In the movie ‘300:The Rise of an Empire’, King Leonidas says to the Persian Emissary: “You bring the heads of conquered kings to my city steps! You insult my queen... You threaten my people with slavery and death! Oh, I`ve chosen my words carefully persian, but you should have done the same!”
Exactly how Mahishmati’s evil ruler Bhallaldev along with his father Bijjala, threatened the peace of Mahishmati, by conspiring against the Raajmata (Shiv-Gaami), and held in captive Devasena, the true queen of the kingdom and the biological mother of Baahubali, for 25 years, before Baahubali rescued her. A story that has been told millions of times before, with a predictable protagonist and an equally, dim-witted antagonists, followed by some super-effective fight scenes and an innocent but tortured mass to have that sympathetic side at stake as well. Then why is Baahubali yet loved by everyone?
There are certain aspects in the movie that we just can’t ignore, no matter how ancient and overrated the narration is:
The Special Effects: This is undoubtedly the most contributing factor, that played out well enough to make the theatres packed with people. With enchanted waterfalls, epic fight scenes, dreamy dancing sequences and equally stunning cinematography is just what is needed to break the boredom of watching the same-old story with curiosity, enough to pre-book the tickets to the sequel months before its release. SS Rajamouli knows how to play his cards well, but the tracks were not all covered well under CGI, as the scenes were, at times a poor adaptation from the original inspiration. For example, some of the fight scenes remind you of movies like 300, Samson and Delilah, The Ten Commandments, which have the same scenes or relative screenplay under much better circumstances. The scene where Baahubali’s armlet is scattered into pieces, as his muscles are flexed to lift the gigantic golden idol of Bhallaldev, is so much for careful direction. Yes, for Indian audience, the patriotism also plays alongside the special effects for the film, as everyone gets overwhelmed with the fact that Indian movies have finally crossed the bar of heavy CGI and made the dream of making movies like Avatar, 300 here. Baahubali seems to get passed from the audience, even after some lame effects on screen, who are teary-eyed enough to let go anything, because of the fact that India is taking baby steps towards International Visual Effects standards.
A demi-god & goddess Love Story: So, Baahubali is nothing less than an Indian adaptation of Greek god Anemoi, who could climb waterfalls higher than the Niagra Falls by almost flying to the edge of the creeks. Avantika, who seems like the perfect blend between the Greek goddess of pleasure, love Aphrodite and the Greek goddess of wisdom and war-craft Athena. The film gives a faint hint of the 2005 Canadian film ‘Lie With Me’ because of the thick, aggressive sexual tension between the leads, but then slowly settles down to more subtle love story with strong sexual message sent like Mandakini in Ram Teri Ganga Maili. Just that is enough, to get the people hooked and swarm into the theatres like flies. We can always look back to films like ‘Mastizaade’ and songs like ‘Laila Main Laila’ in ‘Raees’ to assume the rest.
The Aggressive, but Loyal Innocent Old Man, Kattappa: Much like Bhishma in Mahabharata, or like Gandalf- The Grey in The Lord of the Rings, Kattappa is a character that everyone has that instant-connect to. The character is shown to be in his shining armour, almost as a loyal pit-bull and equally lethal to enemies, but has one of those innocent and pain-stricken face. The actor, Sathyaraj plays it exactly how it is to be played natural. Kattappa is shown to be at the beck-and-call of anyone in the administering the Kingdom, be it the Whites or the Blacks, hides the dirty-little secrets of the rulers, helpless with rage for the evil-doings of the ruler but also has a weight of his past guilt on his shoulders. This character, literally steals the spotlight without even competing hard for it.
An Unpredictable Cliff-hanger: Finally, it adds the salt to taste to the entire process. This cliff-hanger takes yet another strong point in the success of Baahubali, since it has too much at stake, thus completing the circle. The audience would never have, and still don’t believe Kattappa to be responsible for Baahubali’s death because of Kattappa being that ‘Elderly Figure Everyone Looks Upto’ but also never would have had in its precedence, that the film would end at such a conjecture. Unlike any other Bollywood movie directors, SS Rajamouli has well-thought upon the sequel with adequate preparation and brought it out on the screen, with no extra effort to manipulate people to watch the next movie.
Honestly, the movie in innumerous way remind you of movies like The Lord of The Rings, 300 (especially when the army of Mahishmati have those Gladiator armours, to make them look Spartans) Exodus Gods & Kings, Cleopatra and even of some video games like The Legend of Zelda or Dynasty Warriors on the Nintendo Switch or PS4. Baahubali pulls it off as it has something for everyone in the audience, no matter which age group or region they belong to, and gives it to them while keeping them dazed with that dangling carrot upon their heads, leaving them to want more at the same time being distracted enough to buy something so clearly racist, sexist and overrated, that they wouldn’t have signed up for unless being blinded by the enchanting waterfalls or the indomitable patriotism.