Before you start reading this, I would like to alert you that if you haven’t seen the movie yet and you plan to watch it, then please avoid reading this. I just might reveal the plot … or maybe not.
‘This is so grand!” That was what I kept thinking, as I watched the movie ‘Bahubali 2 – The Conclusion’, on the huge celluloid.
But before I write on the second part of the Bahubali series, let me say something about the first venture.
The first time I heard about Bahubali was when I read that director S.S. Rajamouli was making a movie on the lines of his previous blockbuster ‘Magadheera’, which was a socio-fantasy movie. I had loved Magadheera, its story, visuals, stunts and the breathtaking special effects. I wondered if he could recreate that magic again. Soon, Bahubali – The Beginning released and became a mega hit overnight. But the vast impact it had across regions was unimaginable.
The euphoria that arose after the first part, Bahubali – The Beginning released, is not unknown to all. The story of the prince of the Mahishmati kingdom, who grew up unknown of his illustrious heritage, his journey back to the land of his ancestors without realising that he hailed from the place and finally learning about his father, a tale that ended on a cliffhanger – Why did the trusted slave, Katappa kill Amarendra Bahubali?
So much buzz the first movie had created, that the wait for the sequel seemed never ending. And watching it on a big screen became a necessity. Although the movie was released in many languages, the obvious choice for me was to watch it in Telugu.
The story in Bahubali 2 continued from where it had left off in the first part. The special effects are in play right away. It’s difficult for a layman to detect which is real and which ones aren’t. Prabhas’s entry is as majestic as the ferocious computerized elephant that he manages to calm down.
Thereon the story moves towards how Bahubali meets his love Devasena, he princess of Kuntala kingdom. Their love story is filled with subtle but effective comedy thanks to the misadventures of Devasena’s cousin Kumara Varma. But soon the story turns grim when Bahubali loses his claim to be king, later is banished from the kingdom and eventually is killed by his trusted ally, Katappa. Once the flashback concludes, it is a battle to the end, vanquishing the evil Bhallaladeva and thereon the King of Mahishmati, Mahendra Bahubali, ascending to his rightful place on the throne.
It is heartwarming to see the close relationship that Bahubali shares with Katappa. From childhood, through his growing up years and even when Bahubali meets the love of his life, Katappa is with him like a father figure and a friend, guiding him and protecting him throughout. Therefore, it is heartbreaking to watch the penultimate scenes before Katappa kills Bahubali.
It is a welcoming change to see all three main female characters, i.e. Sivagami, Devasena and Avantika, as brave warriors. Unlike many movies with strong male protagonists, the women in Bahubali are not meek, but are strong characters who are able to fight for themselves against any adversity. This also includes Sanga, Mahendra Bahubali’s foster mother, who makes all the decisions pertaining to her adopted son, protecting him throughout his younger years.
The special effects used in the duet song on the ship are breathtaking. The ship literally transforms into a flying dream boat. The sails of the ship are transformed into wings and the ship flies away into the clouds to a dreamy space. The beautiful colours that the sky keeps changes into and the formations that take place are a sight to watch.
The fight scenes and the battle scenes are extraordinary. Swords, bows & arrows, spears, massive shields, armors, chariots with spinning swords – every weapon that were used in battles are shown. Not only that, the strategies that are used to defeat the enemies, are extraordinary. Be it, ripping off the dam to drown the Pindhari dacoits, whose modus operandi was to drown their victims in rivers; converting a tree into a lightning rod, by which it is set on fire and used to destroy the revenging Kalakeyas, making catapults out of palm trees with the help of which, the warriors fly over the walls of the closed fort. Clearly, these are hard to describe scenes. One has to actually go and see to experience the magnificence that is exuded on the big screen.
There have been many references about the characters and storyline being inspired from the great epics Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Of course, there is a talk about many scenes being inspired from other movies. But for now, I will ponder on the epics.
The basic plot of most stories is about identifying the rightful heir to the throne and thus a battle ensuing to decide the same, usually between siblings and close relatives. The whole of Mahabharata revolves around this plot.
So, we have Bijjaladeva, who is an interesting combination of the characters of Dhritarashtra and Sakuni. Though Bijjaladeva is the elder son, he has a diabled hand and a crooked nature, because of which his younger brother is made the king. Due to this, Bijjaladeva develops an acute disliking for his brother and later, his brother’s son.
Bijjaladeva’s wife is Sivagami Devi, who is what Gandhari would have been if she hadn’t tied a cloth to her eyes, hence turning a blind eye to all the wrongdoings of her brother and sons. Instead, after passing away of her brother-in-law and co-sister, she takes over the functioning of the Mahishmati empire and also brings up the the late king’s son, Amarendra Bahubali along with her own son, Bhallaladeva. She becomes the Rajmata, the Queen Mother to the kingdom. She gives equal rights to both and when the time comes, chooses the right king without being partial to her own son. Like Kaikeyi, she loves both her sons. But again like Kaikeyi, she falls trap to influential talks and makes Bhallaladeva the king. Later, she also banishes Bahubali and his wife from the kingdom, only to repent later.
Bhallaladeva, the main antagonist, is Bijjaladeva and Sivagami’s son. He definitely is the Duryodhana of the story. But he is a tad better as the antagonist. While Duryodhan never hid his despise for the Pandavas and always plotted against them, Bhallaladeva never let anyone know his true intent. Except for his father and trusted followers, no one had a clue that he was anything other than an obedient son and a doting elder brother. With his honey coated words and mellowed behavior, he managed to fool his unsuspecting mother and the ever alert Katappa as well. Not until he had accomplished his goals, did he reveal his true self. This antagonist knew how to play his cards very well. Like a shrewd chess player, he plays his moves intelligently. The only thing he didn’t anticipate was the huge public support that Bahubali continued to gain. The oath taking ceremony gives him a strong reminder of that.
Katappa, the royal slave of the Mahishmati kingdom is destined to follow the orders of the ruler of the kingdom. His character reminds one of Bhishma who had vowed to never be the King, but instead will serve the one who sits on the throne. No matter where his affections lie, Katappa would always heed the words of the ruler of Mahishmati. Although Bheeshma didn’t kill any of his favourite Pandavas, he remained alive, though injured, on a bed of arrows till Hastinapur got its rightful king. Whereas Katappa couldn’t avoid killing Bahubali, but he did fight valiantly along with his son Mahendra Bahubali and saw to it that Bhallaladeva was defeated and Bahubali was made the king.
For some reason, Kumara Varma, Devasena’s cousin, reminds me of Shikhandi, the eunuch elder brother of Draupadi. Kumara Varma starts off as a meek, cowardly character who is afraid to hold a weapon and fight the enemy. But soon, a pep talk from Bahubali gives him the necessary confidence and he gathers courage to fight back the incoming enemy. On the other hand, while Shikhandi became a tool for disarming Bheeshma, Kumara Varma was used as a tool to trap Bahubali.
Devasena’s character has traces of Draupadi. But a tad better. Unlike Draupadi, Devasena herself fights for her honour instead of pleading her brother or husband. A very strong and confident character, she refuses to bow down to the might of the Mahishmati kingdom, she demands to have an opinion on her choice for a groom, she doesn’t hesitate to punish the hand that dared to touch women inappropriately. She is one of the most impressive characters on screen.
Amarendra Bahubali has traces of Ram and also of the Pandavas. But again a tad better than the Pandavas. He could be like Yudhisthir, who is the favourite among the people to be the king, but unlike him, Bahubali had no desire to be the king hence no qualms to give up his claim in favour of his brother. He only wanted to serve the people in whichever way possible. He could be like Bheem, who can’t bear to see the dishonor of his beloved and vows to avenge the sinful act. But unlike him, Bahubali doesn’t wait for a future date, instead renders the punishment then and there. Sirachedam, beheading, a gory act, but at this point it became glorified.
He could also be like Arjuna, the warrior who won the princess’s hand by displaying his prowess with his bow and arrows. But when his mother tells him that the princess ought to marry his brother, Bahubali, unlike Arjuna, interrupts and defends the princess’ choice of the man that she would like to marry.
All in all, the characters, though inspired from the epics, seem to have been carved after carefully working around their weaknesses and creating larger than life characters that could be accepted in today’s times.
The music of Bahubali, by the remarkable M.M. Keeravani is another plus in this engrossing endeavour. From the soulful ‘Dandalayya’ (Jai jai kara in Hindi) to the romantic ‘Orori Raja’, all the numbers excel on its own while also complementing to the story. Of course, the title song thunders on throughout.
An incredible work by the acting force that consists of acclaimed actors who’ve already proved their caliber in many films before. Prabhas as Amarendra and Mahendra Bahubali, Anushka Shetty as Devasena, Tamanna as Avantika, Ramya Krishna as Sivagami, Rana Daggubati as Bhallaladeva, Nasser as Bijjaladeva and finally the esteemed actor Satyaraj as Katappa. Along with this talented team and a huge technical team, S.S. Rajmouli has brought to life a vision that is unmatched on celluloid. It is a mighty force that has come together to create this magnum opus.
For those whose childhood was filled with stories from Chandamama and Amar Chitra Katha, this movie is a dream come true. And a grand one at that.
All the pictures and video are credited to the respective uploaders.
indiraJune 1, 2017 at 3:41 am
Very nice durga. If my comment ends up being lengthier than your write up.. pl excuse me. Lovely/ apt parallels between the epics and the movie, esp Sikhandi and what Gandhari could have done without those blindfolds. Commendable. You are detailed without giving away anything. Agree with most of your comparisons. Interesting that you saw Bheeshma in Katappa, made sense too. I thought Shivagami played that role too, being the guardian of the throne for a long time without any bias.
Yes, BB Sr was an amalgam of Ram and Arjun. Even Amarendra bringing Devasena resembled Draupadi swayamvaram quite a lot where Arjuna (BB Sr) won while in exile without giving his identity.. while Duryodhana (Bhalla) lost it. I thought Mahendra is bheema.. even the finale battle between Bhalla and Bahu took many parts of those legendary tales of Bheema- Duryodhana fight, from uprooting the tree to targeting his thigh, all were brought in unmistakably. Bijjala is explicitly Dhrutarashtra I thought, he never really plotted anything but for accomplishing his ever-scheming son. Ofcourse the comparisons are endless..
Yes, all the women, including Sanga, are very strong while they are all very different.
The kind of differentiation director could brought in from the jungle brought up Mahendra to royal Amarendra was fabulous… from their language to their style of war fare, to the way they romanced their respective ladies. While Mahendra is very raw, his father is all finesse in all of those. The war sequence in Kunthala where Devasena ultimately fell in love was epic… starkly contrasting to Part 1 how Mahendra dealt with Avantika. It is so well choreographed. Rajmouli is usually bad in romance but he proved me wrong here. Manibandham bahirmukham…where he taught her shooting 3 arrows at a time.. training on the site and the director took the effort to previously show how she struggled with the same. The sequence reminded me of asr-Kh teri meri so much .. ofcourse anything that touches me deep ultimately has to go to ipk..read some where.. love of action, love in action. I was completely floored!
It is the characters in Part2 and BG score in Part 1 that stayed with me the most than the visuals. Prabhas struggled.. no hesitation there.. but he improved quite a lot from part1 to 2, esp his dialogue delivery. That could be a part of the characters too as I said earlier, Mahendra can not all be refined while Amarendra is royal.
For me it was very intense and tragic.. kind of Shakespearean. Mahendra may have ultimately ascended to the throne, but his dad had a very premature, gory death and mother languished in the prison for most of her life and there is no getting that back!
We all thought Magadheera cannot be taken over.. but SSR conquered himself.. or only he can conquer himself!
Great to read you durga.
DurgaSJune 1, 2017 at 9:57 pm
Ha ha. Long ones always welcome Indu. About Sivagami being Bheeshma, I felt she wasn’t under any oath or promise that compelled her to do certain things. Whatever she did for the kingdom was on her own will, free of any pratigya, shows her good nature. About Bheeshma, I felt there were many instances where he would have acted differently if he hadn’t taken the pratigya to not marry, not to rear an issue and always be committed to the throne of Hastinapur.
You are so right about the fight between Bhallaladeva and Mahendra. It is so much like the Duryodhan Bheem fight. It’s right out there. All powerful, menacing and vengeful to the core.
I loved how the love story evolved between Amarendra and Devasena. In the midst of the war, Devasena is enthralled by the warrior in Sivudu. And him teaching her the finer points or archery, amazing to watch. I think Rajamouli must have really worked hard to get the romance part right. Read somewhere, that he was critisized for many aspects in part one, including for the stripping of Avantika and softenig her character as she turned from a warrior to a lover. I think he took in all these criticisms and worked around to see that in part 2 none of the characters lose their grip. Reminds me of the epics again. They say that though Ramayana was set in an era before Mahabharata and the tales have been passed on through generations verbally, when it came down to writing them down, it was Mahabharata that was written first. Ramayana was written much later in which the way of writing and language was much refined compared to Mahabharata.
I agree, though the good finally got to win over evil, but it was Bhallaladeva who ruled over the kingdom for 25 years and Mahishmati never could see their beloved Amarendra Bahubali and Devasena as king and queen. Sad. Our history is filled with heroes who died young because of the deceit of someone who was close and trustworthy. Can’t say Katappa’s act was a deceit but it did involve breaking of trust.
I know after Magadheera, it would have been very difficult to assume there could be anything bigger than that. Only Rajamouli could surpass himself.
There is so much more to say. I keep getting more afterthoughts as I dwell upon the movies. Must watch both again. Perhaps I will come back to write some more.
Thanks for reading Indu. 🙂
rhea sinhaJune 4, 2017 at 1:36 pm
Loved your comment Indu di. Just finished watching bahuballi 2 today (sadly at home.. still enjoyed it a lot). The 2 arrow scene had a beautiful tension to it. I also like the background score for Part 1 a lot. The song where Tamanna is in Bahuballi’s dreams as he attempts to climb the mountain, his entry into Mahishmati and even Devsena’s sad song are all haunting melodies. Prabhas was impressive. But then I had also liked him in part I.
Durga di I love how you end the review. For me one of the reasons watching Bahuballi is fun is how creative the story telling gets. Those fight strategies, that swanlike dream boat, the visuals of Mahisimagination.mati kingdom, all of it delights the imagination. Will love to rewatch these 2 movies again.
I haven’t seen Magadheera. Have heard about it before. Reading about it from you and Indu di had tempted me to go watch.
DurgaSJune 14, 2017 at 5:31 pm
Rhea, sorry to you too, replying a bit late. Glad you managed to watch it somehow. No one would have imagined that a war scene with bows and arrows would be so beautiful. I love that song in part one when Tamanna lures Bahubali to climb up the slippery mountain. The sheer imagination and the graphics that gave life to those imaginations are spectacular. The music has really been an important feature in both parts.
Do watch Magadheera. You will love it. It’s available on youtube.
IndiraJune 3, 2017 at 12:31 pm
Agree about the pratignya durga that Katappa was bound under to protect the throne. But for me why Sivagami reflected more of Bheeshma was becos, she had an option, to be the ruler/queen herself, which she forfeited deliberately, neither did she declare her own offspring as the successor to the throne which she easily could have, just to follow dharma just like Bheeshma did. Also, her words, “this is my word and my word is the law” did resonate close to an oath. Katappa didn’t really have an option but to protect the throne, like many of his predecessors, unlike Sivagami who is the stand alone in that respect like bheeshma.
Agree, it is kind of break of trust from katappa to kill amarendra. Heard the director regret that he shouldn’t make Sivagami and Katappa fall so easily to agree to end their most loved’s life and he should have given couple of scenes to them as agitated and unable to come to that decision. He could have sacrificed some of the wartime for these fine details to justify/enhance the characters further. It is the not the death or killing of Amarendra that is heart-wrenching perse, but the fact that it is carried by the very own people who doted on and loved him endlessly. Almost like Mother India in reverse.
Not sure if I got what you meant by Mahabharata being written first. As we know, Valmiki is Adikavi and Ramayana is Adikavyam and it is said the kandas, poems of Ramayana, are the closest to the scriptures of vedas in their language and style. Ofcourse, Mahabharata has been translated into Telugu ahead of Ramayana but I don’t think you were referring to that.
You are absolutely right about the getting the love story better in part 2 honing from the shortcomings of part 1. While in part 1, the way portrayed was grossly unfair to avantika’s character, I do believe that it did justify Mahendra’s character of being a bit impulsive and raw compared to his father.
Although Magadheera is pushed into shadows now, it did serve as a great precursor for the director to test waters, if the audience is ready to accept full-time folklore genre. It is like the groundsman preparing the pitch just hrs before the match on which the entire day’s play depends. It’s importance can not be downplayed at all.
I weaned off from telugu movies more than a decade ago mainly due to excess violence and poor language diction from all barring 1. Magadheera and BB kind of put that on radar. Part 2 is not available yet, but we watch Part 1 due to/ in 4K almost every day. We can’t seem to be able to watch anything else right now!!
Yes, many afterthoughts….
DurgaSJune 14, 2017 at 5:19 pm
Sorry about the delay in replying Indu. Results, etc., kept me away from here.
I agree that there should have been more scenes before Sivagami and Katappa gave in to the situation. Sadly, Katappa, who could sniff any lurking danger, couldn’t sniff the plot that was being laid to bring down Amarendra.
About Ramayana and Mahabharata, these are one of the many arguments that historians debate on. Although, it seemed that they were about the original works, but again, I am not sure.
Perhaps you are right. Magadheera must have been for testing waters. Without doubt, one can say, each film only became better than the previous one.
I too haven’t been following Telugu films much for many years. While growing up too, the ones we watched during our vacations in AP were the only ones I knew about. Of course, later when we got satellite tv, managed to watch many of the popular and classical ones. But then too, stayed clear of the mass masala types. Can’t digest them at all. :-D. So, if an actual good movie does come out, we get to hear about it only months later. And we end up watching on tv.