If this man demands a 100 crore to make a movie adaptation of ‘The Hare and the Tortoise’, you can hand over that money to S.S. Rajamouli. For you know he will not change a damn thing about the tale and still come up with an epic cinematic experience. For in Rajamouli, you can trust!
Be it a standard reincarnation tale like Magadheera or a revenge tale like Eega that made a fly give other superstars a run for their money, you know Rajamouli is a man in sync with the pulse of the audience. And then with Baahubali, he got the entire nation to sit up and take notice as he went about creating a visual extravaganza for audience. The fact that it managed to capture the entire nation is proved by the pre-release response the movie is getting all over. Nearly two years after the original, comes the conclusion to the epic Baahubali tale. And you realize that here is a storyteller who shows us that it is not always about the story, but it is the telling that matters.
Getting back to the magnum opus, the fantasy epic Baahubali 2 :The Conclusion goes right into where it left off after a glorious title sequence into the flashback mode where Kattapa continues to narrate the tale on how Amarendra Baahubali , the man slated for the throne, ends up meeting his lady love Devasena (Anushka Shetty) and how the situation is exploited by his evil step brother BhallaDeva (Rana) and his father to create a rift between the Queen mother Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) and prince Amarendra Baahubali.
As the story heads towards the big reveal surrounding the demise of our central character, Rajamouli ensures that there is no mistaking of Baahubali as anything but a true pan Indian desi affair by making the central issue of the film around the Saas-Bahu. This gives Anushka and Ramya Krishnan ample scope to dazzle and in fact steal the limelight from the men around. Even the mighty Baahubali turns helpless and stands no chance when stuck in the domestic crossfire between the two women in his life.
The action sequences in the first half, including a battle sequence when Devasena’s kingdom is attacked, are major highlights and are all creatively staged like in the original. Add to that sequences in the courtroom and the coronation sequence. And then the build up towards the moment which has been the talked about (and rather overhyped) in Indian cinematic history – Why did Kattapa kill Baahubali?
On the flip side, post the flashback sequences, what follows is a rather rushed climax which is odd in pacing as it all seems all too sudden especially considering the painstaking running time that was devoted to the flashback. The special effects in these portions fail to live up to the demands of the vision. And it did not stack up well, in my opinion, against the wow-inducing moments that the film kept spoiling us with until that point. This may seem in total contrast to the jaw dropping climatic battle sequence we experienced in the original.
The movie is certainly like an Amar Chitra Katha coming alive and the characters too seem like ones popping from one of those books. The good guys talk incessantly about moral values and dharma, while the baddies keep themselves occupied with their evil schemes. Therefore as everything becomes too white or black and rather predictable, it is the complex character in between that really managed to shine forth. This is where the characters of Devasena, Sivagami , Kattapa really come to the fore and makes the screenplay interesting when Baahubali-Bhalladeva are not locking horns.
Prabhas charms his way through the dual roles of Baahubali with aplomb. Such a big budget extravaganza riding on his shoulders is indeed a huge herculean task but he has come out standing tall and majestic at the end of it all. And to think that he was never the first choice for the role. The man has owned the role that you cannot imagine anyone in his shoes now. Rana Daggubati plays perfect foil to the might of Baahubali. Anushka sizzles as Devasena while Ramya Krishnan embodies the fierce and royal Sivagami. Sathyaraj as Kattapa did tend to go overboard in the comic portions but really comes to his own in the latter half. Nasser is his usual dependable self while Tammannah and veteran Rohini come back for the obligatory appearances in the climax portions.
But here is a movie for once, where the cast ain’t the real stars. The true stars are the ones behind the screen and a salute to each one of the technical team under Rajamouli. Be it the writing of KV Vijeyendra Prasad, cinematography by Senthil Kumar, art direction of Sabu Cyril, or the action by Peter Hein, everyone has stepped up to deliver the vision of Rajamouli. Though the background score seem fitting, the songs from M M Keeravani still continue to remain the weak link. And last but not least, the VFX team under the leadership of Kamalakannan without which none of them would have been possible.
It is a team work of several dedicated years that has come to this culmination and Indian cinema will never be the same after what this team has pulled off. All these collections of crores and super star vehicles that the Indian film industry has been obsessed with has been blown away by the Baahubali franchise , defying all set rules and notions of what a true Indian blockbuster is. Released in four languages (Hindi/Tamil/Telugu/Malayalam), the movie will go on to rewrite history and all this with no major superstar. A visionary like Rajamouli is truly going places and with him, so shall the Indian industry.
BAAHUBALI 2: The Conclusion is a movie about promises. Every character out there seems to be making a promise or the other and come hail or storm, they never go back on their word driving the plot forward. And thankfully the makers too does not go back on their word and instead, ensures the tale they set out to tell is wrapped up in the sequel itself without dragging things for a third or a fourth installment. But the real question is has the film maker SS Rajamouli kept his promise of delivering us an iconic film in Indian cinema history? Without a doubt, oh hell yeah!