Behind the Movie Bahubali: Called as the ‘Pride of Telugu Cinema’ with an expensive budget spent and enormous hype built around, ‘Bahubali’ is an epic war film which caught the attention of entire Earth planet. From the magnanimous combination of SS Rajamouli, Prabhas, Rana, Keeravani, Anushka and Tamanna, let us see how far the film is worth the hype?
In the Movie Bahubali: Story takes off introducing Mahishmati Kingdom and its neighboring areas beautified with an angelic waterfall. Rajamatha Sivagami (Ramya Krishna), chased by a bunch of soldiers is drowned away in this waterfall saving an infant who grows as Sivudu (Prabhas) in a nearby tribal region.
Sivudu falls in love with camouflage of gorgeously looking Avanthika (Tamanna). To meet her, Sivudu climbs up the vertical drop of waterfall (mountain) wherein he is shocked with a horde of warrior community sketching a plan to rescue Deva Sena (Anushka) held as hostage from last 25 years under a cruel king Bhallala Deva (Rana) and his father Bijjala Deva (Naazar).
As romance buds between Sivudu and Avanthika in no time, our hero takes the trouble of relieving Deva Sena from the clutches of Bhallala Deva. In a hurry, Sivudu enters into Mahishmati Fort facing tough opponent in the form of trusted slave and Army head Kattappa (Sathya Raj). When Kattappa and Sivudu come face to face, Kattappa is left astonished as Sivudu exactly resembles their dead king Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas).
Who is Amarendra Bahubali? How Amarendra Bahubali and Bhallala Deva in leadership of Sivagami fought a war against devastating Kalakeya (Prabhakar)? Who became the King of Mahishmati? All these form rest of flashback.
Values of the Movie Bahubali: For Tollywood, a film on pure war backdrop is absolutely new. When budget for making this project is pegged at anything above 100 Crores or 150 Crores, plainly it’s a big adventure from SS Rajamouli. When his father Vijayendra Prasad had a readily prepared story with complete predictability, it was only a matter of wise scripting for Rajamouli with right emotions and drama where he is an expert at.
For the first time we have seen our ace director wallowing with screenplay. The conceptual depth in emotions or brutal force in Rajamouli’s characterizations or the vitality in drama, all such major ingredients needed for a magnum opus looked to be out of place in ‘Bahubali.’ Screenplay was incompetent and can be best rated as weakest in Rajamouli’s career.
Direction wise, he glared on with few trademark classic moments at certain portions like pre-interval, interval and post-interval blocks yet his major concentration seemed to have lied on enhancing visual beauty on screen rather making the same treat as gripping as possible with a tight narration.
To blame on first, dialogue writing department has done an unsubstantial job. Not even a single line is worth to remember. Instances drawn to stream a romantic track between Sivudu and Avanthika are although creative, poetic with artistic touch; essence required to ripe the chemistry went scanty. Next, the action department is quite shabby and Rajamouli failed in exploiting the best stunts from a macho hero like Prabhas. A disoriented Jakkanna was also hurried to throw the end card for Part 1.
Among the positives, Rajamouli was awe inspiring in canning the war episodes which covers the whole of second half. He fashioned new kinds of attacks which should be a lesson to follow for Hollywood directors. His visualization of ‘Dheevara’ song is also master piece work. ‘Pachcha Bottesina’ song… whether it was Rajamouli or Raghavendra Rao, who directed it? Each and every frame, Rajamouli’s physical hard work was profoundly visible. Special applause to Kalakeya character design and the language, they invented. In addition to all, more of attentiveness into narration and lucidity in content could have saved film by big time.
Thanks to the strong attitude from Art Department of Sabu Cyril, each and every artist or set work helped a strong character registration. Senthil’s camera traversed in best possible ways communicating with waterfalls, deadly weapons, armory etc. He is forever reliable in Rajamouli team. Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao’s editing is unsteady. There was plenty of dross which might need immediate trimming. For example when Kichcha Sudeepa has nothing to do with main story (in Part 1), why is his role? Should we call it a scripting loose-end or editing fault?
Coming to music, MM Keeravani’s songs aren’t rewarding as his past best. Though many of the songs come as part of story narration, none of them registered. Item song is a total miscarriage just like his fainted background music. All in all, Keeravani demoted the final result. On to the VFX, entire team is worth to gain a special applause. You guys were just amazing. The reason why, audience struck to their seats is fascinating work from Makuta, Firefly and Prasad under the supervision of Srinivas Mohan. Lavish production values of ARKA Media are visible throughout. Hats Off to their passion.
Among the performances, if there is anyone who is wasted in ‘Bahubali’ my first priority vote would be for Prabhas. Where is the ferocity and courageous heroism we have seen in ‘Chatrapathi’ kind of films? It’s again the tirade of criticism one should target at Rajamouli for leaving a pale impact with Sivudu in first half and ‘Bahubali’ in second half. In contrast, Daggubati Rana shined bright as Bhallala Deva. He got a dashing introduction, energetic dialogues and superior body language to exhibit. Both of them were awesome in second half war scenes. Anushka is just wasted with an unrevealed characterization. After Rana, it is Tamanna is a show stealer in first half. She is drop dead gorgeous in songs and then went deglamorized as per the demand of role. Tamanna was fine in sword fights too. Ramya Krishna is elegantly all authoritative. Her attire selection, resonant dialogue utterance and powerful mannerisms bought life into the story. Among all, Sathya Raj being a generation bridge to connect Bahubali and Sivudu with patrons, he enjoyed a lengthy screen time. Both Ramya Krishna and Sathya Raj are the honor of ‘Bahubali.’ Prabhakar as Kalakeya did a formidable job. Next, Naazar is wasted like Kichcha Sudeepa. Among the rest like Tanikella, Rohini, Adivi Sesh etc remained for name sake. Scarlett Wilson, Gabriela Bertante and Nora Fatehi were red hot in item song. Hey folks, we even have Rajamouli's special appearance in the film just before this item song.
Out of the Movie Bahubali: The first impression majority would get watching the film is, ‘How Worth Was It Keeping Bahubali under Production Mode For Three Years?’ Any amateur viewer can easily point on Rajamouli’s preoccupied enthusiasm for War Episodes has let the film to go high in production cost. General bewilderment creeps into story when the original script beamed to be shot in less than three hours is expanded into two parts. So, characterizations and their behavior left some of audience distracted.
Running a story for the very cause of Deva Sena without acknowledging her relation with ‘Bahubali’ visually is likely to create some sort of confusion. There are plenty of references one would jot down in line to target Rajamouli. Starting from his own ‘Magadheera’ to Hollywood inspirations ‘Troy, Lord of the Rings, Hercules’ etc, Rajamouli was on non-stop work. However, any such did not help the snail paced narration further dissipated energy in viewers.
All in all, ‘Bahubali’ has nothing creative and novel in story and execution. Rajamouli approach for this project isn’t as qualitative as his past bests. He failed to instill the exact soul into his concept. For example, Prabhas rescuing Anushka from Rana or Prabhas, Tamanna in snow avalanche are nowhere near to Rajamouli mark.
May be due to inconsistent team work or inappropriately high time spent on production, the result is not up to Rajamouli standards. Mind blowing visual effects and breath-taking visuals are the only USP of ‘Bahubali.’ As read many times, this film certainly raised the technical standards of Telugu cinema and Rajamouli is man behind such credit.
Commercially, ‘Bahubali’ is all set to open for thunder storms at ticket counters. How far and how long will war episodes alone save this film has to be wait and seen. For more precision into the whole story of 'Bahubali,' be optimistic on Rajamouli to kickstart 'Bahubali - The Conclusion' because he left many threads open in this exhaustive first part leaving patrons in disappointment with an abrupt ending.
Cinejosh Verdict of Bahubali: Not Up To The Expectations.
Cinejosh Rating: 3/5
Reviewed by Srivaas