Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Bahubali 2 - Review

For long I’ve wondered how come Westerners, with hardly any history, make such EPIC scale movies, while we, with such a treasure house of stories never meet them even half way. Even China with its long history and culture suffers from same mishap. But for crouching tiger, which may in all probability been a recognition of a nation on the move to powerdom, they hardly have anything major to show off at a global scale. Maybe their movies, which are translated and played on regional channels, does have the grandeur. But do they’ve world-wide connect is a serious question. A Spiderman or a Superman relates to everyone. But a Raja Raja chola or anyone from the mighty Ming dynasty may not have that global connect. Where the westerners ace is that they can sell a “Troy” or a “Wild West” story to worldwide audience and still make money. Not just that, we end up aping their costumes and create flop movies, which neither have the connect, nor the concept correct. Just for this singular aspect of ticking all the right boxes, Bahubali deserves all the hype. Be it first part or the second, one thing that stands out in the movie is not the VFX or the larger than life characters or even their performances and struggle. It’s simply our story. Our raja rani kind of stories that we’ve grown up with, published in Gokulam or Amar Chitra Katha. It’s absolutely relatable to any Indian kid who grew up with the world of comics and especially ACK.

The other striking aspect about the movie is that, it brings back the Hero – with all his virtues and promises and chivalry and honor. Character-wise, Black is pitch black and White is soulful again. There is no grey area in between and that is for the nitpickers who argue over nitty-gritties and for pattimandram folks, who debate everything under the sun. It was a pleasant experience and a reminiscent of what our parents and theirs would’ve felt when watching MGR or NTR swishing their swords and thumping their enemies, managing to remain virtuous, respecting elders and even their enemies and win their ladies with chivalry. And ladies are not just shown as glam-dolls either, with solid character presentation. Add to this amazing spectacles aided by top notch CG, you’ve got your paisa vasool already. Bonus being the performances of the lead and supporting cast.

Prabhas, probably can retire now, having achieved what he would never ever be able to match, in sum total of all his movies and those he is going to sign up down the line. One can stick his neck out and comment like this, considering his pre Bahubali projects. As the son, Mahendra, he is all brash and brawn, but as the dad, Amarendra, he is unmatchable. The scene where Prabhas and Anushka shoot triple arrows in one shot, its tango and poetry in motion. Leave behind logic to enjoy it. There is this post interval scene, where Anushka, is brought handcuffed to the court for chopping the fingers of the rogue senapathi. When he enters the hall, there is some chant in the background with the moving camera capturing him walking past flames, symbolizing his mindset. When the senapathi explains the crime of Anushka, he walks behind him back and forth, causing the senapathi to scarily watch out for any attack. It’s a masterclass of a performance akin to a lion on prowl. When Anushka explains why she chopped his fingers, he admonishes that she was wrong and saying that “any man who misbehaves with women shouldn’t have his fingers chopped, but head” and in one swish he knocks the head off the senapathi. Let me tell you the word you are looking for –Goosebumps.

The other scene is the interval portion, which simply is the mother of all mass scenes ever made in any Indian language. I always thought “Enakku innoru per irukku” would never be rivalled, for the simplicity and yet stirringly epic of it. But Bahubali 2’s interval block is like Sachin’s record of international centuries. It may never be matched on scale atleast. The beating and chanting that slowly starts as chaotic and in a disorderly manner, when Amarendra begins to take oath, becomes a rhythmic frenzy and the vibrations it has on stones and objects is shown akin to the dino scene in Jurassic park. With the crowning glory being Bahubali holding the flag aloft. A.W.E.S.O.M.E. If you didn’t get up and clap or whistle at this scene, this is not the movie for you.

There are quite a few logical connects and throwback to previous part, which is neatly synched into screenplay. Battle scenes, which were the USP in the previous one, are kind of a letdown this time with hardly any new idea being floated in, but for Asterix like slingshot attack using pine trees. The immense power of Bahubali and the villain is amply showcased across scenes. So, seeing them, breaking trees and statues and throwing it at each other, doesn’t look odd. Anushka, who came as a blink and miss in part one, holds on to her own in second part and probably has as much screen space as Prabhas. Tamanna compensates for her role in first part, donning Anushka’s screen time in that version here. But the surprise package is the role of Satyaraj as Kattappa. He has the maximum screen time, even more than Prabhas. Probably, the viral effect of why he killed bahubhali and the reason is a damp squib, as compared to all those hundreds of memes in circulation. Ramya krishnan has proved time and again what we are missing in our movies – stand out and strong lady characters. She is all regal and command and has performed solidly. Naaser as the scheming villain is again top notch. Music, may suffer due to the multiple languages to which the same tune has to fit in. But might work out for telugu audience.

Gils verdict – I saw it twice on same day. That should tell you my result. This movie is toast of Telugu/South Indian cinema and pride of Indian culture of storytelling. Wish AmarchitraKatha does a reverse and come out with comics of Bahubali from the movie. More power to Rajamouli for this epic movie and many thanks for bringing back the heroism in hero.

No comments: