Banner: Arca Media
Cast: Prabhas, Rana, Anushka Shetty, Tamannah, Ramya Krishna, Nasser, Sathyaraj, Sudeep, Adivi Sesh, and others
Story: Vijayendra Prasad
Dialogues: Ch Vijay Kumar, Ajay Kumar G
Music: M M Keeravani
Cinematography: K K Senthil Kumar
Editor: Kotagiri Venkateshwara Rao
Production Designer: Sabu Cyril
Producers: Shobu Yarlagadda and Prasad Devineni
Presented by: K Raghavendra Rao
Screenplay and Direction: S S Rajamouli
Release Date: July 10, 2015
Never in the history of Telugu cinema was a film made with such budget nor did any Telugu movie create such a buzz in the national and international media. Rajamouli's Baahubali is undoubtedly the most-awaited movie of the year. Amidst gargantuan expectations and mania surrounding the movie, Baahubali has arrived! So does it live up to all the hype? Let’s check out.
The film narrates a fictional historical story set in the fictional provincial kingdom of Mahismati. The story starts off with queen Sivagami (Ramya Krishna) leaving a newborn child on the banks of river to save him from enemies. Some tribal people rescue the child and raise him as Sivudu (Prabhas). The story forwards to some years and Sivudu is now a youngster.
At the same time in the province of Mahismati, King Bhallaladeva (Rana), a ruthless king who treats his citizens as slaves, has kept queen Devasena (Anushka) as a prisoner. Kattappa, who oversees the slaves, is loyal to Devasena but is helpless. Hiding secretly outside the kingdom, a warrior gang is waiting to free Devasena. One of the gang members is Avanthika (Tamannah). Sivudu who is bewitched by the beauty of Avanthika, wins her love with his heroic feats and promises that he would free Devasena.
Who is Devasena, who actually is Sivudu, and more importantly who is Baahubali?
We can clearly see Prabhas has put in his heart and blood into the movie and the two characters that he has portrayed. He has worked hard for the movie for three years and has transformed his body to be the fiery royal king Baahubali and the burning Sivudu. It is a scene to be beheld when he lifts huge Sivalingam on his broad shoulders. In the battle sequences too, he is pitch perfect. Although there is consistency in his performances, the beauty lies in his towering screen presence.
Surprisingly, Rana as Bhallaladev, the antagonist is also perfect and gets equal prominence to Prabhas. Rana is seen in single role but with two shades.
In an author backed role of Sivagami, the rajamata of Mahismati, Ramya Krishna delivers stellar performance. She is outstanding. Anushka has very little role, hardly makes any impression.
Tamannah as Avanthika is drop dead gorgeous in songs but pale in delivering performance as the warrior princess.
Nasser as evil Bijjala Deva, Sathya Raj in the role of slave warrior Kattappa, Prabhakar as Kalakeya the warlord make strong impressions and they are pillars to the story as well. Kannada superstar Sudeep and director Rajamouli make cameo appearances.
Major strength and highlight of the movie is high technical values. Rajamouli’s movies have always been visually rich and technically sound with glitzy visual effects. No one can find a blemish in these departments with all technical crew working in unison to give the best output for this movie.
Senthil Kumar, the longtime associate of Rajamouli, is first rate as he made it a visual spectacle with usage of wide shots and Bird's-eye view camera angles.
Sets! Ah, they are truly magnificent. The award winning production designer Sabu Cyril has created grand sets that can be compared with Hollywood epic movies. Senthil and Sabu Cyril have created a world that looks rich on the screen.
Sound design and background musical score (by M M Keeravani) is one of the prime factors that have made Baahubali a great audio-visual experience. The movie has only three songs. Rajamouli has tipped his hat to his guru Raghavendra Rao in filming the hot romantic song on Prabhas and Tamannah.
Peter Hein action choreography is first rate. Editing should have been better as many fights seem very lengthy. Makeup is bad especially Anushka’s getup is gawky.
- Spectacular visuals with high end graphics
- Gigantic sets and grand production design
- Prabhas and Ramya Krishna’s stellar performances
- Outstanding camera work
- Picturization of Deewara and Paccha Bottu songs
- No emotional grip
- Uneven pace
- Dull moments in the midway
- Abrupt ending
With Baahubali, Rajamouli has not only dreamed big but has also raised the bar of Telugu cinema in terms of film making values. For more than two and half years, he has invested his mind, body and soul into this.
The effort, the hard work, the dedication he has poured into this dream project is evident from the beginning of the movie. The scale, the canvas is huge. His execution is on international standards. He chose a weak folklore story to tell in gigantic manner rich with visuals.
Prabhas in Sivudu’s role wants to climb up the mountain and mammoth waterfall to know what lies behind it. That sequence (Dheevara song) is shot in a visually alluring manner. Great CGI work! Then there are some stunning action episodes that can be compared with best of Hollywood movies.
Two action episodes in particular – hero and heroine escaping as the avalanche zooming in on them, and battle sequence in the end are totally on another level.
Having said this, Baahubali is not epic movie as it has been advertised. Baahubali isn't fool-proof either. In fact, it does have many loopholes. Apart from some first rate action episodes, the movie struggles with underdeveloped characters.
The real story of the movie is kept for second part leaving us to experience an incomplete movie. Uneven pace is another major drawback. There is no emotional quotient in the story unlike all Rajamouli’s movies.
The story is not out of the box. Indeed the story is straight out of the folklore stories that we have heard in our childhood or read in Amar Chitra Katha.
After Sivagami asks his two sons to find out who the thief is, the narration goes down with silly item song but the movie comes back on track towards the end as it reaches the final battle sequence shot on Kalayakey warlord, Prabhas and Rana.
All in all, a film that makes Telugu film industry proud, a film that makes giant leap in commercial movie making despite uneven storytelling and weak climax.
Baahubali is made in two parts and this is only half of the story that we have seen. The story here ends as if it were intermission.
At the end of the movie, you get a feeling that it has everything but something is missing. An unfinished movie experience, you’d feel certainly. Watch it for its visuals, Rajamouli’s technical wizardry only.
Bottomline: Visually Stunning!
(Venkat can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or https://twitter.com/greatandhranews)