OK. I’m going to say this first before you guys start throwing rotten tomatoes and eggs at me. I saw Baahubali 2: The Conclusion yesterday and I loved it.
Sheer visual grandeur rooted me to the spot in the darkened cinema hall. I just could not take my eyes off majestic Baahubali on an elephant, arrogant and emphatic Sivagami and prideful princess Devasana. I loved the villian Bhallaladeva and how can you not like loyal Kattappa. It felt like SS Rajamouli penned these roles keeping in mind these actors.
I have always been a fan of period movies and books. I liked to peek at how Rajas and Ranis lived, how they dealt with romance and rivalry. Those twists and turns and explosive love triangles that result in wars, I revel in them. Rajamouli’s magnum opus Baahubali was obviously on top in the league of Indian period movies with huge budget and powerful revenge saga. In a time where there is a dearth of good movies, Baahubali sure stands out. The fact that the movie has crossed Rs 400 crore collection at box-office stands testimony to that.
With such grand scale, the movie should have been an epic. It should have been perfect in every sense from casting to story and visual graphics to action sequence. But somehow it was not. Despite having all the success ingredients and great looking and capable actors, the revenge story did not touch me. As engrossed as I was in the movie, it did not make an impact it intended to.
For one, there are no surprises. When you are making a revenge story and in two parts, you would expect some sort of surprise that will throw audience off-balance. There was nothing. Even when we find out the reason why Kattappa killed Baahubali, all you feel is: ‘Oh Ok. This was why.’ When Sivakami announces Baahubali’s posthumous son Mahendra Baahubali is going to be the next king, you don’t go ‘Wow’ but rather a deflated ‘ah. Fine’. You don’t get goosebumps or feel ecstatic like the citizens of Magizhmathi. Rather I could not empathise with them and I should have been. Your body does not vibrate with emotions. I think this is exactly what was missing in the movie. There is nothing in the movie that makes your heart sink and cry when papa Baahubali dies or jump in joy when the son and mother Devasena get their long awaited revenge by setting Bhalladeva on fire.
This is so unlike movies and series I have seen before. I still remember the exhilaration I felt when I watched this anime called Saiunkoku Monogatari. Not many would have heard about it since it was a Japanese anime. It was about an Emperor who falls in love with woman, an intelligent and strong woman with a very short life to love, who he was not supposed and changes the dynamics of the whole story. The romance is set at the backdrop of turbulent political landscape . It got me hooked right from first frame. The way the story flowed, its unpredictability, ever changing nature of characters and its politics consumed me. I could not forget about it even days after I watched it. I still remember every single moment – tender and romantic yet laced with political upheaval that is impossible to pass up. I remember the anxiety and tension I felt when things went downhill. I was swooning when the heroine begins to fall for the Emperor. It felt like I was a part of the anime and was at the place of action, which was ancient Japan centuries ago. That is exactly what I was expecting in the much anticipated movie and was a little disappointed.
I did not feel a part of the movie. I was a mere spectator, who is looking at magnificent act created by the director and actors. It was splendid. The actors were great. But that was where it stopped. When I came out of it, I was already thinking about what to have for dinner rather than swoon at Mahendra Baahubali’s bravery avenging his father. This is exactly what is stopping Baahubali 2 from becoming an epic it was meant to.