May 23 2017

Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion

Published by at 11:16 pm under Review,Tamil Cinema

baahubali-2

Wild imagination and gripping storytelling combined with a huge canvas, terrific VFX and stunning visuals made Baahubali – The Beginning  an exhilarating experience. After ending the film as a cliffhanger and making us wait for 1 1/2 years to know the answer, director Rajamouli is back with Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion. A solid story packed with drama and intrigue and grand set pieces and action sequences make the film one of the few sequels that does end up being both bigger and better than the original.

The film starts off where the first one ended with Amarendra Baahubali(Prabhas) ready to become king of Magizhmathi. Its template matches that of the first part as romance and comedy dominate the proceedings initially(after a creative opening credits sequence that highlights some key scenes from the Baahubali). As Baahubali and Kattappa(Sathyaraj) interact with the people of Magizhmathi, he falls for a princess Devasena(Anushka) and accompanies her to her kingdom Kuntala. The comedy is pedestrian as Baahubali , hiding his real identity, clowns around with Devasena’s uncle(Subbaraju). But the romance is more substantial with Devasena coming across as a strong woman who can hold her own in a fight. And there is no item number either.

The film takes off as an attack on the kingdom forces Baahubali to reveal his real identity. The subsequent battle is exciting but its best part is not the scene with where Baahubali rides two bulls with flaming horns or the one where he breaks down a dam to drive the enemy away. A more intimate archery sequence, where he and Devasena fight off hordes of advancing soldiers,  is staged in a way that it is sheer visual poetry.

While Baahubali and Palvaalthevan(Rana Daggubati) are the real enemies, the film cleverly never pits them against each other in the flashback. Instead, the drama arises from Baahubali going against his mother Sivagami(Ramya Krishnan). Considering that the first half went to great lengths to showcase Sivagami as fair and a devoted mother to Baahubali, the clash between them is dramatic and every argument between them drips with emotion. Both Devasena and Kattappa are stuck in the middle though their loyalties lie on opposite sides. And that eventually leads to the answer to the cliffhanger question from the first part – Why Kattappa killed Baahubali?.

Aside from providing the answer, that sequence is an example of the fact that Rajamouli also knows when to slow things down and focus on the drama. The sequence doesn’t have the showiness or energy that punctuates the rest of the film and is somber as befits the proceedings.

Its action all the way once the flashback ends. The battle sequence looks grander though strategy takes a backseat. The final clash between Mahendra Baahubali and Palvaalthevan is visceral and intense enough to justify the emotions leading up to it. The falls and tumbles they go through look real and Palvaalthevan’s crumbling statue provides a nice setting and backdrop for the battle.

As in Baahubali, Rajamouli presents the film as a string of high points with the plateaus between them serving to set in place, the emotions and drama needed to make those high points work. And because those set ups are so effective, the high points don’t have to be manufactured artificially with slo-mo shots and punch dialogs glorifying the hero. Whether its Baahubali unmasking his real identity to the royals in Kuntala, Sivagami proclaiming the baby Mahendra Baahubali to be next king, Baahubali punishing the guard who dared molest the women or Devasena stepping on Palvaalthevan’s statue’s head to continue her uninterrupted walk, the scenes serve as mini-climaxes to the gradual build up of drama.

More than anything else, the film is a testimony to Rajamouli’s ambition, vision and imagination. The VFX, the set design and cinematography work together to realize this vision. Everything about the film from the story and characterization to the detailing in the grand palace interiors to the vastness of the battles is larger-than-life (this can be seen even in the song sequences, like the way a boat goes airborne). Its this grandeur that lets us overlook some of the moments where things become a bit too over-the-top(the way Mahendra Baahubali and his men enter Palvaalthevan’s castle is the worst instance).

Baahubali-2 completes the story and is bigger and better than the first part. But putting that comparison aside, the two films together make up one of the greatest cinematic achievements in modern Indian cinema.

20 responses so far

20 Responses to “Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion”

  1. Prakash says:

    Awesome review for an awesome movie!

    My favorite sequence is the one you perfectly described as sheer visual poetry. I LOVE Crouching Tiger, which has often interested t but never replicated. This sequence was every bit as good.

    Devasena’s attitude was an unexpected surprise. And as Sivagami noted, warranted for someone to rule Mazhilmadhi :)

    Yeah, the way Mahendra B entered the castle felt like the weakest VFX work to me as well.

    Overall, Amarendra seemed larger-than-life. I guess that explains why people still remembered him 20-25 years after his death. He wasn’t just a king. He had lived as a commoner, helping them in the process.

  2. Prakash says:

    “which has often interested” should read “which has been often imitated”

  3. Jordan says:

    Good review, seemed like you really enjoyed it. Like the first part, I loved the characters, visualization, and music (BGM and songs really were amazing, esp Vandhaai Ayya). However, the plot points with Sivagami’s misunderstanding and Katappa’s indecisiveness made me confused for a bit. Also, I thought the climax was a little overlong. Nevertheless, this will remain an awesome experience with unforgettable moments, until Sundar C’s Sangamithra releases – what horror!

  4. Sujatha Ramesh says:

    Balaji,

    Finally a review !!
    I loved Part 2 better than 1 with respect to the characterization pf Devasena.

    The romance was well written – the boat scene was clap worthy !

    War scenes/strategy definitely 1 was better – 2 was a copy of angry birds !!

    Definitely a movie worth all the hype.

    From “why did kattappa kill bahubali” the viral trend is now when is prabhas marrying anushka !!!! The pair looks awesome ..

  5. Prakash says:

    Lol at the angry birds comment. But yes. Now that you mention it, the way they enter the castle is definitely reminiscent of Angry Birds.

    As for Prabhas-Anushka rumors … I’m sure if we had the concept of viral, “When will Kamal marry Sridevi?” would’ve been the viral trend during my childhood days! Idhellam serious-a edukka koodadhu :)

    Paavam Tamanna. Completely useless role. Everyone else got fairly meaty roles.

  6. I know there has been a huge hype for this film but for some reason I cannot bring myself to watch this film. I did not watch the first part as well. Not sure why but will try to catch up.

  7. Kumar says:

    While “The Conclusion” was a great movie watching experience, I personally liked the first part better because I thought it had the novelty factor, more intrigue and the cliffhanger ending. The second part was pretty straightforward in terms of story without any big surprises.

    I agree the way Baahubali and the soldiers enter the castle was “over the top”. However, I thought it was a nod to the past when his father used a similar technique while protecting Kuntala. This followed Sathyaraj’s advice asking him to think like his father.

  8. Prasad says:

    @Giri, I am curious you still took time out to post a comment about a movie which “you cannot bring yourself” to watch, which otherwise put the entire nation to frenzy (not counting you though). A total outsider would rather stay out :)

  9. Sujatha ramesh says:

    Prakash,

    Don’t break my heart like that – I want them to get married too !!!!!!

    in one interview Kamal said that sridevi is more like his sister — He used to bully her so much …
    and she was so scared of him !

    whatever !!!

  10. Harish says:

    To me, this was a 3 part movie. After amarendra bahubali on screen for so long, Mahendra seemed weak (untrained is a better choice) and stood no chance against the guile (both his education and smooth operation) and strength (both individually and his army)of pallavatevan.

    If they had shown how they mobilized an army, the training Mahendra undergoes and become a replica of amerendea, that would have been phenomenal (and an additional 1500 crores!). Why rajamouli decided to go for closure will forever remain a mystery for as much of a stickler he is. Aside of that one fact, loved the movie.

  11. @Prasad, I read Balaji’s reviews irrespective of whether I watch the movie or not. The comment was more of a response to the review. Did not know I cannot post a comment if I did not watch a film.

  12. Sandya says:

    @Giri, I am guessing that Prasad’s comment was more in surprise that few people post any comment about a film they haven’t seen and even if they do, it’s about why they didn’t bother seeing the film. Let me assure you, if the requirement is that I’d have to watch the movie to comment here, I’m finished. I read a lot of news and views in the internet and 99.9% of the time, I don’t watch movies that I’ve avidly read reviews/news about. I wouldn’t be qualified to comment even.

    Giri, for the record and for your solace, I haven’t seen Baahubali 2 yet. Thoroughly disappointed with my own self actually. I missed it in Dolby Atmos in the 1st week. Bahubali: The Beginning was simply divine in Dolby Atmos. :( :( :( Life goes on.. unfortunately in javvu fashion for me, considering that even Balaji has seen and reviewed it already! :0 😉

  13. Jordan says:

    Anyone who watched the Tamil version notice that the dubbing was a bit off? Some close ups and songs of Prabhas and Anushka appeared like they were mouthing Telugu instead. This became distracting after a point, esp from a director who seems to always seek perfection.

  14. Balaji says:

    Prakash, yeah Amarendra’s characterization was beautifully done and had lots of memorable moments. It had a lot of impact and Mahendra paled in comparison.

    Jordan, loved the BGM. Was perfect for those high points I talked about.
    And Sundar. C seems so wrong for a big-budget, period film. Not to mention Jayam Ravi, Arya & Shruti. Only way to put a positive spin on it is to think “at least its not P.Vasu”! :)

    Sujatha, the heroine in 2 was way better. Devasena was very well written and Anushka was perfect for the part. Boat scene was where she steps into the boat right? Loved it.

    Giri, youtube has a 4K print of part 1. Looks fantastic.

    Kumar, the lack of novelty factor is something all sequels have to manage. And the 1st part had the advantage of having a sequel coming and so could do a cliffhanger ending. But Amarendra and Devasena’s characterization and the Sivagami-Amarendra drama were fantastic here.

    Harish, yeah Mahendra comes off looking weak compared to Amarendra. But didn’t particularly feel that the story went easy on him or that he couldn’t match up to Palvaalthevan.

    Sandya, still planning to see it on the big screen I hope?

    Jordan, yes the film initially did seem to be a bilingual with all the actors mouthing Tamil. But midway through there were some scenes where they seemed to be talking in Telugu.

  15. @Sandya I understand and I normally don’t post comments on movies I don’t see. I just posted this comment as I kind of wondered why I did not feel like watching this film. I don’t know the answer, that’s the reason there is no explanation as to why I did not watch the film. :) All good anyways.

    @Balaji, thanks for the information I will try to catch up sometime if my 8 month old lets me.

  16. Reza says:

    Superb cinematography, brilliant special effects, very good music, first half was superb, but dissapointed with the 2nd half, should have trimmed down on heroism n concentrated more on story. Thought the climax was hurried and better tactics in entering mahishmsthi. I liked the telescope scene.

    All in all an excellent movie but part 1 was better for me. Terminator was the only movie which had the sequel better than the original. Not the part 3 which was crap.

  17. Sandya says:

    Balaji, just did today! Phenomenal! ??? The visual poetry scene, looks like Rajamouli worked overtime.

  18. Sandya says:

    Got to.. got to.. see it again! ?

  19. KP says:

    I loved the Ulta Rajini effect rich guy becoming commoner. Devasena and Sivagami were great wonderful imaginigation. The last hour was drag and the war sequence had none of the sale of part 1.

  20. deepak says:

    watsapp forward-girls like amarendra bahubali not because of his good looks or fighting skills but his courage to say to mother “you are wrong.my wife is right”