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Bahubali (Hindi) movie review

August 8, 2015

Finally got to see Bahubali (Hindi). Their release strategy was very good for Hindi version. They released only in few theaters in the first week, and perhaps waited for the word of mouth to increase the demand. But I guess the marketing was already pretty solid and there was demand but no availability from the beginning.

Anyway, the movie. Its good. The reviewers had built up the expectations, so the beginning part disappointed me a bit. But gradually it picked up. Rajamouli really works on the narrative, and doesn’t let it sag. So the movie never bored me. Although felt that there is no freshness. Think of it as Lord of the Rings meet Mahabharata (Or many other old hindi movies with the base plot of a banished Prince, the rightful heir who was deceived out of his kingdom. Now I recall, even Lion King had that).

The movie has many-many flaws some are very laughable, and not expected from such a highly rated director. And lot of cliches, some will remind you of ‘Mere bete aayenge’ of Karan Arjun. Other flaws in fighting scene, two characters are fighting close to each other, but suddenly the director wants to show a interesting visual stunt, so conveniently the characters are separated by distance. Its not that, these mistakes are not there in Hindi/Indian films. Look at any Bhai film for instance, and other clones which Akshay & Devgnn (is the latest spelling?) have made. But I say this because Bahubali has been compared to Hollywood action/cgi films. But I also must say that production values indeed match. The long drawn war scene towards the end, is indeed very well done, for the sheer amount of effort put. Also the city which has been built for the Kingdom, it does look very well done – whether cgi or part real set.

Overall the movie looks very polished and maintains interest, and what is shown in the scene looks well crafted. But what is lacking is a soul, for lack of a better word. There are some movies where we become those characters, and just want them to win*. Here you care but relatively faintly for the characters. You see the movie in a meta-mood comparing it occasionally with some English movie and then later on thinking did I see this in Rajput (old hindi movie), and that Rakhi reminder could have been well avoided.

Racism/Caste-ism: Its really ugly that they have shown the Orc like kingdom people as real ugly looking and all very dark skinned. May be they should have been more culturally sensitive. And the movie has rightly got some flak for it. Although to be fair, its not by bad intentions. Cynically, it may just be the best commercial choice. Also what language those people speak? It doesn’t sound like an Indian language at all. Just by sounds of it, if I were to guess it I would call it some African dialect! (May be, my bias).

But overall I didn’t feel ‘why I came to watch this movie?’, while watching the movie. And I liked it overall. So although I won’t say that Rajamouli is India’s answer to Nolan(!). But he is a bloody good craftsman. And very few in India can dare to do what he does.

In a few years, this movie is not going to be memorable, perhaps. But still worth a watch. 3/5

* Talking about rooting for characters. Drishyam made me really root for Devgnn(!)’s character. Some critics trashed it, but I loved it 3.5/5…

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