There are small films. There are big films. And then there is Baahubali. Billed as India’s biggest motion picture, visionary director SS Rajamouli’s epic released today with expectations skyrocketing worldwide. What followed my entry into the cinema hall, was something which blew hot and cold.
Earlier this year, Shankar bestowed us with ‘I’ which had brilliant visuals, a strong tech team and everything else that a producer could spend on. In hindsight, the film lacked a strong baseline on which all these assets could be mounted on. Baahubali too, belongs to the same department. After a fairly good start, the film suffers from hiccups in its screenplay which bring about the dreaded drag. Nothing happens in the film until the very interval block, as it takes more time than usual in introducing its characters and getting to the body. It is only in the second half that the gearwheels get going, with the final forty minutes giving you one of the best action sequences in the history of Indian cinema. Rajamouli makes you wait until the very end to deliver his complete platter, and though the wait is worth it, one just wishes it would have been a little more engaging.
Prabhas is pretty decent in the titular role. Being a career-defining project, it is appreciable as to how much of effort the actor has put in. However, Baahubali did demand for a better actor, for it is a character which cannot get away with a lot of bulk and a handful of expressions. Rana on the other hand, fits the bill superbly as a villain with menacing looks. The show-stealers in the film are the elderly cast in the form of Sathyaraj, Nassar, Ramya Krishnan and Anushka, who come up with belters of performances. Sathyaraj in particular as Kattapa is a revelation throughout, stamping his class. Oh yes, we better not talk about Tammanna in this film.
There is absolutely no room for error in the technical aspect of Baahubali. The film sets a new benchmark for computer graphics in our industry, as only the extremely scrutinizing critics will find faults in the visual effects. On this budget, it is a colossal feat by the team to pull off such breath-taking visual splendour which is undoubtedly the USP of the film. The cinematography too, is top-notch with its aerial shots and perfect colouring which make it a stunning experience. The music may not be up to the mark with its speed-breaking songs (especially the item number), but Maragatha Mani makes up for it with his grandiose BGM in the second half. A special mention here to Madhan Karky’s imaginative work for the Kiliki language in the film, enjoyable stuff that.
Overall, Baahubali is a feast for the eyes in all its glory. Looking at it from another perspective, the revenge-obsessed, emotionally empty plot turns out to be its biggest villain. With a second part in the agenda, the film feels stretched longer than the time it could have been told in. The best is yet to come, let’s keep our hopes alive.
Verdict: Visually enticing period saga.
3.25 / 5