Baahubali Movie Review

If there is one thing that I absolutely hate in a cinema hall – it is kids.

They wail, and cry, or decide to take a walk between the seats and touch your hair, and expect you to turn around and pet them. Every time I notice there are kids around me in a hall, I pray that they die before the film starts.

Which was why, when I arrived in the hall for Baahubali, and found there were two kids near my seat, I prayed that they die. When the movie began, I had to double-check if they actually died, because they were silent all through. It is a testimony to how engrossing the film’s beginning is, that even those stupid kids kept shut. (But of course, they are kids, so they decided to cry later on in the movie!).

For a little context, Rajamouli is huge in Telugu cinema. For more than a decade, he has been churning out classic Good vs Evil, Prodigal Son stories that have all been hits – not even one of his films have been average grossers.

Rajamouli’s films more or less maintain similar themes – reincarnation, retribution, and a grand climax. He has perfected the archetype of the hero, villain, and most importantly, the Mother.

When I first saw the trailers of Baahubali, I was sceptical. The graphics didn’t look all that impressive, and I was worried it might just be another Telugu film that had ambitiously bitten off more than it could chew – like his earlier outing Eega.

I am not a huge fan of the ‘Big Budget’ theory. I fail to understand why people rave about terms like ‘Biggest Budget’, ‘Most expensive film’. Having a large budget doesn’t mean anything.

This scepticism comes from having watched earlier ‘most expensive’ films – Blue, starring a pregnant Sanjay Dutt and coke-glazed Zayed Khan, or Ra.One, which was so bad, they should have released a sequel called Tut.Two.

 

Clearly, having a huge budget is not a big deal. If you get a funder, you can make a film on as large a budget as you want, but it’s what you do with the budget that really makes a difference.

Rajamouli has painstakingly invested most of the money on his vision – lavish sets, the epic war scene. He doesn’t let you take your eyes off the screen even for a single moment.

If there was a grudge I had, it was to do with the slight compromises he had to make, to fit in songs. Perhaps we are not hindered by budgets and stories, but our own cinematic sensibilities. The songs seemed force-fed, and were definite speed-breakers in a film that was cruising along smoothly.

Which then brings me to the second part of any huge action film – inspirations.

There have been talks of action scenes ‘inspired’ from LOTR, and 300.

I don’t invest too much thought in such discussions. Cinema, like any art, builds up on its ancestors. For example, for a decade after Matrix released, all action movies had the slow-mo bullet flying in air shot. Even today, most Chinese-Hong Kong action films build on the Bruce Lee style of quick, hand-to-hand combat mode.

So I wasn’t too picky about which scene was inspired from where.

For me, all that matters is if it hasn’t been shamelessly lifted (without any context, just to latch on to an idea). Yes, there are a few shots that remind you of other action films, but the war scene is much more than that. In a way, right from the beginning, you are waiting for the war. And when it does come, it stays on for a good 30 minutes.

The performances, as in most Rajamouli’s films, are consistent – probably because most characters in his movies are archetypes. Prabhas is consistent, and Rana is a shade better. But it is Ramyakrishna and Satyaraj who take larger chunks of meat than they were promised.

If there was one complaint, it was of Tamannah. To watch her walk like a warrior, or use her sword, were laughably amateurish. It’s probably a grave she dug for herself – if you keep playing dandy, simpering doormat roles, it’s going to be difficult to be taken seriously when you actually put in the effort. Tamannah (What’s with the name change? It sounds like an orgasm!) sticks out like a sore thumb in a film with otherwise consistent performances.

Unlike most other hyped movies, you don’t feel cheated with Baahubali.

The best scenes aren’t the ones already shown in the trailers. The film is over before you know it, and that is saying something for the largest budget film in the country.

Rajamouli has his work cut out for the sequel.

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15 thoughts on “Baahubali Movie Review

  1. Neel

    Must say I have recently come across your site and enjoying your blogs now(think I will very soon exhaust all of them – know u r walking d tight rope of balancing between production volume and quality).The thing I like is your humour hits hard straight on the face…so keep it brutal…and way you digress from the topic(If i need a serious movie review,I ll listen to other critics)..you take the audience on the detour with you with the choice of words, details…so I enjoy loosing the direction,purpose…just wandering aimlessly and enjoying the journey…

    Reply
  2. cswapna

    So many of your posts — Uday Chopra ones especially — made me laugh so hard that I keep coming back every time I am a bit low 🙂 I like the way you began this review coz I don’t hold with kids in movie halls unless it is a movie meant for kids. But, I feel your ire should be targeted at the parent, not the kid! And what’s with taking preschoolers to adult movies even if it has a UA rating? But ‘die’ is too strong a word and I don’t appreciate the levity when it comes to children. Ya, I know I sound stuck up like the people who don’t like Russel Peters + I am only an occasional reader of your blog, so I guess my opinion might not matter much.

    Reply
  3. Rahul Sharan

    First off, I am a fan of your sardonic wit and acerbic remarks. I also like it when you criticize people when they deserve criticism. The problem which I do have is, however, that you are quite a miser when it comes to giving compliments. When you are reviewing a movie- and a movie that you liked- you should be generous in pointing out each and every merit you found. Digressing from the film’s high points and instead writing about wailing kids and your general take on big-budget movies is a sign of rather pompous writing. You loved the movie Queen, but even after reading that review I felt that you were very reluctant about doling out compliments, and were keen more on telling people that YOUR opinion on the best performance in the film differed from that of most critics. Tomorrow if you open a chinese restaurant, and I write a 500 word review about that restaurant, in those 500 words, if I write 200 words about that restaurant, and the remaining words about what I think about the BPO culture in Delhi- because I saw a large group of call center employees at a table- then that would be highly pompous writing.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Hahaha.

      You’re right. Had never thought about it. Guess criticism comes naturally to some people. Thanks for pointing that out! 😀 On 16 Jul 2015 21:39, “Heartranjan's Blog” wrote:

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      Reply
  4. Ashok Kumar

    hi, i am a fan of your writing, enjoyed all your reviews..found it really humorous & interesting. but this time i didnt like the ‘kid dying part’..it wasnt funny..and i stopped reading further.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Sorry if that offended you!

      It’s just something I said, you know. I didn’t want that particular kid to choke and die. Like when you ask your friend to get two beers, and he brings one, and you say ‘Die in hell, asshole!’. You don’t really want him to live with Yama, but just wish he’d brought another beer.

      Like that.

      But thanks for taking the time out to comment. Keep reading! And have a nice day! 🙂

      Reply
  5. mahathig

    Charming. When you tell a girl that you hate kids, I want to see her face. Just kidding 😛

    I was pleasantly surprised by Baahubali too. I went with less than no expectations (my relatives dragged me) and I was blown away by the magnificent sets and beautiful scenery. So much effort went into this movie…Of course I still giggled at all the dialogues and could see everything from a mile away (except the twist at the end), but that was part of the fun. I’m definitely watching the next one.
    Do you understand Telugu? Wait, never mind, I assume you saw it in Hindi.

    Reply
    1. heartranjan Post author

      Haha. That’s one of the first things I reveal to a girl I’m interested in. That I’m not a huge fan of kids. Not because it’s cool or whatever, but simply because I don’t know how to interact with them.

      Yes, I understand and speak Telugu and watched the version in Telugu itself. I didn’t want to watch a dubbed version, as I find myself constantly gauging the words used, and find the mismatched lip sync unsettling.

      Thanks for your comment. 🙂 On 16 Jul 2015 02:18, “Heartranjan's Blog” wrote:

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      1. Mahathi Gottumukkala (@mahathi_g)

        If you just treat a kid as his/her own person and don’t talk down to him/her, he/she will love you forever (English really needs a gender-neutral pronoun). Finally I get a reply! I believe I’ve commented on three or four of your posts 😀 I do enjoy your reviews and your lists. You’re hilarious. In particular, I show your ‘How to sound intellectual when you don’t know shit’ article to everyone because I really love it. God save us from intellectual snobs. If you get a chance, check out my blog? thoughtsandwhimsies.blogspot.com Thanks 🙂

        Reply

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