I already covered the first half, with everything up to the big fight scene before the interval. And now, interval! And then, post interval! I liked the second half better, and therefore have less comments about. After he returns from his big fight scene, Richa is all excited to tell him that her family is arranging their engagement. Which inspires him to say he can’t marry her, and then give her a very very long explanation, which involves a massive hour plus flashback.
See, months back, he was kind of a momma’s boy living in Hyderabad. First, his mother is smoking hot, right? I may have to show this to a man to confirm, but I am pretty sure she is the most attractive woman in the film. And I just wiki’d her, and she is 47!!! And apparently kind of like Madhuri in terms of personal life, walked out on a promising film career, moved to America for a while, and then came back in her 40s to do mother roles and host a game show. Which I guess is why she gets the big post-interval introduction and all the big acting bits. Because she is a beloved returning heroine. Oh, and worked primarily in Tamil and Malayalam films, which makes me think of the usual stereotype that there are no good parts for heroines in Telugu films.
His pretty pretty mother is a wedding organizer in the city. I am fascinated by how wedding planner and fashion designer are the only acceptable big career paths for women in Indian film. Oh, and interior decorator. Sort of like “architect” in America for men. I’m guessing it’s because organizing events and making clothes and decorating the house are an acceptable hobbies for an upperclass woman? So it is also an acceptable passion? I mean, there are heroines who are just shop girls or office workers, but if they have their own business and devote their life to it, it is fashion design, interior decorating, or wedding organizer. Especially for mothers, lots of sons of wedding designers in Indian films (off the top of my head, this, Hum-Tum, and Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna). Which, I suppose makes sense, because it would be the Aunties organizing weddings, so it is a very acceptable middle-aged woman kind of job. And, plot wise, it is very handy to have that be the hero’s mother’s job, since it gives plenty of ways to meet pretty young women.
Anyway, at the wedding, he and his Mom are watching the groom and his father interact, and Prabhas makes fun of him a little. Which, pot-kettle much, Momma’s boy? The exchange when he makes fun of the groom and his Dad is really sweet though, in an odd way. I noticed that it isn’t the official “Dad-jobs” like finding a bride or greeting the guests even, but just the little love pats, which his mother responds to and he makes fun of. So it isn’t that “a boy needs his father!” type thing, but just a “I am sorry you missed the chance to be with a person who loves you” that is missed. Also, I liked that he seemed confident, but not that interested or comfortable with girls, in this brief glimpse. Which is an early indication that the character from the whole first half, the one Richa met was never the real him, because the real him wouldn’t have flirted and danced with her to begin with, because he isn’t that interested in girls.
Except for our heroine! Who is a cousin? Sort of? Anyway, another member of the household back in his home village, which he finally visits after his mother tells him that his father is still alive and living in his village in order to maintain the peace between villages in their little feud. Anyway, I love the heroine! And she is the kind of heroine I associate with South Indian films/actions films that I really like. The heroine in Singham, in Son of Sardaar, and in Dabangg (all southern remakes), were all kind of like this. Earthy village girls who went after the guy and got into fights and bossed men around.
(also, I recognize the actress from Bahubali!)
And then there is another nice peaceful breaking up of an arranged marriage, just like in the first half. It didn’t take much to break up the arrangement, with no bad feelings on either side, but it took a little more than just the heroine saying she didn’t like him. But in this case, she took it into her own hands! She didn’t wait for some guy to convince her mother, she just went off and bullied the servant/poor relation into helping her and talked to the boys herself.
I was also really interested in the respective strength and understanding of the two women. Richa was highly educated and had lived abroad. But she was still shyly waiting for the guy she liked to show up, she didn’t speak up for herself when she didn’t like a guy, and her interactions with the hero were all kind of shallow, showing off her figure and stuff, not really talking about family or anything. In contrast, Anoushka has a high school education, has never been abroad, has never lived outside the home. But she is completely able to take care of herself, to speak her own mind, and Prabhas responds to that strength.
So, right, he goes back to the home. There were two things I found really great and interesting about his meeting with his father. First, again, it was all about just loving him. There was no “and now I will learn how to be a man!” or “now I can take your blessing!”, it was just really nice to be together. And the first village song did so much work in building his character and relationship to the people! It showed his growing respect and love for his father, and his father’s blind devotion to him. But more importantly, it showed his growing sense of love and responsibility for the village people. A leader in the best possible way.
Oh, also, in the middle when he is carrying children out of the flood, I couldn’t help but remember that one scene in the item song in Bahubali when he lifts all the three woman simultaneously. And then when the bad guys come, and he reacts (great shot with his uncle’s fist, and then his in the background!), you know it isn’t just “mirchi” anger, anger responding to anger, but it is because of his sense of protection towards the people they threatened and his love and honor for his father. And it felt like his threat to the bad guys, saying “the son has arrived!”, or whatever it was, also related back to the peaceful song. Because it made it clear that the villagers really needed a new generation of leaders, and that it was too much for his father to continue handling all on his own. Both in terms of helping with flooding and solving disputes and so on, and in terms of protecting as needed. It almost seemed to indicate that, maybe, his father wouldn’t have been so pacifistic all these years if he hadn’t been so aware that 600 families were resting solely on him, with no back-up. And then his follow up to the threat, pushing so hard that the car window glass breaks under his hand was just cool.
Oh and I forgot, also in the song, her lifting him to get fruit off the tree, completely subverting our expectations, was just awesome.
And then there was the fire on the village and they went to the police, who did nothing. That was interesting. It wasn’t exactly saying the police are useless, or not worthy of respect, everyone did show up for the meeting, but it was definitely saying that they can’t really solve a situation like this, it’s not a matter for police, it is a matter for the village leaders. And then his father decided to send him back to the city, which I thought was such an important segue in the film.
We get to see that he is truly driven by protection for the villagers and his father, not by raw anger. It’s not like he gets back to the city and starts busting heads. Even when his co-worker starts flirting with Anoushka (so cute!), he reacts by threatening him verbally, not by smashing heads. So he has control, just not in the village situation.
And more importantly (for me!), it fills in the gaps of the Anoushka romance. She can handle his urban life just as well as she can handle his village life. And he starts acting in that “pseudo-husband” way towards her, not just flirty flirty like in the first half with Richa. He is arranging where she is staying and what she is doing, he is watching her around the house, being natural, and he is taking it slow and just enjoying the feelings, not feeling the need to rush anything because it feels so secure. That, to me, is what was so awesome about their love song. That they are both just so confident in the relationship, that there is no need for games or even open flirting, it’s just there.
And then he kills like 30 guys. Which I don’t think was supposed to be super shocking, but it was! Not seeing the fight scene, but just the aftermath, somehow made it worse. Although, again, you notice he didn’t just accost them in a cafe, he knew they had come to his house looking for his mother and his girl, so it was his protective instincts coming through, not pure violence.
And then he sends the girl back to the village, where she immediately calls his mother and resolves their love story. It is super abrupt! Not bad, but really fast! I like that she had no worries about just calling his mother and telling her everything, it goes back to her “going for what I want” attitude, and the security she had that he did truly love her. And I like that of course he showed up after he heard about her phone call! And he is back in his button shirt village wear.
Oh, speaking of, I think I might be getting now why Rajamouli wanted him for Bahubali. Because in this movie, again, he really did change on a dime from this sort of over the top out there cool dude to super serious responsible leader. In his voice, his walking, even his way of fighting, completely different between the two personas.
So once the love story is resolved, wedding time! And we have the mother arriving, and again she is just so pretty! And the conversation between his two parents where it seems like they may be getting back together, yay! And then wedding! Him tickling her foot during the ceremony was my favorite part.
And then that amazing fight scene! If I was understanding it correctly, it wasn’t just that he was being blatantly violent, it was that he was inspiring others at the wedding to the same violence. I think we saw some shots of background characters we were supposed to recognize (but I didn’t), pulling out their machetes and joining him, which was the first time (I think) that anyone besides Prabhas himself had fought on behalf of the “good” village.
Oh, that reminds me, I liked, again going back to the general “what makes a good leader” concept, how well the contrasted the two households. Manasa’s house, everyone was sad, the women spent all their time in the kitchen, the only prospective grooms were worthless, everything was bad. His house, again very traditional village place, but the women were happy and had time to play, and the villagers celebrated with the leader, and there was a constant stream of high quality grooms. So just changing the leader, even if everything else was the same, made it all better.
So yeah, awesome fight scene. Oh, and I forgot, again the cop is involved right before when he warns Prabhas’ father that Prabhas has been fighting. And again, not as someone who can truly help with this situation, but as a sort of outside observer who can sometimes be kind of useful.
So, sad wedding, but I like that Anoushka is totally willing to follow him when his father banishes him for teh big fight. And a definite Ramayana reference. With his “wife” wanting to join him in his banishment and the whole village following him to the very border. And even if Anoushka didn’t follow him, I liked his casual comment about hearing from her later, like “I don’t even need to emphasize this, of course we stayed in touch!” Oh, and right before the banishment, again the grabbing the machete in a distinctive “this is a weapon that belongs in my hand!” kind of way, not just “this is used to cut coconuts!”
So then, back to present where he is explaining this whole thing to Richa, and that it is why he decided to come to her village and teach everyone to be “happy” so they will stop fighting. But also still fight them when they threaten his family. And then there is a conversation Richa’s evil uncle that I think is supposed to explain the whole non-violent/violent philosophy, but actually I think the song in the background did it better.
I believe the subtitles said “it takes a man who can do both.” I think that might have been the point. That it wasn’t enough to be passive, like his father, and just sit back and refuse to respond. You had to be willing to fight when it was time to fight, but also able to hold back and try for love when you could. Didn’t he also say something about “changing” them? I guess that could be it too, that you had to be strong enough to go into the enemy camp and force them to change, instead of just staying within your own boundaries and working on yourself. And then the old crippled guy from the evil family talks and calls for love, which I have totally seen before in another movie but I can’t remember which one, and we see Richa all happy (I guess just because the feud is over? “Cause she’s sure not going to get together with Prabhas! Which was her initial unhappiness, that she didn’t want to go home and get back into it), and Prabhas’ Dad shows up with his villagers. Don’t get that bit, are they finally ready to fight for themselves? Or did they just come as witnesses? Or to try to save Prabhas? Or just to make the ending tidier?
And then the end end bit, his reunion with Anoushka, which was awesome! Felt like they were in a different movie than everything else. Very just the bubble of them being happy. They really had great chemistry in this, makes me excited for seeing their romance in the next Bahubali! And a little disturbed at them as mother and son in the last Bahubali.
And The End