Tollywood Film Review “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion”



First, the Recap:

“If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”–Merchant of Venice Act 3, Scene 1 by William Shakespeare. When a deed beyond reproach is committed against us, against those most precious and valued, against our very family, what further motivation does one need to seek justice? The unfolding history of demi-god Shiva’s (Prabhas) lineage continues to come forth through master swordsman Kattappa (Sathyaraj), recounting the mighty deeds of Shiva’s father, Baahubali (also Prabhas). Through the victory over invading Kalakeya hordes, Baahubali’s ascension to the throne of Mahishvati seems all but assured by the decree of his mother Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan).

Choosing to seek out a suitable queen to share his reign, the beautiful yet highly formidable Devasena (Anushka Shetty) of neighboring kingdom Kunthala is ultimately his only choice. However, unbeknownst to Baahubali, his treacherous, overtly scheming brother Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) and his father Bijjaladeva (Nassar) have other, more conniving and sinister ambitions. As Shiva learns about his father’s fate as a result of one particularly stinging betrayal, the fire within him burns even stronger in intensity, knowing now that Bhalla’s deceit must not go unanswered. With the aid of newfound allies Avanthika (Tamannaah) and Kunthalan prince Kumar Varma (Subbaraju), Shiva sets out to exact vengeance and win back what is rightfully his, as past and present thunderously collide.

Next, my Mind:

To say this project was much anticipated would be the current understatement of 2017 (I mean, it’s now the highest grossing Indian film, well, ever!!), as director S.S. Rajamouli’s mammoth second installment and follow-up to 2015’s equally epic “Baahubali: The Beginning” comes storming into theaters with an exacting, raw, adrenaline-fueled visual spectacle raging out of Hyderabad’s hallowed Tollywood halls. Infusing the lushness of spectacular colors, fantastical realms, immense battles, Herculean feats, mesmerizing song/dance sequences, plus just the right dash of romance blended in, there’s simply no getting past the sheer majesty of an escapist action drama, executed as only Indian cinema can deliver. Having had, this reviewer felt, the benefit of seeing Part 1 for the first time one day prior, it kept the freshness of events forefront in the mind, hence easily becoming engaged with this ongoing narrative’s devices and flow, all while just sitting back and being in awe of what the viewer’s senses are treated to from start to finish.

One of the South’s biggest talents, Prabhas excels and then some in his continued portrayal of both Baahubali and his son Shiva, both demi-gods and absolute masters of their battle-hardened yet compassionate lives, with only the wicked duplicity and forced complicity of others as their potential downfalls. With enough bravado, fiery but focused emotion, and charm for ten films, Prabhas propels himself through these dual performances to superb effect, creating two larger-than life heroes we can more than easily cheer on, putting on a decidedly fierce, acute rendering of the legendary men. Sathyaraj also keeps shining as master swordsman and loyal supporter/confidant Kattappa, whose placed in a seriously compromising position by less than amiable men with an agenda. His regret at having to take certain actions is palpable and believable, and the character’s redemption is no less potent and inspiring. Given his involvement in both Baahubali and Shiva’s paths, Kattappa provides an interesting point of continuity between the two, well-played by Sathyaraj.

Daagubati’s menacing, ambitious, and quite hateful Bhallaladeva is one of those villains you very much love to despise and more than desire to see get what’s coming to him. Working against everything good both Baahubali and Shiva were intending to achieve for the kingdom of Mahishvati, his ruthless, remorseless demeanor and accompanying hostilities fuel the building retribution the story is presenting to tumultuous levels, much to Daagubati’s credit. Shetty’s Queen Devasena is a fantastically enacted picture of both beauty and fortitude, the former somewhat disguising the more than capable fighter she actually is.  It only fits that her attraction to Baahubali would occur, and how she factors into the culmination of events in Shiva’s time is excellently staged by Shetty. Krishnan’s Sivagami is well-presented as the character navigates the fateful politics and atmosphere created by both Baahubali and Bhalla, torn between sons she loves, yet a deeper agenda and power grab she’s caught up in.

Additionally apt support is provided here by Tamannaah as staunch warrior Avanthika who adamantly supports Shiva, Nassar as Bhalla’s cunning father whose poisonous attitude creeps through the minds of any who encounter him and his own deceptive whims, and Subbaraju as Prince Kumar Varma, an initially pompous and cowardly soul whom Baahubali turns into a man of action. In total, with its monumental scope, visual grandeur, resounding soundtrack, heart-stopping, over-the-top action, and dramatic flare, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” is a prime testament to the splendor of Indian cinema and an impressive reminder of what going to the movies should fundamentally be–straightforward and wildly entertaining.

As always, this is all for your consideration and comment.  Until next time, thank you for reading!


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