IBTimes India Rating: 4
After "Eega", SS Rajamouli spent three long years for his next venture and it seems it was worth it. The ace director has created another visual extravaganza with "Baahubali" (Bahubali), which could well qualify as a classic in the annals of Indian cinema.
"Baahubali" is a two part-period drama; the first part titled "Baahubali - The Beginning" was released today (10 July).
Written by Rajamouli's father Vijayendra Prasad, the first part has a simple story in a routine format with all the commercial ingredients. What makes the film special is its rich production, which is on par with standards prevailing in Hollywood.
But first the story.
Shivudu (Prabhas) is a flamboyant, fun-loving person, and adventure seeker. He belongs to a royal family, but due to a quirk of fate, he is raised by a tribal couple in a forest.
Alongside, there is another plot that revolves around Avantika (played by Tamannaah), who is working with a gang that is trying to get released Devasena (played by Anushka Shetty) from the clutches of the king of Maheshmathi, Ballala Deva (Rana Daggubati).
There are three different plots marking Shivudu, Avantika and Ballala Deva, which run parallel to each other in the first half of "Baahubali - the Beginning". How the director brings these plots together is very interesting.
The film trails even as the director builds the plots related to these three characters in a convincing way. The slow-paced narration won't allow viewers to take a break.
What stands out in the first half is Senthil Kumar's amazing camera work. Some of the scenes, especially those featuring Prabhas chasing Tamannaah around the breathtaking waterfall, his romance with her and his rescue act that saves her from Rana's army in the snow-covered mountains are simply superb and will definitely leave viewers spellbound.
Keeravani's mesmerizing background score adds to the impact. The exotic locales are another big attraction in the first half and are sure to tease the senses of viewers.
After the interval, "Baahubali" goes into flashback mode, which is about Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas) and Ballala Deva, who are cousins belonging to the royal family of Maheshmathi. Ballala Deva is the son of Bijjala Deva (Nassar) and Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan). After the death of his mother, Sivagami raises Baahubali along with Ballala Deva.
Both Baahubali and Ballala Deva learn the art of running a kingdom. At this juncture, Kalakeya (Prabhakar) wages a war against Maheshmathi and Sivagami announces whosoever of the two kills Kalakeya, will become the king of Maheshmathi. Ballala Deva tricks Baahubali and kills Kalakeya. But Sivagami makes Baahubali the king after seeing his ability during the war.
The second half is engaging and the war in the climax is awesome. Sabu Cyril's brilliant art direction in creating the kingdom of Maheshmathi, V Srinivas Mohan's VFX work in war scenes, Peter Hein's amazing choreography of action and war sequence, Rama's costume designs, Senthil's cinematography and designing of weapon remain highlights of the film.
SS Rajamouli has made movie buffs wait desperately for the release of "Baahubali - the Beginning" and has continued it by ending the first part of the movie abruptly.
Questions such as why Kattappa (Satyaraj) killed Baahubali, how Ballal Dev became king, why and how Shivudu landed in a forest, what connection Avanthika shares with the royal family of Maheshmathi make viewers curious about the second part of "Baahubali".
Prabhas plays two roles and does justice to both of them. Rana also delivers his best in his role. Both of them are impressive with their chiseled bodies, stunts and dialogue delivery. Besides filling the glamour slot, Tamannaah also does some action scenes and wins the hearts of film goers, especially in the first half.
Anushka does not have much screen presence in "Baahubali - the Beginning", but she manages to steal the show in her limited role.
Ramya Krishnan, Sathyaraj, Nassar, Prabhakar and Adivi Sesh have played some crucial roles and their performances are also good. Sudeep is also impressive in his brief cameo as Aslam Khan.
As mentioned above, MM Keeravani's music is one of the big highlights of "Baahubali - The Beginning" and helps the director to elevate the intensity of many sequences.
His soundtracks are also good and in sync with the narration of the story. The technical departments other than the ones mentioned above have also done a good job.
Overall, "Baahubali - The Beginning" is a fantastic period movie never made before in the history of Indian cinema. The movie boasts of an interesting storyline and sterling performances by the lead actors. The film surely catapults Indian cinema to international levels.
As mentioned above, "Baahubali - The Beginning" is a visual extravaganza, which no reviewer or critic can describe so easily in words. It should be watched in theatres to feel the extravaganza.