Hello, remaining friends who have not freaked out after reading the title. Your heart is made of strong stuff.
Yes, this post will be about my insane lack of self control when it comes to Baahubali (both parts). A fact that was made apparent to me as I found myself booking a ticket for the third consecutive time for the movie. Yes, I have seen the movie three times already and I know this is just the tip of the jalparbat size ice berg.
I am currently in the throes of a wild Baahubali-induced mania where my brain has trouble processing anything that is not related to the movie. This is not the first time this has happened so I’m prepared (as prepared as you can be) and one of my coping mechanism is to put it out there in the universe so that I can get some hold on things. Since I’m not the best conversationalist, especially now when most of what is coming out of my mouth is rapid dissection of each and every scene from the movie, I decided to put it in writing. It’s an attempt to make sense of what is currently going on in my head because I have no idea and this might help me get a grip on my currently all-over-the-place emotions. Also, I must warn you, in case you’re hoping to read a well though-out, unbiased piece on the movie then this is not one of those.
So Baahubali slowly taking over my life. Yes.
The first thing the universe did wrong (or very right) was to make it a long weekend. There was absolutely no reason for me to not go and watch Baahubali over and over again. I mean there was the possibility that I won’t make rent next month or be able to afford basic amenities like food but I would have seen the amazing fight sequence where Baahubali and Devsena fought off the Pintaris together once more and frankly that’s better than food, in my honest opinion.
You see what I meant by it taking over my life?
Baahubali: The Conclusion picks up from where it left off with Baahubali: The Beginning. We waited a long time to find out why Katappa killed Baahubali and the movie answera that but it’s about so much more than that. After watching the second part I realized it was never about why he killed him. It was always about what led to it. And the movie establishes that beautifully. It also gives us a love story we can get behind (sorry Shivudu+Avanthika shippers, it’ll always be Amarendra+Devsena 5ever).
Aside from the fact that it’s an amazing movie and that it’s a milestone for Indian cinema, Baahubali has the distinction of being one of the few films that makes you feel as if the makers are actually interested in you having a good time while watching the movie, rather than throw in cheap tricks to make money. It’s not that the drive behind making Baahubali was completely altruistic, but there’s an underlying sense of integrity and respect for the mammoth fandom that the franchise has garnered between the two movies. There’s grandeur that’s seldom seen onscreen and the effects make you want to clap your hands like a kid, but it would have been so easy to forgo the most important part, as most filmmakers have been guilty of doing when dealing with big budgets and bigger audience expectations- the story.
The story might be the most predictable variation of good vs evil that we’ve been hearing and seeing since we’ve gained consciousness, but never during the movie do you feel that you know what’s going to happen. Part of the credit for that goes to the well-fleshed out characters in the movie. While Amarendra and Mahendra Baahubali remain the focal point in the movie, the supporting characters have so many layers that it’s impossible not to get connected to them.
Then there’s the right kind of masala that makes you feel giddy and want to clap your hands. It’s not just inserted to get whistles and hoots. The genuine joy that you feel when Bahubali Sr. makes one of his rousing speeches is what I mean by the right kind of masala. The director knows you’re so invested in the movie that you will cheer when Bahubali does something Bahubali-esque but it doesn’t feel forced or specially inserted for that purpose. Am I explaining this right?
Moving on, let’s talk about the fight sequences. Yes, one might argue that it’s highly unlikely that a human being (even one with bahu like Baahubali) can casually pick up a whole tree and throw it at his oncoming opponents. But the thing about Baahubali is that the scale and spectacle easily warrants the suspension of disbelief when it comes to such sequences. Once you’ve done that, then you can fully enjoy the movie as it was meant to be enjoyed. The highly stylised fight sequences are a delight to watch. Another shout out to the ballet-esque fight scene with Devsena and Baahubali Sr.
I felt that I had become so jaded when it comes to movies that nothing can elicit cheers from me, but cheer I did whenever Baahubali Sr. strode into the courtroom looking mad as hell. Or when Bahubali Jr. whipped the villagers and rebel soldiers into a revenge-thirsty army within seconds. I was crying, I was laughing and I was freaking out the woman seated next to me. Sorry, woman in seat D-13. You deserved better.
Another example of respecting the fandom is the attention to detail. The movie was offering us grand fight sequences and larger than life characters, so did we really need intricate details pointing out the differences between the architecture and armoury of Kunthala and Mahismati? We did. We wouldn’t have loved the movie any less had they not been included, but the fact that they were just makes it so much better.
It’s 2017 and it has almost become a gimmick (sadly) to include ‘strong’ female characters in the narrative to get the feminist seal of approval. In case of Baahubali, the strongest characters just happen to be female. Sivagami and Devsena’s strengths come from the fact that they drive the story without being the caricature of a strong, empowered women like we’ve been seeing since a couple of times. Yes, I’m talking about the women of Begum Jaan. (More on that in the upcoming post)
I can ramble on and on about the details that make it more awesome (that’s a whole other post: coming soon). By the way, most of these details might be a product of my active imagination and the endless discussions I’ve had with my sisters who are also in similar states of meltdown as we speak. But since Rajamouli can do no wrong, I’m going to choose to believe that he had thought of everything.
Before I get back to watching Baahubali The Beginning for the 348792nd time, let me just say that in case you haven’t seen it yet then you better do it soon. You might be missing history being created.