Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Review of Baahubali : The Beginning

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Cast: Prabhas (Amarendra Baahubali & Shivudu alias Mahendra Baahubali), Rana Daggubati (Bhallala Deva), Tamannaah (Avantika), Anushka Shetty (Devasena), Sathyaraj (Kattappa), Nassar (Bijjala Deva), Ramya Krishnan (Sivagami), Rohini (Shivudu’s mother Sanga), Adivi Sesh (Bhadrudu), Tanikella Bharni, Sudeep (Aslam Khan), Nora Fatehi (cameo), Scarlett Mellish Wilson (cameo), Gabriela Bertante (cameo)
Direction: S. S. Rajamouli
Produced by: Shobu Yarlagadda, Prasad Devineni
Screenplay: S. S. Rajamouli, Rahul Koda, Madhan Karky, V Vijayendra Prasad
Story : V Vijayendra Prasad
Music: M.M. Keeravani (lyrics by Manoj Muntashir in Hindi)
Cinematography: K. K. Senthil Kumar
Edited by: Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao
Production Company: Arka Media Works
Distributed by: Dharma Productions (in Hindi) (Telugu – Arka Media Works; Tamil – Studio Green, UV Creations; Malayalam – Global United Media)  
Release Date: 10th July, 2015
Duration: 159 minutes
Language: Hindi

About Baahubali – The Beginning: This is supposed to be one of the most expensive film (approximately 250 crore) in the history of Indian Cinema. It is a two-part Telugu Epic film written and directed by S. S. Rajamouli (Eega fame – Makhi in Hindi). It is simultaneously made in Tamil as well and dubbed in Hindi, Malayalam and French. Karan Johar presents the Hindi version. The first part has seen its release on 10th July, 2015 and the second part (Baahubali – The Conclusion) will be released in 2016. It is reported that some of the great scenes in the movie are shot in Rock Garden of Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh and a few other scenes are shot at Ramoji Film city as well as in Kerala (Adirapalli waterfall). It has two national award winning technicians, music director Keeravani and production designer Sabu Cyril. A battle scene is shot for 20 minutes, and it took almost four months to shoot. The movie has 2000 junior artists, 600 technicians, horses, elephants etc. The film contains approximately 4500 visual effects and computer graphics. Baahubali: The Beginning has been styled and spelled as bāhubaLi in posters and screen.

Rajamouli’s magnum opus has been designed on a very high scale, be it its production design, visual appeal, background score or narration. The war sequences shot in the movie have feel of Mahabharata (Even Rajamouli has mentioned in the media during his interviews that he was highly inspired from the epic Mahabharata). Some awe-inspiring visuals gave me goosebumps, especially magnificent waterfall shots and palaces.

As the name conveys, Baahubali means the one with strong arms. This first part of the movie introduces the story of Shivudu aka Shiva (Prabhas), his search for the reasons of being identified as Baahubali, and later unfolds the story of two brothers and their contest for the dynasty of Mahishmathi Kingdom. Indeed certain plots are larger than life and could have been unbelievable in the non-epic format, but the whole screenplay makes it very much integral part of the film. Lot of minute details is taken into consideration. Pre-intermission, every character is introduced so that the right background is set further.

The movie begins with introducing Mahishmati Kingdom and the nearby areas through map. It is heavy downpour, and we see Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), who is injured badly and also hurt with an arrow pierced at the back, trying to save herself and a newly born infant from the enemies who are following her. She fights back and tries to put a brave front. She gets drowned but she keeps her arm with the child above the water level, whom she names as Mahender Baahubali. A group of tribal people rescues the child, whereas Sivagami loses her life. One amongst the tribal, Sanga (Rohini) adopts the child and brings him up as Shivudu / Shiva. He grows up completely ignorant of his lineage. Even as a child, Shiva was fascinated with the waterfall and the mountain, and he used to try climbing the same in spite of Sanga’s emotional blackmailing. Destiny makes Shiva meet feisty warrior Avantika (Tamannaah), and he also ultimately climbs the mountain with waterfall. He gets a new purpose which makes him land in Mahishmati Kingdom.

Post-intermission gets more gripping and riveting. The movie showcases the story of Mahishmati Kingdom. What could be the purpose of Shiva in going to Mahishmati Kingdom? What power play happens in the kingdom which resulted in the initial scene of injured Sivagami trying to save the child. Who was Shivgami ? How was Mahender Baahubali identified by people at the kingdom, though he went there for the first time? What is the story of two brothers Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas in double role) and Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati)?  How does the character of Kattappa (warrior slave of the kingdom) shape up in the film?

Certain scenes are awesome and breathtaking viz. Shiva’s attempt to climb the mountain with waterfall, Bhallala Deva’s (Rana Daggubati) fight with bull with bare hands, Shiva’s attempt to move and carry shrine stone on his shoulder, his deep dive in between the valleys of the mountain, swinging from vines so as to climb the waterfall, people at the kingdom erecting a golden statue etc. The 20-minute battle scene deserves a special mention. Very nicely shot.

Every actor in this film has done so much justice to their characters, be it Rana, Prabhas, Ramya, Sathyaraj, Nassar, Anushka, Rohini etc.

The first half although has some amazing shots, the second half steals the show with the story unfolding in a magnificent manner. Dubbed version has some lip sync issues as well.

The last frame of this movie definitely makes one look forward to its second part releasing in 2016. Although, it seems predictable, but Rajamouli’s treatment of the plot is certainly going to be interesting and worth watching.

Rajamouli’s magnum opus “Baahubali : The Beginning” is spectacular, visually appealing.

Rating: 4/5 (Very Good)