Baahubali – Movie review

I wasn’t very sure whether this movie will release in Geneva but thanks to the small Telugu community in Geneva, the movie got released. Telugu is such a sweet language and I enjoy listening to Telugu songs. This is my first Telugu movie in a theater.

We have seen many times in the past where a big build up and hype will be created around a movie that it is the first of its kind ever made in India with such a grand scale and that the movie was the answer to Hollywood. Finally, when you watch the film, you will end up complaining about the poor quality visual effects, shaky storyline and waste of money spent for the ticket. Later, the same hype creators will come and explain how they had limited budget and with that budget, this was the best they could offer. But Baahubali lives up to the hype and Director SS Rajamouli doesn’t offer any excuses.

After watching Kaakamuttai, I was convinced that storytelling doesn’t require ‘grandeur’ and ‘glitter’. But within two weeks, SS Rajamouli proved me wrong. If you are telling a ‘Raja Rani’ story, then you need a gargantuan stage and a pompous show. It is not just any show. It is THE show and it is the biggest SHOW Indian cinema has ever seen.For the first time, I felt that this movie is really the answer to Hollywood war movies and you can proudly show to your international friends that India can produce such films of the highest quality.

The film starts with a brilliant opening sequence involving Ramya Krishnan as the queen trying to escape with a baby in hand and when it stops with her hand holding the baby in storming river, you are already into the movie. The first half sails smoothly establishing the characters and the plot with some tasteful scenes. The hero, Prabhas, is unconventionally good. When he unearths the linga and walks by carrying it in his shoulders, his physique makes you believe that he can carry something of that size. Rana Daggubati looks majestic and with Prabhas, they make you feel that kings are indeed strong and macho. Great selection! It was heartbreaking to see my favourite heroine Anushka as the incarcerated queen but she is good as usual. Ramya Krishnan gives a commanding performance as the queen while Tamannah, Sathyaraj and Nasser play convincing roles in the film.

The second half was magic on the screen. The war strategies that they adopt have not been seen in any international war movie and the visual effects plus art direction was top notch. I was in the industry for 7 years and this work is by far the best I have seen in Indian cinema. Also, the war scenes are day light shots which gives little room to ‘mask’ things. The Art director deserves special appreciation for creating that imaginary world with such detail. The scale, the set design, the texture and the props were very appropriate and they immerse you into the world. The camerawork needs mention especially the scale that he created for the waterfalls and for the war sequence. The VFX team has done an exceptional job giving life to the art director’s vision to create the kingdom. The editor and VFX team deliver the best war sequence ever seen on Indian cinema and it was mind blowing.

SS Rajamouli, the maker stands out. He stands tall with his vision and ambition and he executed his vision with such finesse. With Eega, he showed his storytelling abilities using a technology medium and in this movie, he showed what is possible with the technology. He held a fine balance between getting the grandeur through CG while keeping a decently tight storyline. With all the complexities that would naturally force you to get lost, as we have seen in the past, SS Rajamouli stays firmly put keeping his story-line not dominated by CG. He delivered world class quality with a shoe string budget for a movie of this scale.

The climax scene was beautifully shot and Prabhas roars like a lion in Silhouette. I am waiting for Part 2 but this movie has already made me feel proud about the possibilities created by this wonderful director.

Telugu cinema has given Indian cinema a renewed hope and belief that sky is the limit provided one has the audacity to dream and deliver. SS Rajamouli has shown how a regional film, if made well, can capture the minds of audiences across the world. He has re-defined himself as one of the finest directors in the world who can tell convincing stories in such grand scale and defined that the maker is bigger than everyone when it comes to film-making.

Bāgā jarugutundi! బాగా జరుగుతుంది (used google translator)

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