Bahubali : Visually Spectacular Epic
S. S. Rajamouli’s name will go down in the history of Indian Cinema as one of the most important filmmaker. Through his films Magadheera and Ega, he tried to push the envelop in terms of VFX and scale. With his latest offering “Bahubali”, he is successful in declaring that India has arrived on the VFX scene.
Story of Bahubali is often repeated tale of an ordinary mind realising that he is actually the chosen one and the messiah of public. It also draws a lot of references from Mahabharata. Story is written by S. S. Rajamouli with Madhan Karky, Rahul Koda and Vijayendra Prasad. Screenplay is flawed and draggy in first half. It takes time to warm up but as it goes into second half, the film takes momentum and increases the grip on the audience. It ends on a note where you can not help but get eager for the second film releasing in 2016.
Director S. S. Rajamauli totally owns the film. This is his film from start to finish. Though the story telling is draggy, cliched and inconsistent, you can not help but applaud Rajamauli just for the grand vision this man had about this film. He makes every frame appear like a painting and infuses creativity in every scene. I particularly loved the artistic efforts put into the courtship of Bahubali (Prabhas) and Avanthika (Tamannaah Bhatia). Some may found it laughable but it sure is a piece of creative.
As the movie proceeds ahead, we are in awe of the visual spectacle that unfolds on the screen. Rajamouli makes it interesting with the war strategies. Without being preachy, he highlights that a great leader needs to have a perfect balance of compassion and wisdom.
Rajamouli extracted good performances from all the actors though the acting is a bit loud. There are few well itched characters like Kattappa (Satyaraj), Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), Nasser (Bajjaladeva) and these actors did outstandingly well in those roles.
Prabhas looks and acts the part of Bahubali. Through his performance, he makes it easier for the audience to route for him, his passions, his love and his troubles. While he feels perfectly cast for the role, we can not say the same about Tamannaah Bhatia. I think did just enough for the role but a better actress could have taken it to greater lengths.
Editor Venkateswara Rao Kotagiri could have cut down the movie to make it faster in the first half and could have avoided the songs when the story takes momentum. Also opting for linear narrative could have made each movie complete and self contained. Nevertheless, good work.
Music by M. M Keeravani is ok and songs feel like they are just dubbed in hindi. Even I felt lip sync to be imperfect. Background music is superb. Cinematography by Senthil Kumar is outstanding. Production Design by Sabu Cyril and Art Direction by Manu Jagadh is world class and proves. All these people along with the clap worthy VFX team prove that India is now at the start of the revolution where such big scale VFX driven movies will be part of our cinema. Multipart films will also become a norm to make the project viable. The VFX team really deserves a standing ovation.
Overall, Bahubali is an epic saga which is presented at the grand scale matchable to Hollywood. Ignore the story telling, the flaws, the draggy first half, just watch the movie with full family and friends. This movie needs your backup if you want Indian films to shed the masala formula and give tough fight to the Visual Spectacles from Hollywood.
(2.5 for the cinema and 1 for the VFX and scale)
Recommendation: Must watch for the visual treat it offers.