As far as epics are concerned, Indian mythology is rich – whether in its characters or intricacy of plot. SS Rajamouli's 'Baahubali' borrows the essence of an Indian epic complete with a god-like hero and power-play of brothers fighting for the throne. Undoubtedly, he succeeds in making a great impression.
Both Prabhas and Rana Dagubatti play brothers-turned-foes and the larger than life story follows their path of fighting for the kingdom of Mahishmati. But the first part of the actual 290 minute period film just starts with how the struggle begins and it will leave you wanting more.
Firstly, the movie is not just 'large' in its scale, it is colossal. The visual effects and the action-choreography matches up to Hollywood. Once the war sequence starts, you would instantly remember period films like '300' or 'Troy'. In fact, in a particular sequence as the Mahishmati defense builds a wall against the enemy you would catch glimpses of both these movies. The bloody battle, the twists in the strategy as both brothers fight their common enemy - the tribal king Kalakeya, the detailing in armory and even the enemy will have you hooked.
The war scene will dazzle you, even the 40 minute-long battle will leave you wanting more.
The film's spectacular action sequences have been choreographed by Peter Hein and he has indeed put a lot of effort in making it look grand. The VFX by Srinivas Mohan adds to the entire experience. Both have put the Herculean vision of the director in place and formed a perfect team with the art director of the film, Sabu Cyril – creating everything from scratch - from building a waterfall, a mountainous terrain to creating an army of 30,000 people.
Prabhas and Dagubatti are perfect for their respective roles as Baahubali and Bhallala Deva. Chiseled bodies, powerful stance and they perform their stunts with elan. Each captures the entire screen keeping up with the grandiose of the film. Prabhas fails in emoting during the few love scenes though, looking positively out of place. Tamannaah, (as Avantika) is supposed to be playing an assassin but quickly loses sight of her objective and is sidelined to accommodate the hero into the main storyline. There are some laughable moments on the screen as these two interact but as the second half approaches these flaws can easily be forgotten--and action starts taking over.
Anushka Shetty (as Devasena) is disappointing in this film. The biggest wonder is that after investing so much on the sets and everything else, why did they not get someone better for make-up and age the character as it required? She not only looked bad, but her “Mera Beta Ayega” was reminiscent of Rakhee from 'Karan Arjun'. And with the Hindi dubbing, the scene was more unintentionally hilarious than emotional, as I presume the director wanted us to feel.
Ramya Krishnan as Sivagami is impressive and is the only female character who stands out. Veteran actor Sathyaraj is also great as a primary supporting cast.
The romantic song in the film was so unnecessary but the background score complements the film in every way.
The Baahubali of the film is the VFX which carries the film on its shoulders and the visuals will keep you totally spell bound in the second half. V. Vijayendra Prasad, has written this epic from scratch and the storyline is intriguing (even if you know who will win at the end).
This film is worth watching simply to bask in the future of what Indian epics can be portrayed as, if only someone like Rajamouli can have the courage to visualise it! Watch it – you would want to hold your breath for the sequel.