Baahubali Review (2015): Indian Grand Spectacle

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Story
Acting
Direction

Baahubali is the most expensive Indian film ever. Producers have put together a whopping $40 million to make this film. It’s obvious that people were waiting for its release to see if it was fated to become another Ra. One. I was eagerly waiting for this film and I was not disappointed. Baahubali is one of the most visually impressive films that have come from India. Most of the things about this film are either bad or good. I was expecting groundbreaking visuals (by Indian standards) and that is what I got. I was not expecting a great story or powerful performances so I was not disappointed.

I didn’t know who Rajamouli was, basically because I am from North India and I don’t follow south Indian cinema. But I am sure he is someone you should know about. He has made something that we can be proud of. I was sure that the VFX would be good however I had a doubt about the story and I was right. The story takes elements from Indian mythologies (Mahabharata) but the screenplay could have been better and tight. But we must give the credit to Rajamouli for doing this project. He took a big risk and made it big and this is exactly what we need – risk takers. I am not saying that Baahubali is a something exceptional in terms of storytellig, but it is still better than the crap that Bollywood has been producing lately.

Talking about acting, most of the actors are OTT and only a few shine. I do not know whose idea it was to cast Tamanna as a warrior. She tries too hard but fails miserably. In fact, she was used as a plot device (A MacGuffin as Alfred Hitchcock used to call it). She was a badass warrior but turns into a soft princess in a matter of seconds and forgets all the oaths that she had taken. Also, the way it all started does not make any sense at all. A mask falls down and the guy knows that it belongs to a girl and blah, blah, blah.

Prabhas is okay in the beginning but transforms into a behemoth during the second half so no complaints here. This guy is a natural. He doesn’t act exceptionally, but his presence is enough to give you the feels. Rana is good and plays his character beautifully but nothing exceptional here. Others are okay.

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The background score needs special mention because it is amazing. It is different from anything you have ever heard in India. The score that plays during the war is haunting. (Clearly inspired from the LotR)

The quality of graphics work is very good. In fact, it’s insane for such a cheap price given that Hollywood uses big budget for the same. The battle sequence is SPECTACULAR and reminded me of Battle of Helm’s Deep and Pelennor fields from LotR. But it looks crappy during some scenes. I do not know why it happened.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that Rajamouli spent a lot of time watching The Lord of The Rings, 300 and Gladiator. Yes, some scenes will remind you of 300 and the Lord of The Rings but believe me it is completely different. He doesn’t copy anything, he uses it as a source of inspiration. There is only one scene that I remember from LotR which has been used in Baahubali. But denying that he was influenced by Peter Jackson would be a big lie. It’s a great thing that he was influenced by such a great film otherwise we wouldn’t have Baahubali.

The movie is not without some minor problems, though. There are unnecessary songs which ruin the experience (I burst into laughter when Prabhas started dancing randomly. Everyone in the hall was looking at me.) and some parts are dragged (especially the first half) . Also, there are continuity problems. The story is cliched and the acting is average. Remove the songs and edit the movie and voilà we will have a SPECTACULAR film.

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Baahubali is not the answer to 300, Gladiator or The Lord of The Rings because saying so would be foolish. Don’t compare this movie to the Hollywood ones because we still have a long way to go. We have just begun and we are still 10-15 years behind but it is surely a good start.

So in the end, I would like to say – Go and watch it instead of watching the same old pathetic Bollywood love stories and melodrama. It’s something to be proud of. Book your tickets and watch this Indian grand spectacle. It is something new so you won’t regret watching it.

Coming to the rating, I would have given it a 5/10 if it was made in Hollywood. I am giving it an 8/10 because it is a milestone for Indian cinema in terms of visuals. I would have given it a 9 or 9.5 if the songs weren’t there, the screenplay was tight and the actors were acting instead of overacting.

P.S: I want to see Rajamouli doing “Mahabharata” or “Ramayana” next.

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