Bahubali – of biceps and banal film-making

The movie begins with a shot of Ramya Krishnan struggling to save a child. A waterfall, probably bigger than the Niagara, looms large into the frame. I will not tell you what happens next. But be prepared for a twist, of which there are many in Bahubali. Let me warn you, this movie doesn’t end. There is a second part.

Bahubali is a kind of movie that seeks to skirt criticism and directly woo the audience. Critics I read, more on less, gave the movie a thumbs-up. It is already been tagged as the most expensive movie ever made in India. I found the special effects to be woefully lacking. But sometimes you can’t make out sets from paintings and graphics. Kudos to Sabu Cyril and cinematographer KK Senthil Kumar.

There is a war scene at the end, which is mounted on the scale of LOTR. The kingdom is attacked by barbarians; much like Gladiator, where Maximus’ army takes on the horde.

The music reminds me, in certain parts, of Couching Tiger Hidden Dragon. And it doesn’t fit in. I have never been a fan of Maragatha Mani, but I always thought of him as a dignified composer. His image may be tarnished if he lifts the music from a lot of places.

Director SS Rajamouli

Director SS Rajamouli

There is a plum role for Sathyaraj, who nails it. As the narrator of the mandatory flashback sequence, and the guardian of the throne, the actor is excellent. He is organic in a movie, which is largely plastic.

But the performances in the movie are uneven. Tamannaah, especially, displays her lack of histrionics. But she has a navel, which the camera keeps cutting to, during a duet. Well, all of us have one, don’t we? As if this is not enough, there is an item number, too.

I will be there for Bahubali, The Conclusion. Not just to watch, but to criticize it too.

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