Rating: 8/10 (Amazing except for that ending)
The name SS Rajamouli needs no introduction. He is one of the only directors to never have a film fail yet and is always pushing the envelope. His most ambitious project called Baahubali, is India's most expensive film ever made and due to the long story, it's being made in two parts. Starring Rebel Star Prabhas in the lead role, does this Hollywood looking film live up to the gargantuan expectations? Find out in my review.
Story: It's a common story told many times before but enhanced with extensive VFX work. Sivagami(Ramya Krishna) is being chased near a massive waterfall by some soldiers and is trying to save a child. She kills the soldiers but is near her own death and falls into the nearby river. She asks for sins to be repented and sacrifices herself to save the child. A group of villagers find the boy and he grows up to be the spirited and unrestrained Shivudu(Prabhas with a six pack) and is loved by one and all in his village. He finds a wooden mask of a girl one day and becomes obsessed with it and he treks the waterfall and finds out she is Avanthika (Tamannah) who is a part of a Guerra solder group who want to free the righteous queen Devasena(Anushka). She and Sivudu eventually fall in love and he takes it upon himself and enters the kingdom called Mahishmathi to free the queen.
The kingdom is ruled by the ruthless tyrannical king Bhallaladeva(Rana Daggubati) and his father Bijjaladeva (Nasser) and Bhalla's son Bhadra(Adivi Sesh). Devasena has been imprisoned for the last 25 years by Bhalladeva and it is Kattappa's (Satayaraj) wish to see her free. Sivudu successfully rescues Devasena and kills Bhadra in the process and before Kattappa tires to kill him and he turns around and he realizes that he looks just like the once righteous but now deceased king, Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas). Who is Baahubali and what happened to him? Why is Mahishmati under Bhallaladeva's reign? Watch this epic film to find out
Performances: If a film knows to cast the right people, then this is definitely the one. If you're a Prabhas fan, then film is an absolute feast for you. Prabhas has worked so hard and put in so much dedication to get ripped for Sivudu and like a super human for Baahubali. He is excellent and witty as Sivudu and extravagant and brave as the king Amarendra Baahubali. You can't imagine any other actor playing this role.
Rana Daggubati was skeptical about playing the villain Bhalladeva but he eventually accepted the role. Rana is an absolute revelation as Bhalladeva and gives serious competition to Prabhas in terms of physique. His role is subdued in this part because we will only know the real truth in the next part for him to give his maximum performance.
Tammanah is ok as Avantika. Anushka as Devasena looks ghastly and she will also be given maximum performance time in the 2nd part because that's where the real story lies. Satyaraj as Kattappa is excellent.
It's Ramya Krishna who outshines everybody with her fierce and ferocious performance as Rajamatha Sivagami Devi. She is world class in this film.
Nasser is good as Bijjaladeva. Prabakhar as Kalakeya Warlord is superb in bringing laughs to the audience with Kilikili language and looks deadly with his make up. Everyone else is fine.
Technicalities: This film technically is literally wold class . Music by MM Keeravani, Cinematography by KK Senthil Kumar, Art by Sabu Cyril, Dialogues, Story by V Vijayendra Prasad, Action by Peter Heins, VFX by Srinivas Mohan, Production Values by Arka Media Works, and of course direction by SS Rajamouli are all world class. Period.
Analysis: Biggest budget. Check. Hollywood film feel.Check. Ensemble cast. Check. World CLass BGM. Check. Satisfying ending? FAILED. To put it simply, SS Rajamouli's Baahubali the Beginning is the most technologically advanced film ever made in India. Everything about it gives you the sense that you are watching a Hollywood film but they're speaking Telugu instead of English.
Coming to the story wise, the film isn't anything new. It's the story of an adopted boy who realizes that he's meant for greater things and is actually the son of royalty. This story has been dealt with many times, specifically in Disney's Hercules which is almost identical to this film. It's an old story told with the best VFX and amenities available to give you the best cinematic experience.
Rajamouli's script is good. But this is perhaps the first time that his direction isn't great at every point.The first half of Baahubali starts off well with a stunning opening sequence but all the parts featuring Sivudu and his village aren't told in the most entertaining manner. Until the introduction of Rana and Mahishmati Kingdom, the film is pretty boring and only then do you get to see the real grandeur and scale of this film. But right when you think the film is about to bore you once again, it takes a 360 degree with Sivudu entering the kingdom and the interval scene has classic Rajamouli written all over it and the BGM and taking is sure to give goosebumps every time you see it.
The 2nd half is excellent and the flashback episode is like no other 45 minutes you've ever seen in a Telugu film. It is absolutely world class but the war sequence does seem dragged out. The end of the war sequence and Sivagami's decision is not surprising and you knew who got the throne. I was going to give an 8.5 but I gave a half a rating lower because of that ridiculous, wanting to pull your hair out ending as to why Kattappa killed Baahubali. It is the worst ending to a movie I've ever seen and no director should ever do that to the audience. We will have to wait until April 28th, 2017 to find out why this bald headed slave murked the king in cold blood. On a whole, Baahubali is amazing film with an torturous ending. I'm going with 8/10.