but with built-in sexism (mucho thanks to great Indian culture).
This was an entertaining film, from a director with vision. Recommended.