That movie that has been smashing records (And I’m referring to any imaginable record possible that is related to the silver screen industry!) is what has made me, amongst plenty of others, sit up and contemplate why it is as huge as it has become (Well, that and the fact that I’m having holidays right now!). To be honest, I wasn’t in awe of ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’. Sure, the furore over ‘Why Kattappa Killed Baahubali’ (#WKKB) had me caught in its web too, but it did not send me thinking deeply like its successor did.
The first movie ended with a cliff-hanger of a climax and left the viewers waiting for nearly 2 whole years before finally revealing #WKKB. ‘Baahubali 2: The Conclusion’ was not just about telling the world why Amarendra Baahubali was killed, it had so much more to proffer.
Like millions of others, I was caught up in the frenzy that was churned up by this silver-screen extravaganza. I headed to the theatres on the first day of its release and was amazed to see just how much adulation was garnered by the lead actors and even the director (I’m a huge fan of Thalaivar and for a while I felt like I was watching one of his movies! The atmosphere was that electric!). This movie has to be one of those rare entities that has broken regional and language barriers and appealed to the masses enmasse.
The movie had me scoffing at the clichéd romantic interludes between Amarendra Baahubali and Devasena and I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the hasty conclusions arrived at by Kattappa, thus complicating matters unnecessarily. But the film eventually had me in its fold for a while, when I lapped up all the theatrics without me realizing it. The stunt sequences were over the top, (That barrel roll or cannonball-catapult effect/strategy and all subjects the Marvel super-heroes to ridicule yo!) but hey…this is a fantasy film after all no? Mr. Rajamouli made utmost use of the fantasy genre tag and gave us something fantastic.
There have been a multitude of parallels that have been drawn between existing films/epics/incidents/scenarios and Baahubali 2. People have been debating for and against the inclusion of these myriad bits and pieces from other sources in this film, for some parallels are astounding but some make us roll our eyes. Some of the similarities are mind-boggling and have been found between ‘Baahubali 1 and 2’ and the following:
- ‘The Lion King’ (Yep, that spectacular animated classic from Disney only).
- ‘The Avengers’ (From the Marvel-verse).
- ‘Devar Magan‘ (That tear-jerker film by Kamal Haasan and Sivaji Ganeshan).
- The Mahabharata (A war film of epic proportions has to have some common ground with the most epic war of all time no?)
- The Indian geographical setup
- Even the dreaded Indian social setup etc.
Despite these innocuous influences, there was something endearing about the movie. The stand-out component of the film according to me was the character of Amarendra Baahubali. And no, it wasn’t just Prabhas portraying the role with panache and aplomb, for then, even Baahubali Junior would have won hearts. This was something more. After a long time, there is finally an on-screen persona who has the potential to sway the people. Amarendra Baahubali was no Rajnikanth whose on-screen avatars almost always ensure that ‘good triumphs over evil’, or a Jackie Chan/Bruce Lee who beat up the bad guys, or the Hulk who…err…well smashed, or a casanova who was always wooing some lass or the other. He was an enigma all on his own.
There was a courthouse scene where the princess Devasena was being humiliated and I couldn’t help but relate it to the part in the Mahabharata where Draupadi was being gambled away by the Pandavas in the royal court. The similar scenario in both the scenes was the fact that the damsels in distress voiced out their thoughts aloud and implored to their husbands/lover and to those in power to step up and weed out the injustice meted out them. It was only in the court of Magizhmathi that the damsel was saved from ridicule and HOW?! (That scene was goosebumps inducing!).
Amarendra Baahubali is the hero the nation needs right now. He epitomized all things good. He was a man of his word, he took the path of dharma, he adhered to his conscience, he was loyal to a fault, he was selfless and cared about those around him, he realized the potentials of others and helped them get better and he was portrayed as the ultimate do-gooder. He didn’t tell women how to behave, he didn’t propagate unhealthy habits under a garb of ‘style’, he wasn’t a hypocrite, he wasn’t swayed by material wealth and he wasn’t corrupted by power. He treated his spouse as his equal and not as his sub-ordinate (Something which is lacking in many modern movies and in the modern world too, sadly). But he seemed real. His magnanimity seemed attainable by the common man. He came across as someone whose qualities could be (Should be!) emulated to some extent.
For once, the lead heroine was shown as someone who could think on her own. Devasena wasn’t a puppet. She was a true warrior princess (Unlike a certain Avanthika, whose character made me gouge out my eyes!) who was bold and righteous, who stuck to her principles, who fought her own battles, who was talented and who maintained her dignity at all times. This shouldn’t surprise us, but unfortunately, given the barrage of films and TV soaps which almost always depict the leading lady as a ‘dumb chick’ (Pardon the slang!) who falls heads over heels in love with the hero and makes it her life’s aim to wed the love of her life and live happily ever after. Ahem…what about her ambitions or dreams, well…conveniently most of them didn’t have any of their own or if they did, the hero made it his life’s aim to complete it on her behalf (*Rolls Eyes*). It sure was heartening to see a lady who was sensible and had some grits and guts! Kudos Princess!
Kattappa, Ettappa…PAH these names evoke so much annoyance! Being loyal to the king and the kingdom shouldn’t lead to so much turmoil no? He’d rather have killed himself than carry out such heinous orders by the emperor! There’s no way I could sympathize with his situation, no matter how heartbroken he was whilst carrying out his assignment. Irrespective of the remorse he displayed, he erred and he erred big. A man of his stature, slave or not, should never have stooped so low, to treachery and betrayal, to carry out his task. Tch! Tch!
And Raja Maatha Sivagami Devi, well, well, well, for all the hype surrounding her and her immense knowledge, governing prowess etc she turned out to be a meek person who fell prey to gossip and rumors. She kind of committed filicide in a way! (Unforgivable yo!) Even though it was her own son feeding her information, she ought to have exercised her sense of judgment in a better way.
These characters made for some exciting viewing. But the background score by M.M.Keeravani roused the audience too. It was pulsing, electric and on point. Special mention has to be made to someone who captured our complete attention earlier with his brainchild – the ‘Kiliki’ language of the Kalakeyas, Madhan Karky. His dialogues and lyrics were amazing in BB2.
Yes, BB2 has been hailed as Indian cinema’s pride. Yes, it has its share of tremulous and stupendous moments. Yes, it has provided meme creators with a plethora of templates. Yes, it has the people divided about its plot lines and action sequences. But BB2 is bigger than all of this, not just because of the monetary rewards that it has reaped, but because of the connect the viewers share with its characters, despite them not being confined to any particular geographical area, timeline/era etc. That’s ‘The Might of Baahubali.‘