Baahubali – 2 Review : A Riveting Finale

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Baahubali 2 Review

Baahubali 2 Review Baahubali review 

Baahubali Review

Telugu360 Rating: 4/5
(Sridhar Sattiraju)

The day of reckoning has arrived . The conclusion of India’s most audacious film in over a generation is now upon us. After drawing us with curious narration, outstanding visual effects and a nagging question in the first part which the nation wants to know, director S S Rajamouli unveils the kernel of the plot which defined all the palace intrigue, suspense and aura behind Bahubali in the first part. Rajamouli succeeds to a large extent in sucking us into the fabled world of Mahishmati and telling a story the way it occurred to the maker team. Even though the narrative is longer at around 170 minutes, the overall feel gives you more highs and goosebump moments than one can expect in a monolithic story line that is quite predictable. The film is technically and aesthetically more enchanting than the first part.

What is impressive about the conclusion is the degree of intensity and emotions surcharging the atmosphere which the director is skilled at. The film opens with a recap of the first part in the titles but quickly gets down to business of characterizing the main cast into deeper nuances and shades. In that sense, the first half shows the entertaining repertoire of Rajamouli with all the magic that VFX embellishes the screen with – there is comedy, romance and some beautiful visuals which transport you to a world above the skies. The romance and playfulness between the lead pair creates rift between Prabhas and the other royalty but the director navigates the whole gamut of emotions to drive towards the coronation sequence which is one of the finest scenes.The soul of the first half is the subtle romance between Devasana (Anushka) and Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas) which is aesthetically enhanced by the two songs – “Hamsa Naava” and “Muripala Mukunda”. You can’t exorcise a director from his pet obsessions and no doubt Rajamouli uses the technique used in films like “Mayabazar” and “Nartanasala” (especially between Arjuna and Uttara Kumara ) to create humor between Prabhas and Subbaraju. Even the romance between Anushka and Prabhas is built with thea same tenderness of mistaken identity that was used in many of Rajamouli’s earlier films. Though a beaten path, the screen sizzles with the pair’s lead chemistry as well as the chivalry of the Senior Baahubali in protecting the woman of his dreams from danger. The first half dazzles you, mesmerize you and deserves a standing ovation.

The second half is what takes Rajamouli’s direction a few notches down because of the uneven balance between sequences and songs. A tedium of battle sequences and undefatigable cruelty greets us in the flashback as well as the climax. The end comes quickly with the return of all the present characters who surround the world of the younger Bahubali and by then, fatigue sets in as the director rushes through the motions. But that is the essence of a Rajamouli film, you don’t get plastic faced characters – you either get a larger-than-life character or nothing; Rana is exasperatingly violent and menacing till the end, Nazar shows more variety and depth to his role compared with the first part, while Prabhas is consistently benevolent and invincible almost till the end.

The weakest characterisations in the second part are those of Queen Sivagami (Ramyakrishna) and Kattappa (Satyaraj) but these could be cinematic illusions created by the director in nudging us into liking or disliking some characters. Ramyakrishna’s characterization is nowhere closer to the recently released novel of Anand Neelakantan (The Rise of Sivagami) but it shows a lot of inconsistency in the range of emotions portrayed by her compared with the first part. Since story-telling is the main strength of Rajamouli, one can gloss over the minor faults in direction – like how the Senior Bahubali calls himself “Sivudu” when someone asks his name (when in fact, the name was kept for the younger Bahubali by the villagers) or the rare lapse of showing a flash attack by Kalakeya’s son without an intro. Another omission in the second part is why someone like actor Sudeep- Kannada Superstar – did not come back in another cameo  – would have enhanced the thrills in the film had he come back. As a director, Rajamouli shows his class in getting the mixture of emotions and entertainment better than in the first half. If one were to view this film as a long saga of four to five hours the way films used to be made in the seventies, then one can expect two intervals and a rollercoaster of emotions. But because the director and his backers chose to present the film in two parts, one can see some patchwork in the way night shots and war sequences were shown in the conclusion; the wow factor you had in the first film was missing in the war sequences – all the director used is simple laws of physics using kinetic energy to thwart the enemies and use of palm trees as propellants. Similarly, actors like Tamannah and Rohini and others make a brief but forgettable appearance as some serial actors who show up for taking a bow; they deserved a better sign-off. Performance-wise, Anushka steals the thunder with the looks of a million-dollar baby, she is dressed like a queen and oozes class and royalty in every shot. Looking at  her gait and looks, you can’t believe she is the same heroine who acted in films like “Size Zero”. In crucial situations, she even outclasses Ramyakrishna. Prabhas as the genteel warrior and savior of the masses outshines everybodoy else with his looks and body language – as Amarendra Bahubali he creates a magnetic aura that will be talked about for a long time. Rana Daggubati gets a wicked characterisation but there’s something missing in dialogue diction – he looked classy in the first part with his rich command over long dialogues but here relapses into  a dialect unbecoming of a king. Satyaraj as Kattappa maintains the mood of an obedient general.

Technical Values

Technically, the film has some arresting visuals in the first half which will linger on – that ship resembling a Spanish Armada tapestry, the huge elephant cave as the mouth of the Mahishmati kingdom, the boat carrying the lead pair with the entourage into the waters before lifting off into the skies vectored by swans transforming into cloud-like horses and the synchronized shooting of the arrows by the lead pair to polish off the intruders – all these are stunning piece of artwork and visual effects which are worth paisa vasool. If only the director concentrated less on the VFX and showing the motions of war, you have a director who can combine the brilliance of Cecelle B demille, V.Shantaram and a Subhash Ghai in one hat of a director. But to push so many frontiers with a fable story and to fire the imagination of billions of fans around the world is an unparalleled feat and for all the effort, more power to Rajamouli and Co. Music wise, Keeravani’s effort is a mixed bag. He makes a valiant effort to flood the background score with modern and ancient instrumentation that doesn’t always fit with the times but passes off as an average effort. Cinematography is good in parts. Prabhas and Anushka take the film on their shoulders and Prabhas steals the honors with just his eyes more than the gallantry he projects consistently.

On the whole, Baahubali-2  is a long story well-told that has ended not too soon. But it is an experiment definitely worth the wait despite minor flaws. It is a tribute to the story-telling ability imbibed by Rajamouli. A must watch, pride of Telugu Cinema.

Telugu360 Rating: 4/5

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