Sunday, August 02, 2015

Movie Review: Bahubali: The Beginning


Bahubali Movie Review
Bahubali Movie Review (Image Source: Google)

Movie Details. . .

Title: Bahubali: The Beginning
Director: S. S. Rajamouli
Music: M. M. Keeravani
Genre: Period
Running Time: 158 Minutes
Language: Hindi (Dubbed)
Rating: 4/5

Plot Summary. . .

The first installment of the two-part epic fantasy, Bahubali – The Beginning depicts the mythical tale of an ancient kingdom of Mahishmati in India. The kingdom which has been usurped with its legal heir displaced amidst the dramatic events which unfold somewhat as the story progresses.

The movie starts with Shiva (Prabhas) trying to climb a big waterfall whose unseen top always fascinates and entice him to win it over. Despite repeated failed attempts, his zest and zeal to conquer it goads him to re-attempt the unconquerable task until he succeeds. Following the vision and imprints of a mystical girl (Tamannah) whose mask accidently bumps upon him, Shiva finally manages to reach to the top of the waterfall defying all the obstacles and hurdles.

The top of the waterfall eventually reveals him the girl behind the mask who turns out to be a part of rebellious warrior group fighting to free their queen Devasena (Anushka Shetty) and regain the magnanimous kingdom of Mahishmati from evil king Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati). Shiva tries to woo the girl Avanthika, who post initial doubts and uncertainty also fall for him. She is, however, refrained and restricted to go further in the relationship owing to her loyalty towards the warrior group which has only one goal to free their queen and regain the kingdom. Shiva takes on the task of rescuing the queen upon himself, to absolve all barriers estopping her from listening to her heart.

As he makes a foray inside the majestic palace the silent strings of royal lineage are pulled, the symphony of which takes him back to the times when his father Bahubali (Prabhas) and uncle Bhallala Deva (Rana Daggubati) grow into a well-trained and well-groomed candidate for the successor of the royal throne of Mahishmati. The events as they unfold later tell Shiva of his father’s succession to the royal throne and his eventual killing. The flashback story is narrated by the royal guard Kattappa (Sathyaraj) who owns his loyalty and duty to the royal throne. The first installment ends here making a way for the much-anticipated sequel which is due to release early next year.

Why does the royal prince Shiva grows as a local village boy rather than a prince? Why is he fascinated by the top of the waterfall right from his childhood? Does Shiva manage to free the queen Devasena? Is Shiva able to get back the honor of the prince of Mahishmati? Who kills Shiva’s father Bahubali?

Watch the epic movie to explore the answers to above and to experience the journey to the kingdom of Mahishmati.

My Thoughts. . .

The period films have their inherent charms in terms of the vision and perspective with which they are made and also by virtue of the sheer grandeur they are expected to offer to the watching eyes. Bahubali, the beginning, does all that and more. It’s breathtaking, it’s stupendous and it’s colossal!!!

Bahubali celebrates the true spirit of Tollywood / Bollywood in a big way delivering a top class entertainment throughout the length and breadth of the movie, with some brilliant acting performances by some of the key actors and not to forget the par excellence musical rendition of the great M. M. Keeravani (M. M. Kreem). But what makes this one stands out is the directorial and technological brilliance which takes the beacon of Indian cinema a notch further.

Direction, Script & Story

S. S. Rajamouli requires no introduction in the field of movie making. His earlier work like Eega (Makhi in Hindi), Magadheera etc. have already won him the accolades. From whatever I could manage to see of him, he appeared to me as a perfectionist who spares a lot of time and effort in conceptualizing and conceiving the story (which surprisingly is not extraordinarily but the treatment of which makes it an experience to watch). If one has even the slightest of the doubt on this, watch Bahubali and I am sure all the doubts and apprehensions would be washed away forever.

To be candid, there is virtually nothing new in the story or the script which isn’t extraordinarily new or fabulous. It is the same old story of treachery, destiny and justice – a kingdom usurped by an evil confidant imprisoning the royal king / queen whose revenge is taken by the prince grown in a local village amidst deep forests . . . sounds familiar, isn’t it? Seems like our good old fables from Amar Chitra Katha or the ones from the grand ma’s bag of story? And that is what makes Rajamouli’s effort a bit more commendable as he manages to weave a scintillating magic from the age old story; something he did with Makhi earlier and now repeats here with Bahubali too, and with more perfection and precision.

In a bit to create an intense visual effect, the director no-where compromises with the story treatment and quite remarkably introduces various twists and turns right till the end to let viewer glued to their seat. The movie offers many whistling moments to the audience though some of the scenes do appear to be inspired from the Hollywood movies like 300 but then taking inspiration is not a crime but an artist’s way of evolving himself; however, simply replicating is surely an offence. For instance, the climax boasts of a prolonged war scene which extends for about 25 to 30 minutes brilliantly inspired and not shamelessly replicated.

The time, effort (and money) invested in the movie and its conception is evident and visible in every frame which doesn’t allow watching eyes to be taken off, lest you miss something. However, a couple of songs in the movie do appear to be forced-fed and seems unnecessary but the musical brilliance of M. M. Kreem covers up the same.

Music

Some has rightly said, “Where words fail, music lives.” that’s (why) perhaps this section remains the most favorite of mine. There is something magical about the music which does take the listener to an altogether different world.

Bahubali has seven tracks meticulously composed by the great M. M. Kreem with near poetic lyrics penned by Manoj Muntashir. Infact, M. M. Kreem quite splendidly creates a masterpiece which compliments perfectly to the overall grandeur of this extravaganza. The best parts of the album are the mix of instruments and strings used in line with the period with which the movie pertains and also the wonderful use of chorus more often which compliments so well to the songs.

The album opens with ‘Mamta Se Bhari’ sung by Bombay Jayshri which is a powerful number which opens subtly in a soothing fashion and then slowly climbs up the beat on the back of varied orchestration and handful of strings which pace up the spirit of the song along-with the brilliant use of chorus. Jayshri’s voice fits in perfectly in between offering a soothing subtleness amidst the powerful musical arrangement (reminded me of Azeemo Shan Shahenshah in Jodha Akbar) and enthralling chorus rendition. This is surely one of the best compositions of the album which is like an anthem of the album.

‘Jal Rahin hai’ by Kailash Kher is sensitive number depicting aftermath of the war typical to the backdrop of the period film. The chorus once again binds the whole of the song amidst the blowing trumpets and strings.

While the above two songs offers opulence and admixture of musical instruments and chorus rendition, ‘Swapn Sunehere’ is a short melancholic expression rendered superbly and hauntingly by Bombay Jaishri and Shwetha Raj. This is a pure vocal brilliance sung soulfully with violin playing in the background. The song leaves the listener asking for more (would have been great if it was a bit long than its current length of about one and half minutes).

‘Khoya hai’ comes in next rendered by Neeti Mohan complimented well by co-singer Kaala Bhairava is again a captivating number which starts with a vocal only and drum beating at the backdrop. With limited number of instruments used, it makes it easy to feel the individual beat. The regular chorus in between takes this to different level.

‘Kaun hai woh’ takes off with some of the great drum beats followed by soulful chants of Sanskrit shlokas. The vocals of Kailash Kher are evocative and song does appear as a ‘Shiva-Strota’ and has that edge of the seat feel attached to it. Here too the chorus does a faultless job making it a stand out number.

‘Panchhi bole’ is a romantic composition sung by the composer M. M. Kreem and Palak Muchhal which offers deep melody to the listener. Being a romantic number with perfect mix of lead singers’ contrasting voices, this remains a hummable song.

The final song of the album ‘Manohari’ sung by Neeti Mohan and Divya Kumar which is essentially akin to an item number which has arabic  flavor to it. This is a light and funny number, which is an average number and marginally falls short as compared to other tracks.

Acting & Other Aspects

In terms of star performances, Prabhas is a perfect star cast with rippling muscles and well carved abs displaying the aura, charm and intensity with equal ease. The varied shades in the character are delivered well by the actor. If there is an inherent charm in Prabhas, Rana Daggubati is as menacing as it gets. He is a perfect villain with that trademark evil grin which distinguishes the negativity in the character from the rest of the class.

However, the best of the performances comes from the supporting casts from Sathyaraj (Kattappa) who plays a loyal guard to the royal throne and Ramya Krishnan (Sivagami) as the queen of the kingdom Mahishmati. Ramya, in particular, delivers a powerful performance despite a shorter role but with the meatier dialogues. Rest of the cast including the lead actress Tamannah were quite average in their performance and enactment.

The technical aspect of Bahubali differentiates it with the other movies attempted in this genre. Each and every frame of the movie is shot aesthetically offering a picturesque canvas and with such coordination that no-where the film appears to be falling apart; kudos to the technicians for the brilliant work in almost all the areas of the movie making. The special effects have also been used to such a finesse that almost no where it really appears to be a work of digitization.

The Final Word. . .

Bahubali deserves a watch for the sheer imaginative admixture of an epical grandeur and magnanimity of scale with which it has been directed. With the tag of being the costliest film ever churned out in Indian film industry, the movie creates a spell bound impact on the viewer, leaving him asking for more. The towering scale and vision it offers yields perfect bang for your buck.

Watch it for an experience that takes the scale of Indian movie making a notch further with a leap that offers a near-perfect mix of entertainment, entertainment and pure entertainment.

Rating: 4/5

Watch The Trailer. . .

Watch the trailer of the movie here.

~Shubh Life . . . Om Sai Ram

© 2015 Manish Purohit (Reserved)

Heartfelt thanks for visiting here. . . While the thoughts are woven with the strings of the words, what remains to be seen whether they does manage to form a bridge for you to cross and listen to the beating. And if it does, do drop in your beat in the comment box . . . it always feels great to hear from you :)

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