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Baahubali 2: The Conclusion Review

Baahubali 2: The Conclusion
Josh / fullhyd.com
EDITOR RATING
7.0
Performances
Script
Music/Soundtrack
Visuals
7.0
7.0
6.0
10.0
Suggestions
Can watch again
Yes
Good for kids
No
Good for dates
Yes
Wait to rent it
No
When Bahubali: The Beginning was talked up to be giving us a spectacle like we had never seen before, the names it had to reckon with were along the lines of Magadheera, Eega, Okkadu, Devi, Arundhati, Ammoru and the like. True, each of these blockbusters (standing on the gigantic shoulders of Vitthalacharya) broke new ground in their own way, whether in CGI or gigantic sets or fight choreography. We had jaw-dropping fights, incredibly realistic sets, gargantuan water hands delivering children out of ponds, colossal curly cobras and - for the love of everything that's good and sweet - housefly pull-ups!

Nonetheless, all of these films invariably stayed within a certain boundary - a boundary that got demolished in 2015. Now, when Bahubali: The Conclusion was being talked up to be giving us a spectacle like we had never seen before, there was just one name it had to reckon with - Bahubali: The Beginning.

S S Rajamouli is probably aware of this more than anyone else. He likely has a very clear (or maybe even an exaggerated) picture of what it means to not out-achieve himself this time. Just think about it. There is a beckoning bleakness at the horizon if The Conclusion, after the hundreds of crores of expenditure and even greater pre-bookings, fails to rekindle that amazement of The Beginning. This is a nightmare that can shake up the bravest of them. But Rajamouli stands tall and unequivocally manages to deliver a spectacle like we have never seen before.

It is no exaggeration to claim that The Conclusion is definitively grand. Grander than The Beginning. Rajamouli conjures up unimaginable (never mind if they are unrealistic) weapons, tools, vehicles, frames and strategies which leave behind anything you have ever seen in Indian films. Excessively large numbers of people show up on screen frequently, and on various occasions hordes of these people get washed away in water, burnt in fire, plunged into air and paraded in the skies - and in one instance, they even make the earth shake. You know how they say the five elements make up life. Here Rajamouli uses them to make up that all important and terrifying parameter - Scale. And that makes us wonder if, after that massive pressure that could make burning coal out of green plants, Scale has become Rajamouli's understanding of life.

The life in Bahubali: The Conclusion is pale in comparison to The Beginning. There's a fine story (Vijayendra Prasad) involving deceit by Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) and Bijjaladeva (Nasser), love between Devasena (Anushka) and Bahubali (Prabhas), the fallibility of Sivagami (Ramyakrishna), and the loyalty of Kattappa (Satyaraj). These characters are well-developed (the backstories of the characters are worked out in such detail that they've published a book called The Rise Of Sivagami), and all the love, loyalty, rivalry and treachery are worked into an old-fashioned but rich script. That's usually a triumph in our books, but it appears Rajamouli may have squandered some of it in his chase of the formidable spectacle. The script simply doesn't fully come to life.

Our best comparison once again comes from the first part itself. Bahubali: The Beginning was full of life. If there was a breathtaking stretch of Sivudu scaling the waterfall's heights, that stretch also tells the story of an adventure seeker going past his own limitations in pursuit of a mystery. If there's that exquisitely well-shot execution of Bhadra (Adivi Sesh), that scene also leads to Kattappa's overwhelming discovery of Mahendra Baahubali. There's that statue erection scene with a prohibitively large number of junior artistes (directing a mass of junior artistes is an Achilles' Heel for the best of our filmmakers), and that gives us that oh-so-satisfying smile of Devasena in retaliation to Bhallaladeva's earlier attacks. The Beginning was a spectacle, sure. But it was also a well-narrated drama.

And you'll find that "well-narrated" part slightly wanting in The Conclusion. There is opulence and grandeur aplenty, but the storytelling function of this grandeur is a tad undermined. The emotional beats exist, but they don't seem to have completed that journey from paper to screen. So we end up marveling at every scene pretty much, but you know that immersion you expect of a storyteller like Rajamouli? That happens barely three times through the film.

So much runtime is devoted to fights, battles, and landscapes that the story itself appears to have gotten shortchanged. It isn't about the duration really. It's about such things as the editing (Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao) that jars. That doesn't mean obvious goofs or continuity issues - we mean shots getting cut off before you really feel the character's emotion. It feels something like watching a movie on television where the channel folks confidently chop off parts of the film because, hey, who's going to notice? The score (Keeravani) is great but ends up feeling inadequate. And it abruptly ends and begins at times. You perhaps wouldn't even notice these things if you didn't pay so much attention, but then if you happen to wonder what went wrong after watching the film, we hope this lends you some perspective.

The enhanced trouble with under-direction is you start noticing things that you'd gladly forgive and forget when the emotional beats resonate with you. So things like Prabhas' lazy diction, Rana's sweet-looking face, Ramyakrishna's and Nasser's Telugu pronunciation (there's a lot more "Ballala" than is acceptable and lot less "Bhallala" than is required) start making themselves visible.

The performances are certainly intense - Ramyakrishna, Satyaraj and Anushka are almost flawless - but you can't help thinking a king like Bahubali would speak with greater command and a villain like Bhallaladeva would look more menacing.

But these end up being quibbles if you let yourself be overtaken by the visual splendour. Bahubali: The Conclusion positively glows in comparison to contemporary Indian films. The visuals are awe-inducing, the fights breathtaking, and the film overall jaw-dropping. It's just that you wish Rajamouli had cared a little less about getting jaws to drop and a little more about getting hearts to beat.
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Josh on 5th May 2017, 1:21am | Permalink
Kota, man. He deserved so much more than he got.
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BAAHUBALI 2: THE CONCLUSION USER REVIEWS
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Usualsuspekt on 12th May 2017, 12:03pm | Permalink
I know its a little late but here is my review

Here we go..its a 3hr movie so its a long review-bear with me!
Do read and comment on the movie as well as review
Ch3rs!

Bahubali 2-is it worth the investment over the last 2 years?

---This review assumes the reader has watched the Babhubali-The Beginning and has obvious spoilers of that movie--

The cliffhanger ending that was Bahubali The Beginning left millions of people world over in shock and awe.
Why did Kattappa kill (Amarendra) Bahubali? And it arguably spawned more memes than the ones discussing Donald Trump's chances as American
President.
While Trump is in office for more than 100 days we had to wait longer to solve the Kattaapaa puzzle.The good news is the wait is over and the bad
news is am not going to reveal in this spoiler-free review!

There is no "Previously on Bahubali (1)" but we are taken through the story thus far in some life size images that depict the key takeaways and
refresh/jog the memory while also bringing us back to the mystical and Utopian Mahishmati Kingdom architecture that captured our hearts in the
first dig. Raja Mata Shivagami (Ramya Krishna) is performing a ritual and it provides the poster-worthy launching pad for our Hero Amarendra
Bahubali with Prabhas at his bicep-showing best. With days left to his coronation as the King of Mahishmati,Shivagami sends Amarendra
undercover(the proverbial kings in disguise of a commoner) to learn about his subjects and who better than our very own Kattapaa (Satya Raj), to
accompany while he teaches his protege the social mores of the emperorship. And its endearing to watch. Forget the hype of the movie forget the
gory of the second half of the first half as we are taken through the lush green majestic vistas of a small province Kunthala where the regal and
majestic damsel, Princess Devasena (Anushka) is introduced to Amarendra. What follows is the fact that Amarendra is more romantic than Mahendra(in
the Beginning)and Devasena miles ahead of Avantika,warts and all. No invisible-man tattoos here but the sheer presence and the subtelty with
which she emotes, Devasena steals Amarendra's hearts while Shivagami is busy looking for a bride for her emperor. A twist in the tale brings Devasena to Mahishmati in shackles and the scenes at the Courtroom are great to watch, the writing here meticulously delves into the fearless Devasena and the authoritative Shivagami. Don't worry, there is no time for Saas-Bahu tales keeping our hero in the soup. Bhallala is crowned the King(watch it on big screen, why?) and he is only like Trump- he got the mandate from some but not the popular vote as the entire populace of Mahishmati roots for Amarendra, who is now the Sainyadhipathi(the Chief of the Armed Forces) and whose sole respnisbility is the protection of the King Bhallala. Bhallala(Rana) finally got what he wanted-the throne of Mahishmati but as popularity rises for Amarendra, time for some
Trump-like executive decisions. He connives with his dad Bijjala Deva(Nasser) and ousts Amarendra from the Kingdom where he moves faster than Rajni in Narasimha(Padayappa) in digging the trenches, irrigating the lands and bringing prosperity to Mahishmati as the common man while Devasena is preoccupied with bringing in the future King(Remember the scene in The Beginning where Shivagami holds aloft the cute but determinedly royal infant, that is Mahendra Bahubali.

That more or less brings to the most important question-why Kattappa killed Bahubali?

Which of course you have to watch on the big screen.So fast forward to present where Mahendra Bahubali is seething with rage and anger to Avenge
his mother for what she has been through for the last 25 year-picking stick after stick(Remember her wisecrack to Kattappa)-which now amounted to
a funeral pyre that can fit a still strong though grey-bearded Bhallala Deva.

SS Rajamouli, the genius behind this magnum opus,said on BBC why India can not have a Superhero of their own and why they should only look upto Spider man or Superman of the West. So here we have the superhero that is Mahendra Bahubali playing David vs Goliath, taking on the mighty army of Mahishmati, bringing the Conclusion through a frenzied finish.

Bahubali The Conclusion is entertaining to watch and maintains the tempo throughout the movie. Praabhas is equally suave and scintillating as Amarendra, be it while riding the odd ox or the elephant or teaching Devasena to shoot with three arrows at once(am not kidding).
The biggest gripe I had with Babubali The Beginnning was how Avantika's role could have been played by Devasena but now its clear why it didn't matter Tamanna (was)wasted in that role as Anushka was earmarked for Devasena's role and who could have played better showing stark individuality, while serenading the viewers and Amarendra alike? She is all grace and talent,not to mention her remarkable beauty. SO thank heavens, stars and all the celstaial bodies Avantika's role(again played by "not-even-a-bit-of-improvement" Tamanna was nothing of note in this part and Devasena was rightly played by Anushka.
Ramya Krishna's biggest onscreen success should arguably be Neelambari in Rajni's Narasimha (Padayappa) but this is no less.She is all grace and poise and the way she carries herself-the reponsibility of Mahishmati Kingdom -the conniving son and husband on one side and the 'Amarendra
rooting' poeople on the other side-is simply superb.
Sataya Raj has some lighter moments and he excels in those in the first half while regaining his serious best in the latter.
Rana looks ominous when it matters-in the climax- and fits the bill to a rampaging Mahendra Bahubali.
Subba Raju as Kumara Varma has an important role and handles quite well.
Nasser as the 'sakuni' of Mahishmati is all action but not sure of the dubbing. Somebody tell him Balla means table in Telugu and Bhalla is not same as Balla. And one dialogue" Nee Amma Kukka vasthundi" when Kattappa arrives at the scene has come out almost as "Nee yamma kukka vasthundi" and there is plenty of daylight between these two.
The director and writer have stuck to their guns and its good to see there were no forced dialogues or agenda driven messages especially when it has Pan-India adulation its easy to get carried away or be influenced to add it make it look more secular democratic and what not.
Kudos to the makers for letting the storyteller tell his story the way he wants to tell it.
SO what next for Bahubali-maybe build a Mahishmati theme village in the new capital Amaravati, bring out Bahubali merchandise?
The buzz created by Bahubali before and after is like na bhutho na bhavishyathi for a Telugu movie if not for an Indian movie and thanks to the fact that it is made in Telugu and dubbed in other languages gives the due credit to all the cast and crew involved. Imagine this being remade in
Bollywood and Raja mouli and Prabhas becoming foot notes in a Salman Bhai starrer. It would have been such a travesty.

If the Begining is all about setting the tone and selling the brochures the Conclusion is about collecting the dividends.
GO get you returns.

PS: One scene that stood out for me is when Bhallala and Bijjala the father-son duo are chatting away a nefarious plot, in the background is a majestic sculpture of a god(dess) and this kinda gives you a glimpse of the throwback that India probably was(at least from the history books) and its stunning to watch.
Keeping this review apolitical let me stop here.
JayZ on 4th May 2017, 9:35pm | Permalink
Is it blasphemous to suggest that in my opinion Bahubali 2 is a poorly made film?
Josh on 4th May 2017, 11:42pm | Permalink
Not at all, JayZ. I'm watching it in IMAX right now (Intermission on) and I'm actively registering more complaints and compliments. Chiefly, I'm wondering if Subbaraju would have made a great Bhallaladeva.
Kanye on 7th May 2017, 5:26am | Permalink
Could I ask what is your primary concern with Rana? Just curious, heard a lot of negative feedback but not a replacement suggestion
Josh on 7th May 2017, 8:42am | Permalink
The replacement suggestion isn't as much against Rana as it is against star kids. In my opinion, Rana is among the better star kids we have. He's particularly good in Ghazi.

However, the chap really can't pull off evil or possibly any character which calls for shades of grey. Bhallaladeva's malice and jealousy needed someone who understands the character and tries to deliver that. Rana appears uncomfortable being a mean fellow.

My point is there are many an actor who can perform far better than any of our star kids. I simply suggested Subbaraju because I'd just seen him in the film.

One thing going for Rana is the physique but acting is less about the physicality and more about the mentality (at least for roles which require a person and not a shell). Say you take Tom Hardy as Bane. He's really too small for Bane and you don't get to even see his expressions but somehow he manages to sell it.

Why, Nasser looks like a regular 60 year old and yet, his wall punching scene is among the most effective scenes in The Conclusion. The body is less important than the embodiment.
Josh on 7th May 2017, 8:44am | Permalink
There is* many an actor.
Swaroop Thotada on 5th May 2017, 9:55am | Permalink
While I admit that I was immensely entertained, I am beginning to feel like Baahubali is going on to become the most over-rated film of the decade.
Drake on 5th May 2017, 12:58am | Permalink
I would have loved to see Telugu actors playing Bijaladeva and Kattappa... Satya Raj and Naser are great actors...but I didn't like how Kattappa kept mouthing sollu for Cheppu and I am never a fan of Nasers telugu dubbing.I would have loved Rao Ramesh, Jagapathi Babu, Kota, in these roles..also didn't like Ramya Krishnan's diction...
Josh on 5th May 2017, 1:21am | Permalink
Kota, man. He deserved so much more than he got.
JayZ on 5th May 2017, 3:10pm | Permalink
Just like we saw the death of the telugu speaking heroines ., We may slowly see the death of telugu speaking character actors and villians.
Swaroop Thotada on 1st May 2017, 1:09am | Permalink
I watched "The Conclusion" today. I dont know about you guys but I enjoyed it throughout, except for the absolutely laughable climax. Till the climax, the film is an entertaining ride. This is what I wanted when I went to "The Begining". But sadly most of that film is spent on a boring war sequence. Even in this film there are a million flaws but the film doesn't give us any time to point them out. It is too busy entertaining and enthralling us.
I still think that Kattapa and Sivagami are the only remarkable characters with any shades of humanity and layering. The rest are typical Rajamouli heroes and villains. Anyways I wont go to a Rajamouli film for a human drama. I go for a spectacle, or some adrenaline pumping moments. And this film is just that: A spectacle. And there are enough elevation scenes to satisfy the "front bencher" in me.
The story is all predictable but the presentation is earnest and draws our emotional investment. We all know what is gonna happen, and the story is no great shakes: But the way it is staged, narrated and unveiled is what makes it a compelling watch. I can talk a whole day about the flaws and mistakes but I dont want to. I want to forgive them, because I had fun.
PS:- I still cant get over the fact how funny the name Bijjala Deva is
Josh on 30th Apr 2017, 1:05pm | Permalink
I watched it a second time yesterday. I'll just register a few grievances here.

**Spoilers. Spoilers everywhere**

Film making :
1) Pillagers turn up from nowhere and get going just like that. This is in stark contrast to all the build up Kalakeyas get in the first part. And the people cast as warrior leaders (including the army chief Sethupathi) look all too basic and innocent. These completely dispensable challengers are, uhm, completely dispensable.

2) Scale fatigue.

3) Scale encroaching on drama. When Sivagami asks Devasena to stand next to her Fiancé (sigh..) she walks a couple ?of steps and Sivagami gets annoyed. Contrast this with a scene where Devasena goes and stands next to Bahubali to the genuine shock and confusion of Sivagami. Wouldn't that be more impactful?

Or take that scene where Kattappa kneels and shows his bloodied hands to Sivagami. The shot is powerful. Then there's a jumpcut with Kattappa holding her hand and about a second of her freaking out about it. I just don't get why that portion had to finish so quickly. And it just doesn't? feel smooth or flowing. My guess is after fours hours of final footage they decided to snip these portions for the sake of the grand visuals.

4) The Beginning ends with this hair raising version of Jeevanadhi. There's legit Euphoria about Bahubali being chosen for king and the soundtrack takes off there. Not a scene like that in The Conclusion. The only good motif is the one where Bahubali is smitten with Devasena. But nothing that'll make me play the scene over and over with my eyes closed.

And the Mahishmati anthem gets a jumpcut at the coronation sequence. Even the screaming stuff in the trailer is misused. I just don't get this editor.

5) Is it just me or are there only six people living in Mahishmati? Why are the same people shown in every shot featuring Mahishmati's populace? The same excessively enthusiastic bearded guy and the same eyes-welling-up lady show up everytime. For a kingdom with ten thousand families, that's awfully poor sampling.


Physics :
1) Impact, my friends. When you are catapulted through hundreds of feet your landing isn't going to let you walk for weeks. Fighting is not an option.

Social Commentary :
1) Bahubali has no business protesting court procedure simply because his wife is an accused in chains. No matter how wonderful you are, you ACN still screw up. Which is why there's a prescribed procedure for all people. If you've once accepted a process as fair (as Bahubali must have when he learnt their law as a child) you don't go around beheading people and claiming injustice before a verdict is out.

And that argument about Devasena being confident and Sethupathi being hesitant doesn't fly. A very simple counterexample comes from Russell - "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts."

2) Why are common people in Telugu films such hapless beings whose life is either in the hands of the awful villains or in the hands of the good hero? Can we imagine a hero who's not a benevolent despot
The Common Movie Goer on 1st May 2017, 12:24am | Permalink
Fun Fact: I think one of the more prominent villagers is the same guy who questions where Mahesh is from in Okkadu and opposes the kidnapping of the Dean in Khaleja.
Kanye on 30th Apr 2017, 11:08pm | Permalink
I agree and disagree with this in bits and pieces.

Agree:
The villagers showing up randomly and on time, no connectivity with the warriors, the scale fatigue, no score like Jeeva nadhi, and the disregard for basic physics. Yes, they should've made the tree-catapult scheme a little more believable because that was downright ridiculous.

Disagree:
The part about the bloodied hands of Kattappa. He did not hold her hands, but brush off the blood of Baahubali as if to symbolize his death is on her hands. And the shock on her face is because of the realization of what Kattappa was trying to convey.
There was a huge number of junior artists and the reason why the same few faces kept coming up is because we have come to notice them. Sure, Rajamouli could've dialed it down by shifting them away from the center of the screen.
And Baahubali beheading Sethupathi was because as a husband, he trusts that Devasena will only take such a decision if something truly awful has happened. But in all honesty, it just contributes to the drama and the emotion than being politically correct because who really cares about that.

My two pieces:
At the beginning of the second half, a lot of scenes seemed choppy and I had trouble trying to really get the depth of that. We know its already a long movie but they could've cut down on the war scenes to bring more impact on the small but impactful scenes.

And you watched it twice in two days? Jeez, how'd you get the tickets? I'm fighting to snag another ticket for next week.
Josh on 1st May 2017, 7:30am | Permalink
I booked five tickets for the first day :) I wasn't sure where I was going to be. So, two in Hyd, two in Bengaluru and one in Chennai. I ended up in Bengaluru where the tickets were easily available on the second day too.

I know the function of the scene of Kattappa getting the blood on Sivagami's hands. I love that it was written like that. My problem is with the editing. It's hurried, in my opinion. That scene needed more meditation on the respective emotions of the two. But we get a jump cut and just about functional editing. I'm fully with you on tonng down the battles a bit and making these scenes more impactful. While the scene works, it just doesn't flow smoothly. Where I wanted Johnny Walker, I got Blender's Pride. BP still works but hey, what would you prefer?

In the world of make believe, the psychology of sampling is important. If a population is to be represented by a single example that character needs more work. Here, this is a case of hiring some senior junior-artistes and declaring them to be the visible population of Mahishmati. Of the sevenish scenes they are visible in, we could have done with different prominent faces in different scenes. That gives a sense of authenticity.

I have difficulty with the infallibility of a hero. I mean, Bahubali believes Sivagami can't go wrong but she did, right? Even if a hero is infallible, the idea is no matter how accomplished you are you're still equal before law. You go ahead with procedure and only when the procedure fails you protest. Amarendra Bahubali needed more sincere suffering to later raise as a glowing hero. My opinion, of course.

That said, I loved that scene. I like the movie. These grievances exist but don't completely undermine my experience of the film. Now I wait a Prasads IMAX show.
Pointmaker on 6th May 2017, 7:59pm | Permalink
Do telugu movies deserve so much of debate???????
Josh on 6th May 2017, 8:46pm | Permalink
Oh they do, they do, Pointmaker. It's like the food we eat. We have to be concerned about it. I could eat steaks, radhabhallabhs, and scones but eventually I want pappannam. And I'll be mad upset if the pappannam is either bland or unhealthy (or, sadly in the cases of movies, both).
RaghuM on 30th Apr 2017, 6:12am | Permalink
2yrs ago, we had come out of Bahubali 1, wanting more.
Today, we came out of Bahubali 2, wishing more.

Bahubali 1 had fallen short of expectations.
Bahubali 2 fell short of Bahubali 1.
Overall, Bahubali fell short of the likes of "Eega", "Maryadaramanna".

Nevertheless, Bahubali is massive in its scale, never before.
Kanye on 30th Apr 2017, 3:02am | Permalink
I just caught the movie and I have a lot to say.

So I thought about this ahead of time. I made sure that i would go watch this film without the overenthusiastic crowd. So i booked the noon show and sure thing, all the people who came seemed like a pretty tame crowd.

But then something weird happened. Throughout the second half, I started to hoot. At various scenes. After I walked out, I had a lot of emotions running through my mind. Some positive, some negative.

But one thing fore sure - I enjoyed it. And I am not the type of guy who was itching to watch this movie like the fanatics that behead cows outise the theaters. I'm pretty critical about everything I see.

Coming to the story, it was pretty ordinary. I knew exactly what was going to happen a few moments before it actually happened. Usually, that marks a failure on the writing team's part. But the screenplay was what gave me that immense impact. Sure i know WHAT was coming, but I was happy to know that I didn't know HOW it was coming.

The actors certainly looked the part. Sure, there was a small problem with Prabhas' diction. And Rana sort of looked and sounded too moder, but they managed to pull it off. Anushka and Ramya Krishna really made the film with their characters and their scenes. Also, I loved Subbaraju and that I wasn't expecting. And I think it would be a sin not to talk about Sathyaraj. His gait, his intensity, his innocence. Especially when he cast his head down as he killed Baahubali with shame, it shows character.

The music was good, the BGM was excellent, the cinemetography was superb, the art dept did an amazing job, and the production team should take a bow.

But the writing team should seriously take a bow for coming up with so many hair rising scenes. (i.e. the scene when Baahubali dies like a King).

To end this little shpiel, I'd like to add that my dad said the first movie was pretty shitty. He said it was overhyped and nothing compared to bajirao Mastani. But he came out of this one and said "that was pretty good."

Long story short, watch Baahubali 2. Relax. Enjoy it.
Usualsuspekt on 29th Apr 2017, 9:31am | Permalink
@swaroop i had a similar feeling about 1

My review from 2 years ago

#BAHUBALI-MY 2 CENTS
"Bahubali surpasses 300 on IMDB ratings", screams Indian Express
Indeed it is true.
300 has a rating of 7.8 and Bahubali 9.4.
Forget the fact that 300 has 5.5 lakh votes and Bahubali 9000 votes.
The liberties taken by the newspaper only show the anticipation this movie has generated across the country.
1.5 km is the distance..not for the nearest theatre but the advance booking lines in Hyderabad and the black market price of the ticket would have long surpassed the
IMDB votes count.
Stunning locales and a throwback story of a Kingdom Mahismati starts with Game of Thrones style maps.
You would expect grandeur and glory and of course aeons of praise to Almighty.
Bang on.
Sivudu literally carries the Shiva Linga on his shoulders so his mom can avoid the trips to the river in bathing the deity.
So start the boulder lifting scenes and continue throughout the movie.
What starts chasing a beautiful damsel brings him to the doorsteps of his glorious flashback..his own dad betrayed by the enemies as in a typical king's tale.
The flashback is just The Beginning as new younger enemies emerge and will have to be dealt with in The Conclusion.
Prabhas is earmarked for this role and but for his weak voice over (sorry its good to hear him woo the girls but everything else sounds the same way and that's an issue)
Tamanna is given a Divergent/Hunger Games kinda role but the expression she has when she is reminded of her responsibility (to bring back the imprisoned Queen of Mahismati) is similar to what you see when she is disappointed her date stood up or her mobile battery went out.
Devasena the Queen is typical Anushka of Arundhati fame...only she gets a minimal screen time.
I would've loved to see Anushka in Tamanna's role and Devasena played by some other actress.
Satyaraj steals the show and so does Ramya Krishna.
Rana the Bhallaladeva, the main character besides Sivudu is a weak link to me.
Nevertheless Bahubali delivers what it promises..grandiose sets, great action sequences and stunning visuals.
But it also has plots predictable miles away and absence of any subplots.
And for such a tale the background music and the songs should have been equally grandiose.
They never fit the bill. The mythological Sri Ramadasu has absolutely haunting songs that stay with you.None of the songs here does.
May be that's where it doesn't work for me. The movie is NOT intense to watch..ok am not expecting Game of Thrones intensity but you know what I mean.
The stunning set pieces and the Mahabharat like plot heightens your expectations and that could affect your experience...as the bar is set but never raised by the director nor the stars while you set the bar higher and higher.
It's a good watch may be a great watch but just NOT a compelling watch.
If you are one of the fans who deify your heroes go ahead and blow the conch.
If you are fan of a director go ahead and bask in the glory.
The whole world is talking about the movie. After all its a 40 million dollar monster of a magnum opus.
But if you are neutral to the above and like a riveting compelling war story go watch this after the booking lines are as long as the sword the hero weilds. TILL then you watch 300 or Troy or, you get the drift.
Sorry I am not going to mention GOT here.
Winter is coming in 2016 by the way.
PS: Independence Day when it was released caused a sensation with the spectacular effects but the highlight of that movie for me was Bill Pullman's speech as the President to rally his troops.
CGI is good but can't be the soul of the movie.
#telugu
#bahubali
#moviereview
Swaroop Thotada on 29th Apr 2017, 2:52pm | Permalink
"Tamanna is given a Divergent/Hunger Games kinda role but the expression she has when she is reminded of her responsibility (to bring back the imprisoned Queen of Mahismati) is similar to what you see when she is disappointed her date stood up or her mobile battery went out."
Ha Ha... Spot on :)
Usualsuspekt on 2nd May 2017, 10:14am | Permalink
Thanks ????
Usualsuspekt on 2nd May 2017, 10:15am | Permalink
Thanks!*
The Common Goer on 29th Apr 2017, 2:15am | Permalink
NOTE: I realize this is a one-off opinion, I realize this will certainly piss people off. You are welcome to abuse the review, but please don't abuse me. Mild SPOILERS might be present, read with caution.

TL;DR
Just as overrated as the first one.

My Review
Just saw the movie. Definitely did not live up to expectations (which were minimal to begin with) or typical Rajamouli standards (think Student No. 1, Sye, Simhadri flashback, Vikramarukudu flashback, and Magadheera flashback). I go into a Rajamouli movie expecting some real blow-mind-portions in a film coupled with some mediocre stuff. The parts I mentioned are the only things I like among all his movies, I just sit through the rest of it restlessly. Unfortunately, most of the stuff in this movie was middling.

The movie began well for me, with standard Rajamouli elevation of the hero and good character arcs. Notice that I didn't say it's character development. In spite of what he says, there was zero character development in either of the two movies. All the characters seem to be born with those motives. Satharaj-Ravishankar combo was working its magic, there's just something lovable about those two. The comedy came off well, but Anushka stole the show. She bring a certain sense of regality and royalty to the screen, and it never ever seems forced. The chemistry between the lead pair was top notch, and Prabhas did an amazing job as Amarendra, especially in the parts leading to him revealing his identity to Devasena (No, this is not a spoiler, it's pretty difficult to spoil this movie). I loved the 3 arrow fight emphasised in the posters.

That was it. The rest of the story was super bland. No twists, no suspense, no aha moments where it all comes together. All of the story elements were taken from the Ramayana (exile), Mahabharata (politics + Jayadratha's beheading), and other popular movies.

I am pretty sure 90% of us guessed the intent behind Katappa's motives, and SSR saves you the strain for the rest by revealing it within 2 minutes of Prabhas's return to Mahishmati. I have no idea why other websites are stating it's an unexpected grand reveal. No wonder neither Josh nor Swaroop mentioned #WKKB. The ending had a "let's-get-this-done-with vibe" which was the ultimate downer.

Ramyakrishnan was really good, and she delivered beyond what her character afforded her, but it's very difficult to bring out her Narasimha avatar (pun intended). The dubbing department was hit or miss. I grew up listening to coastal Andhra accents around the house, so I automatically tend to like Prabhas's diction even if he is butchering stuff. Sowmya Sharma for Anushka was excellent and spot on, and Ravi Shankar is the best in the business. Nassar should let Ravishankar dub for him, I've had enough of his try-hard attempts. Rana has worked a lot on his diction by taking all sorts of classes, but the pronunciation and accent are never right. He emphasises all the wrong parts of the word, the exact opposite of Jr. NTR.

All said and done, I would rather watch Magadheera's flashback sequence with Ram Charan killing it like a boss in his ACK/Prince of Persia inspired avatar. This movie was a disappointment, and I stand by my rating of 4.75 (0.5x Guru).

I realize it's easy to rant and harder to execute, but I hope this comes across as constructive criticism. I hope that complaining about scripts brings back the Telugu movies of the 70s and 80s where content was king, and they would breeze through the talkie parts in a couple of months (Superstar had 12+ releases in some years, and who doesn't love his movies?)

Josh and Swaroop, I have a question for you. I've thought hard about this myself, but why do you think Telugus are losing their ability to enunciate? You look at other languages, and they are still doing OK. But I hardly have any friends who can enunciate like an SVR or NTR. Were actors that well trained, or are we doing something wrong here?

#endrant
RATING
4
Swaroop Thotada on 29th Apr 2017, 2:50pm | Permalink
The Telugu that we hear in Hyderabad now is a cross between Andhra-Telugu, Telangana-Telugu, Hindi and English. I wait for my office cab near a Junior college and the Telugu of those youngsters is what motivates me to carry my headphones without forgetting. I know a couple of people who shed their "Konaseema" accent (with great effort) so as not to be ridiculed by people in the office. Apparently, speaking Telugu in a natural way is unsavoury and this led to many people inventing ways to safely distance themselves from the "slangs" of their respective districts. (Isn't it so irritating when people smirk while you are talking and interrupt in the middle to ask "Aren't you from Nellore/Godavari/Anantapur/Guntur?) The way this "stylish-classy-Telugu" accent is morphing and evolving is interesting to observe. Somehow people felt the need to class-up their Telugu a bit, and incorporated English words and fake-accents. However this is only one aspect of our relaxation towards language. We ridicule Americans for their grammar but the Telugu we hear in this city is a grammatical nightmare. Somehow we didn't put enough effort to speak grammatically correct Telugu. Perhaps Josh is true. People didn't count it worthy an effort for it doesn't fetch any software jobs. None of my friends know what the heck "prathipaadana" means
Usualsuspekt on 2nd May 2017, 10:41am | Permalink
Agree with the diction part.
Infact I touched the nerve of a hardcore Prabhas fan when I said his voice weak and not fit for the serious role in Part 1 and also the fact the movie was not gripping or a compelling watch.
She asked me to Get a Life and keep watching my English Korean movies and TV series..
On a separate note I challenged her to watch Line of Duty Season 4 Episode 1 for gripping drama and dare not to continue the series.

Highly recommend that series to whoever is reading this thread here.
Standout example of great writing supported by terrific acting with umpteen twists and turns.
If you are in general an avid TV series watcher you guys would have already seen this.
Else go for it.
No-nonsense police procedural.
Ch3rs!
Josh on 8th May 2017, 11:50am | Permalink
I watched it yesterday, man. And you were right about the 'dare not to continue' part. I went on a binge and finished the series by night :) It's super taut.

However, it's not exactly a drama. Drama as a genre involves characters and human conflict. LoD is more a thriller which plays out as a procedural and has little time to meditate on humans reconciling with their actions or motives. There's just enough character building to make you believe the goings on.

While it may not be everybody's cup of tea, I think you might like to check out Fargo. The movie and the show make some of the best crime drama I've seen. There's a deeply immersive quality to that world.

But the absolute best piece of media on crime drama I've enjoyed is a podcast called Serial hosted by Sarah Koenig. The superb aspect being it's real. Not based on real events. It is the real event.

Sarah Koenig is an investigative journalist who follows a murder case where a boy called Adnan Sayed is accused of killing his ex girlfriend Hae Min Lee. He's convicted and is currently still in prison. However, Koenig has some reason to believe that he might be innocent. So she starts digging in to the case through the course of the podcast. It's bombing stuff.
Usualsuspekt on 11th May 2017, 10:47am | Permalink
Any email notification delivered when we respond to posts here?
Anyways you guys can add me on facebook(Ratnakar Polisetti) to share these thoughts or let me know your fb ids, i will send a friend request

-I did watch Fargo a few epiosodes-pretty dark and very intense-the bgm score is superb...haunting

-Will check out Serial.

Others I would recommend

-The Missing-Series 2
-Broadchurch
-Marcella
-The Fall(3 seasons all pretty good-very intense-on one hand is the serial killer and on the other the investigator-more like a personal battle between these two
-The Killing Season 1-3 US version is good (based on Danish series Forbrydelsen
I like The Killing background music too-its available on Youtube-The KILLING OST

-Am currently watching Danish/Swedish series Bron(The Bridge)

Ch3rs!
Hari on 6th May 2017, 7:46am | Permalink
Not much of a TV person but I gave this(S04 E01) a shot. Blew me a away. The ending had me begging for more. I am hooked I guess.
Thanks for the recommendation.

-Hari.
Swaroop Thotada on 2nd May 2017, 2:28pm | Permalink
Ha ha. Is Line of Duty as good as Breaking Bad? I feel that Breaking Bad is the Bible of storytelling. I understand it is a different subject matter, but if the directing is anywhere near Breaking Bad, I would give it a try.
(I recently finished House MD and loved it. )
Usualsuspekt on 2nd May 2017, 8:54pm | Permalink
I didn't watch Breaking Bad so i can't compare
This is about Anti Corruption division investigating corrupt police officers.
The writing is a delight..it moves at break neck speed.
Just give Seson 4 Episode 1 a try and if you like you can continue.
Season 4 is more or less stand-alone plot so you cn directly watch this.
However if you think you should watch from the beginning you can take a call after watching the first two episodes after which the references from the previous series come in
Josh on 2nd May 2017, 11:24am | Permalink
Quick question. Does it require viewing of the first three seasons before you watch the fourth season?
Usualsuspekt on 2nd May 2017, 8:58pm | Permalink
You can watch Season 4 as stand alone.
But incse you like and want to start ftom the beginning you stop after 2-3 episodes and start with Season 2 then season 3 before watching rest of Season 4.
The good part it is only 6 episodes in one series and the one hour of episode you will not have time to even take notes trust me!
Season 1 may be skipped altogether.
Josh on 29th Apr 2017, 6:49pm | Permalink
I was looking at Fullhyd and laughed so long at this and my fiancé goes "Swaroop, huh? You better not fall in love with him." :D
The Common Movie Goer on 30th Apr 2017, 1:09am | Permalink
Wait, Josh is a dude, right? Or have I had it wrong all along?
Josh on 30th Apr 2017, 12:04pm | Permalink
So the thing is Fiancé is male, Fiancée is female, and there's a common usage of Fiance (without the accent) as unisex. I didn't realise the lack of accent as a requirement. Sorry about the confusion. jo
Kishore on 30th Apr 2017, 11:36am | Permalink
@Kanye - not really. Fiancé is male. Josh should have used fiancée (since I know Josh is male).
Kanye on 30th Apr 2017, 2:46am | Permalink
Fiance is a term used for either a boy or girl.
Perhaps you should brush up on the english while the telugu youngsters brush up on the telugu lol
Swaroop Thotada on 29th Apr 2017, 7:44pm | Permalink
My apologies :) :)
Josh on 29th Apr 2017, 1:20pm | Permalink
This question is simple. The answer is speaking good Telugu will not fetch you a software job or a medicine seat.

The more difficult question, for which I have no answer, is if that's the same case with Tamil or Malayalam or Kannada why are they so keen on their languages? Why is it the Telugus who don't particularly care?

Anyway, you're probably mistaken with the character arc and character development stuff. It's actually the other way round. Character arc is the transformation of a character through the process of the story. It's innately dynamic. Character development on the other hand is about giving a character its traits and establishing these traits to the audience. The traits could be static or dynamic. And they could be demonstrated by appearance, body language, dialogue, and of course, whole scenes where the character behaves as per its traits.

Bhallaladeva is the only character arc in all of Bahubali. He doesn't start out bad. He's still testing waters in the Beginning but eventually lands into a madness (I'm not saying Rana portrayed it well - just discussing the writing). However, Bahubali has some of the best character development in Telugu films. Kattapa refusing to go with Sudeep, Sivagami's rajatantram, Sivudu's keenness on scaling the heights, Bijjaladeva's deformity, and Kalakeya's savagery are all instances of the same.
Kanye on 30th Apr 2017, 3:16am | Permalink
Fully agree. I started thinking about the characters and Ballaladeva seems to be the only one that changed.

The other characters seem to be nearly all bad (Nasser, Kalakeyas) from what can be derived by the writing.

But after thinking about it, Ballaladeva wasn't fully bad, just had basic emotions like jealousy and envy and annoyance. So he manipulated his way into getting the throne. But Baahubali was still seen as better and thus he began his downward spiral. If Rana understood that character better, or it was developed with more clarity, it could have easily fetched the movie another rating or two.

Frankly, I was so bombarted with heavy music and drama, I didn't even realize that Ballaladeva killed his own mother. A little more care from Rajamouli and it could'e been so much better.
The Common Movie Goer on 29th Apr 2017, 1:45pm | Permalink
Thanks for correcting me, Josh! I did have them mixed up. Bang on about the diction thing. I tend to think actors tend to have a huge influence on accents, and most of our current crop are lacking in that department. Kind of surprising that we have a lot of star kids who are being groomed from a young age, but still struggle with the language. Maybe dial it back a notch on the gym, and spend more time on the language? With the dancing quotient going down in our movies as well, I wonder where all their efforts are being focused on.

I finally got around to watching Rudramadevi today. I liked it just as much as I liked Satakarni. Those movies had characters I cared about and rooted for. Sure. the protagonists emerge victorious, but they way they get there keeps me emotionally invested. The graphics were pretty bad in Bahubali, but I still see people calling it epic and stellar even though the movie was highly dependent on them. The other two in question were movies which received a lot of vitriol for their graphics, ridiculed to no end, but the graphics were just devices to move the plot forward. I still don't understand why I liked them so much while everybody else hated them.

All said and done, I have to admit SSR is a genius. He is the only one who manages to understand the pulse of the audience and cashes in on it big time. And I am extremely happy for the producers who were able to recover all their costs and more. I just hope this won't be the catalyst for more such movies.

I'll take the Pellichoopulus, Gurus, Raghuvaran BTechs. every single time over so called "magnum opuses." No more Katamarayudus and family-in-a-big-house-confusion-capers (looking at you Gopi Mohan and Vaitla).
Josh on 1st May 2017, 8:28am | Permalink
It depends on things that matter to us, man. I'm particularly keen on a director who has a vision and translates it to film. Gunasekhar and Krissh don't exactly get around to doing it.

While Rajamouli does manage to get the cash registers ringing I like to think that was not his primary concern when he made The Beginning. I like to think he made it the way he enjoys it. I like to think he is an artist (if only a commercial artist) playing with his medium.

We forget all too often that cinema is a director's medium. The stars don't matter. The audience matters only in as far as the film is made for them. The producer may put in his/her money but it's the director's film finally. It isn't just us, the directors themselves seem to have forgotten that. The rare case when a director decides to own their film you get a Pellichoopulu and Guru and the like.
Kanye on 30th Apr 2017, 3:18am | Permalink
Sir, my thoughts exactly.
Ramesh on 28th Apr 2017, 6:37pm | Permalink
7/10 for this spectalur, well scripted movie?? are u gone mad josh?? go n watch it again mr.josh.. it is faaaaaaaaaaaar better than bahubali the beginning. In my view it is 9/10. prabhas as amarendra baahubali acted sooooooo well. He is king of the kings. Anushka too acted well. 1st half is amaaaaazingggggggggggggggggggg... and 2nd half is guddd. Kudos to genius RAJAMOULI
JayZ on 28th Apr 2017, 8:04pm | Permalink
Fanboy alert
JayZ on 28th Apr 2017, 6:18pm | Permalink
Fun fact.


Bahubali autocorrects to Vaginally in my phone....
Harshita on 28th Apr 2017, 6:04pm | Permalink
Have been waiting for your review since this morning.
Not to decide whether to watch it or not... Just to read your perspective.
Very wrll written. . definitely watching it soon.

I like the above comment about the war being seen as it being on a tv !! LoL.
Josh on 28th Apr 2017, 11:30pm | Permalink
Thanks, yaar :)
The Common Movie Goer on 28th Apr 2017, 3:56pm | Permalink
I don't get it, why does everyone like Baahubali the beginning so much? I know I am the odd man out, but for me, it was thoroughly unengaging and poorly scripted. All of the scenes had the feel of been there, seen it. Red Cliff and many older telugu movies were way, way better and had better character development.

I'll definitely watch Baahubali 2, being the hypocrite I am, but I doubt I would feel it to be a 7. Guru was a solid 9.5 for me, I hope this is at least a 4.25 for me.
Josh on 28th Apr 2017, 10:28pm | Permalink
I can't speak for everyone but as far as I'm concerned, Bahubali gave me a legitimate reason to feel Telugu pride. I look for it all the time and all I ever seem to get are fan fearing star vehicles or template comedies. Additionally, there's the megalomania where the hero's achievement is how well he insults other people.

I watch roughly three films a week and I marvel at how even small time film makers in Tamil, Malayalam, Bengali, and Hindi manage to produce their own vision on screen. And people watch that stuff! Seriously, watch Angamaly Diaries or Kirumi or Asha Jaoar Majhe. The only thing that's template about these films is that somebody thought them up in their head and set out to make them. Which Telugu film maker manages to do that? The rare cases someone tries something we have the 'good attempts' to which we politely hand out participation certificates.

The even rarer cases where a vision comes out with craft, we don't watch that Midhunam or Prasthanam. We don't even get to know they released at all.

Week after week I get disappointed and I still look for something to be proud of. All my childhood I was genuinely proud of Ram Gopal Varma. My friends have heard enough of me describing Company/Kshanakshanam/Govinda Govinda... I didn't care if some film went bad. Everybody goofs up. My disillusionment, however, came with the bitter realisation that possibly RGV wasn't goofing up. He just wasn't trying to make good films.

Krishna Vamsi/ Yeleti/ Deva Katta/ Krissh/ Trivikram/ Vaitla/Addala... Each started with their own style. Lots of passion. And eventually something goes wrong. Either you're doing non-descript potboilers or you make unusual films that are also difficult to sit through or you create a rotten style of your own and rub it into people's faces each time promising that this film is "different" from the last.

And in the meanwhile I'm losing my shit about Vettrimaran, Suseenthiran, Anjali Menon, Dibakar Bannerjee, Anwar Rasheed, Alphonse Pothren, Sudha Kongara, Vikas Bahl, Nitesh Tiwari, Pa Ranjith, Lijo Jose, Manikandan, Shoojit Sircar, Rituparno Ghosh, Nalan Kumaraswamy, Arvind Thyagarajan.... Not a single Telugu name there.

I never liked much of Rajamouli's work before Eega. Student no 1 was all right and Yamadonga unremarkable. With both Simhadri and Vikramaarkudu I had difficulty watching women get raped (he makes it particularly disgusting to make us loathe the villain). And Chatrapathi, I didn't bother to watch after I got to know that Keeravani lifted the theme from some German song. And till that point Rajamouli hadn't yet been particularly inventive.

Eega changed all that. I clapped, hooted, hollered, and wept. Ah.. what a film!

And then on the tenth of July, 2015, I finally saw it happen. I saw a Telugu film maker conjure up his own world. He had a vision and decided to put it up on screen. Better than any other Indian film maker had done till then. He writes backstories. He writes a snake twirling around a bow, a Shivalinga rising from water, a baby kept afloat by a submerged lady, a chiseled giant fighting a more massive bison, an extensible mace... phew! And no rape! And two women warriors!!

For the first time in a long while I loved a Telugu film and I wasn't the only one in the theatre and I wasn't the only one that liked it. I don't know if I can explain it better. At that point I didn't care a rat's ass if that shit is implausible - I was too busy gasping at kerosene soaked tentcloth.
Hari on 28th Apr 2017, 6:19pm | Permalink
You are not alone. There was no script in Baahubali. Drama was poor. People just got caught in the hype. Acting/Emoting was a joke. The thing, you get abused if you venture into giving an opinion which is not popular.

My favorite SSR film would still be Eega. Plenty of emotional drama and brilliant imagination there.
Swaroop Thotada on 28th Apr 2017, 5:32pm | Permalink
For me, The Beginning was a strange film. On one hand we have extravagant visual splendor seamlessly married to narrative grit that testifies of a fertile imagination (like how the waterfall is visualized and integrated into the film to establish the character of Shivudu), and in the same film, we see half-baked attempts at depth and drama like the scene where Kattappa and Amarendra form a bond (so clichéd, and the kid's acting is pathetic). Equally ludicrous are Tamanna's acting and the climax fight that frequently intercuts with Nasser's and Ramya Krishna's reactions to the proceedings of the war. The battlefield is shown as a vast plain ending much beyond the horizon and these guys are all over the place, yet people can watch the war like it was a TV show. Sivagami and Kattappa are the only characters that are in any way human. Rest are caricatures. Yet the movie was a satisfying watch, though underwhelming at times. The Adivi Sesh-decapitation scene and the first song salvaged to a great extent, and the grandeur and scale did their trick of course. They are saying The Conclusion is a much better film than the first one.
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