The expression in the heading “cometh the hour cometh the man”, fits perfectly for the story told in the movie, “Bahubali”, and the Director of the Magnum Opus, “S S Rajamouli”, alike. The movie tells the story of a warrior-prince who at a critical juncture in his life has to fight against all the odds for the survival of himself and his loved ones. Likewise, just at the hour when the Phoenix, that is Indian Cinema, started to flutter its wings, Rajamouli, through his creations, catapulted it right onto the central stage of World Cinema. First, with is arrival-announcing epic-fantasy “Magadheera”, then with the concept-driven revenge-animation, “Eega” and now with the galactic-proportioned visual spectacle, “Bahubali”.
The sheer magnitude of visual richness and production quality places “Bahubali” directly in competition with the special effects-filled gigantic productions of Hollywood. Though filled with some over-dramatic scenes and action sequence glitches, a strong foundation laid out by a neatly written script and perfectly planned production design cancels out all the aforementioned shortcomings.
Bahubali is that masterwork which bears, top-to-bottom, the mark of its sculptor, S S Rajamouli. The multi-layered complexity associated usually with such a grand-scale project is safe in the hands of the master craftsman. After watching the ancient tale of “Kingdom of Mahishmathi” the announced budget for the movie, 250-crore, pops-up in your mind posing a question as how on earth did Rajamouli managed to pull this off with a such a mediocre budget.
Most of the punchlines before the release of “Bahubali” said, “Rajamouli takes South Cinema to Bollywood”, but those who saw the film would agree, the real punchline should be, “Rajamouli takes Indian Cinema to global level.”
Coming to the inside details of the film, nothing to reveal about the story, as its been only a day since the release and the last thing everyone expect from a review is a spoiler, so mum is the word regarding the story. Among the other touchable areas, first comes the art direction. The mammoth sets, perpetuating the true essence, aesthetics and aura of the ancient times is the life of the movie and a feast for our eyes which Sabu Cyril, the art director, handled quite spectacularly. He deserves a zillion accolades for that.
Then comes the cast. The title role of Amarendra Bahubali’s and his son Sivudu’s roles are portrayed by Prabhas. Until now, Prabhas was caged inside a bunch of youth-oriented pot-boilers but with Bahubali he breaks all the typecasts mandated upon him and delivers an impressive performance with his first ever big break as an actor. Rana Duggabati as the evil-minded Bhallala Deva continues to enjoy big-stage success back-to-back as his last huge movie outing “Baby” in Hindi too was a hit. This may prove to be one of those important steps for him towards a destined stardom. Tamannaah, as Avantika-a young warrior girl-is as beautiful as a fairy in song sequences and the like. She gets a fair amount of scenes to display her acting prowess where she sails through unhurt but still not polished enough to be considered as a versatile actor. Anushka as Devasena is clad in a heavy make-up where she provides complete justification to her character leaving clear indications that there is more from her in the second part. Nassar as the Shakuni-like Bijjala Deva, Rohini as a tribal lady and Prabhakar as Kalakeya-a deadly warlord all essayed with ease their respective roles.
The biggest surprise packages among the cast are, of course, the two veterans, Sathyaraj and Ramya Krishnan. Both time and again proved their caliber through an array of yester-year performances and in Bahubali, once again, both quite elegantly showcase their never-extinguishable fire of talent. Sathyaraj as Kattappa and Ramya Krishnan as Queen Shivagami are as stellar as ever.
The music and background score of Bahubali deserves a special mention. To say the truth, M M Keeravani is outstanding in that department and the songs and BGM scores will keep reverberating inside the minds of the audience long after they had left the theater premises. The music simply enhances the overall feel and mood of the story told in the movie.
Cinematography by Rajamouli’s regular, K K Senthil Kumar is world class and so is the editing by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao.
Bahubali, most probably will divide the history of South Indian Cinema as before and after S S Rajamouli. Bahubali is the Titanic which evaded all the destructive icebergs en-route its journey, to successfully reach its destination, the audiences’ heart. The captain of the ship, S S Rajamouli, deserves all the praises.
A big bow to you sir….