Baahubali: The Beginning – Movie – Review

Baahubali the Beginning - Poster

The best visual effects? Really? It depends!

Synopsis

‘Baahubali: The Beginning’ is a tale of two cousins in the Kingdom of Mahishmati, India. Balla fights his way with cousin Baahubali for the throne. Young Shivudu grows in the tribes and travels to the distant lands above the waterfalls to fall in love with the beautiful Tamanna, the tribal warrior and helps in her quest to rescue Devasena a prisoner from the claws of King Balla. In this quest, he finds out that the legendary King Baahubali is his father and Devasena the prisoner is his mother from the slave commander in chief Katappa of King Balla. Katappa narrates to Shivudu about the legends of his father Baahubali and the epic battle by the brothers Balla and Baahubali against the cruel king who attacks the Mahishmati Kingdom, in this battle Baahubali is crowned as the king by Sivagami as she thinks he is more worthier to the throne. This strengthens Balla’s hatred towards his brother king Baahubali.

Native and/or alternative titles: बाहुबली, The One with Strong Arms
Year: 2015
Countries: India
Languages: Telugu, Tamil
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
Director: S. S. Rajamouli
Writer: K. V. Vijayendra Prasad
Cast: Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Anushka Shetty, Tamannaah, Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj, Nassar

Buy Hindi / Malayalam version from Amazon India

Review

Believe it or not, I did not watch Bahubali till now. I never managed to gain enough interest to go to the movie hall to watch the movie, nor buy the CD not enough inclination to simply watch it online or borrow it from a friend. So, why did I finally decide to watch it? It’s because the constant pressure from my friends to watch Bahubali from the moment the news of Bahubali 2 hit the press. Conclusion? Me sitting and watching Bahubali one day before I am supposed to go watch Bahubali 2 (tomorrow).

Prabhas - Baahubali the Beginning
Prabhas as Baahubali

So basically, Bahubali is the story about a boy (Shiva) who grew up in a tribal community. He was found by the tribal people floating in the river and eventually Shiva was adopted by them. But, this boy is no ordinary boy and turns out to be the son of the great King Amarendra Bahubali. Due to his curious nature, he explores the world, to his adoptive family’s horror, and in one of his adventures, she comes across another tribal warrior, a maiden who steals his heart at first site. This lovely maiden goes by the name of Avantika. Avantika is going after King Bhalla (Amarendra Bahubali’s cousin) who is holding Devasena prisoner. As Shiva substitutes Avantika is this treacherous rescue mission, he finds out the tales of his origins, his father and his Uncle.

To be honest, Bahubali never interested me. To me, it was highly overrated and I was certain that it would disappoint me gravely. I remember the time Bahubali had released, my entire family went to watch it but I decided to pass and went for a different movie (whose name I cannot remember, a completely unremarkable movie. So, I ended up getting disappointed anyway).



The arguments my friends made in support of Bahubali and also Bahubali 2 went something along these lines:

  • One of the best stories…
  • The MOST epic Indian movie….. EVER!
  • A box office record breaker…
  • It has the best VFX among all the Indian films. A VFX better than even most Hollywood films. It outclasses Hollywood VFX…
  • It is simply GRAND…

Well, these arguments definitely got my hopes slightly up and convinced me enough to try the film at least (even if only to get some material for another review on the blog *cue evil laugh*). So let me respond to all these arguments one by one~

One of the best stories: This is one of the two comments that I hate the most about this film. Especially after watching Bahubali. Even before watching it, I could not find any charm or anything special about this film. Absolutely nothing. Now, after seeing the movie myself, I can happily mention that the story of the film is average at best (without people pointing fingers at me for making comments without even watching the movie first). This plot has been recycled way too many times and is totally predictable. Except for the cliffhanger at the end, nothing stands out and seems unique or special. Adding to this, in comparison to the contents of the movie the movie itself was way too long. A very long predictable film = ultimate boredom (this is maths, can’t go wrong with it!!)

Tamannah - Avantika - Baahubali Beginning
Tamannah as Avantika

The MOST epic Indian movie: I don’t exactly know what my friend meant by ‘epic’ but if it is about the enormous budget, extravagant sets and the massive production scale then based on the facts and number, it is clearly ‘epic’. In fact not just epic but the most epic Indian film ever! But, contrary to my friend, I am not quite so confident that this is the most epic film. But hey! It is definitely better than the movie called ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. Can anybody even justify spending almost ₹1.75 billion for that? (Source: Wikipedia)

Anyways, back to the point, if my friend meant the overall content quality of the film, then it is most certainly NOT an epic film by any means.

A box office record breaker: Well… I knew it. Bahubali was all over the media when it first came out in 2015. It is now officially a cult. It is hard to miss and news about its earnings and collections and all the other details in regards to this film (unless one is a hermit and has quite the materialistic world and decided to lead a humble life in an isolated part of the world). The first part (i.e. this part) was quite a massive hit. Not sure about its collection figures but the second one just crossed ₹400 Crore (₹4 billion/US $62.5 million) for the Hindi version and the worldwide collection reached more than ₹12 billion within a couple weeks of its release. As much as I would love to criticise this movie, these figures are a remarkable feat. Simply outstanding.

It has the best VFX among all the Indian films: This is the second of the two comments/arguments which I hated about this film. Granted that this film has an astounding amount of good VFX shots (considering it is an Indian film, and I don’t trust anything to be great which has ‘India’ and ‘VFX’ in the same sentence. Of course, hoping that I am proven wrong in the very near future~). This film definitely has quite a few good VFX shots but it also has a lot of amateurish VFX shots too. Sort of feels like completely different people and teams made different parts of the same movie. But, it certainly has better VFX than many other Indian movies like ‘Ra.One’, ‘Robot’, and ‘Krrish’. None-the-less can one honestly say that Bahubali had better VFX than ‘Avatar’, ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes’, ‘Gravity’ or the old classic ‘Jurassic Park’ (which came out almost 25 years ago)!!!! I read a quote somewhere, don’t remember where or who said it,

A CGI is not a good CGI if you can tell that it’s a CGI

It may not be true in all situations but here it definitely hits the bull’s eye. Compare the tyrannosaurus-rex of Jurassic Park with the bulls of Bahubali…. Can you tell which is fake or less realistic? (To does who say that T-rex doesn’t actually exist anymore so we can’t come… Save it! You know I am right so just admit it). The T-rex made in 1993 still looks far more realistic than the bulls made in 2017. In fact, those bulls (and a long list of other things) seemed completely out of place and the VFX can be compared to those of the low budget 3D films. Mind you, I am not looking down on the VFX of Bahubali. In my opinion, it is the best VFX of any Indian film made till date (If there is a better one then please let me know!). To people who compared Bahubali to Hollywood movies and hailed Bahubali to be better and outclassed the Hollywood…I would suggest you watch a Hollywood movie first.

Watch the T-rex of the Jurassic Park…

It is simply GRAND: No doubt, it certainly is! But, as I said earlier, I do not find the story compelling. It is a ‘been there, done that’ plot which is unnecessarily long. The beginning is quite good (with a strange mix of some stunning natural scenes along with some horrible VFX). Then came the romantic scenes which are in my opinion, totally unnecessary. I do not usually get annoyed easily but the romantic scenes got to me in an instant! They are vague and confusing at best. Hopefully, they will be justified in the second instalment (*fingers crossed* or I will be royally pissed).

I also noticed some visual inconsistencies throughout the film and no, I am not talking about the songs but the landscapes. That’s right, the landscapes were constantly changing quite drastically in between a few scenes without any valid reason or requirement. From dense jungles to barren deserts to snow-clad mountains! I don’t know about others but it bugged me constantly.

Ramya Krishnan - Shivgami - Baahubali Beginning
Ramya Krishnan as Shivgami

Moving on to the characters, my favourite character is Kattappa (Sathyaraj). He is a man of honour, he is sensible, loyal to his superiors, down-to-earth and without a doubt a strong character indeed. These are some of his qualities that made me root for his character. I think wasn’t just me but everyone loves Kattappa.

Another character whom I liked is Rajmata Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan). She is righteous, has a strong will and is sensible as well as powerful, she also has natural leadership skills. For me, she was the strongest character in the story.

I did not like Shiva/Mahendra Bahubali (Prabhas) as much as Kattappa and Rajmata Sivagami. Mahendra does not have the ‘oomph’ factor but Amarendra (Prabhas) does. I liked how Amarendra and Bhallaldeva’s (Rana Daggubati) character developed throughout the film. It was brief but nicely done. Devsena (Anushka Shetty) wasn’t exactly the focus of the story in this movie. I feel that we don’t get to see enough of her background. Hopefully, Devasena’s character will be given more priority in the next part and we will get to know more about her. I don’t understand what is Avanika’s (Tamannah Bhatia) significance except meeting Bahubali in the movie and pointing him towards his homeland. She barely appears after the beginning. I hope she also has some more role to play in the story.

So is Bahubali still overrated in my opinion? Definitely. In fact, I am feeling more disappointed than I expected to be. It was an average film at best. It feels lengthy and boring. I do not mind other things if a film is at least entertaining but Bahubali was a below-par entertainment. However, I would recommend it to time-pass.



Have you seen ‘Baahubali: The Beginning’? If yes, then what do you think about it? Do you agree with me that it is an overrated film? If you have not seen it, does it sound interesting enough to watch? Comment below!

About Mit

A proud introvert with a love for the big and small screen world. Have an obsession with the world of Asian Cinema. Welcome inside my Asian plagued mind.

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