It has been long time since I saw such an enthusiastic audience response to a movie which does not feature any of the three reigning Khans ( as a matter of fact, I can’t remember such response in any Khan’s movie of lately) and which is in fact a dubbed movie from South film industry which to a common northerner in India usually consists of gravity defying stunts, over the top dialogues and cringe-worthy situations. In fact, there was a time when I cannot even bear a south movie being played on Hindi movie channels, I just unsubscribed from Star Gold and Set Max which were hell bent on airing south indian flicks.
However the much hyped magnum opus, Baahubali touted as the India’s largest motion picture, from the veteran director SS Rajamouli of Telegu film industry has not only managed to shatter the box-office opening records but has also established a new milestone in Indian Film Industry as a whole showing the world that the rich legacy of Indian mythology combined with the effective use of modern VFX and CGI techniques can achieve wonders by grand visual story telling of Indian history and war stories.
Baahubali-The beginning which is a first installment of the two part series is a 150 minute action drama where viewers cannot stop wondering at the sheer scale and huge canvas of the movie with breathtaking shots of waterfall; the grand sets of ancient kingdom and an epic never before war scene spanning over 25 minutes. Made over a budget of 250 crores, with as many as 800 technical persons working on the technical team Baahubali took over 3 years to complete with one year spent only in pre-production; the largest for any Indian movie.
Story, Screenplay and Direction
Baahubali is not just a film relying only on camera work and VFX visuals but low in content, as SS Rajamouli has carved a brilliant tale ; which although has some of its elements inspired from the Indian epic Mahabharat as well as some elements from Hollywood flick 300; but manages to keep the viewers on edge of their seats throughout the movie with its crisp screenplay and direction. In fact, the surprising climax where this first installment has ended has left the viewers with a keen anticipation for the second installment which is slated for release in 2016.
However, this does not mean that Baahubali is perfect in all ways as the editing of film could have been a lot better and the pace of film which drops at certain places could be hugely improved if songs were entirely omitted from the movie particularly the item number which seems a forced addition to the movie and do not serve any purpose in the overall narration.
The stellar cast of the movie featuring south stars Prabhas, Tamanna, Ramya Krishna and Rana Daggubati of Baby fame, along with an equally compelling supporting casts complement the vision of the director excellently with their brilliant performances. Prabhas has effortlessly pulled off the roles of both a common person transitioning into a warrior as well as that of a prince fighting and leading the army in the brilliantly shot war sequence. On the other hand, the Hulk like Rana Daggubati looks absolutely lethal in the negative role perfectly matching Prabhas in both looks and acting. However, the performance which is specially worth mentioning is that of South industry’s heartthrob Anushka Shetty who despite having a lesser screen time and fewer dialogues, not only shocks the audience with her intense portrayal of a chained mother in the palace but has also succeeded in the huge risk of playing a mother’s role, different than her typical previous glamorous roles.
Overall, it would not be an exaggeration to say that Baahubali, despite some of the minor shortcomings is a treat to watch and is a piece of cinematic brilliance with visual effects matching to Hollywood standards and an equally effective storytelling; something which every Indian cinema fan can boast of in times to come.
PS: I cannot wait to see the impact of Baahubali on our very own Bajrangi Bhaijaan releasing this week, as going by the collections and largely positive word of mouth (currently Baahubali boasts of 9.4 rating on IMDb), it definitely looks like it would be quite difficult for the weird and often repeated typical Salman style to match the Baahubal of Baahubali.