Baahubali 2 Review (No SPOILERS): Baahubali 1 Was Just the Overture, This is the Real Film

Just got home, haven’t really replayed it over in my head yet, still trying to shake out everything I saw and how it all fit together.  But I think I can at least give you some things to think about while you are watching it for the first time.

This is not a perfect movie.  There are moments that go on too long, and other ones that are over too fast.  Some characters are severely shortchanged.  The ending is abrupt, almost like they ran out of film.  Some of the songs are a bit repetitive.  Occasionally the CGI looks jerky and cartoonish.

I have seen what I would consider perfect movies, Sholay, Singin’ in the Rain, Casablanca, Awara, Pyaasa, Infernal Affairs, District B13, Angamaly Diaries.  They exist, but they are very very rare.  But just as rare is what this film is, a film which, in spots and moments, achieves something so breathtaking that it surpasses perfection.

If it was just those moments of more-than-perfect, this would be an interesting movie.  But what makes it a Great movie is that those moments are tied together with big simple themes.  Stuff which on the one hand is so basic that a child can grasp it, but so big that even an adult might still struggle over it.

Before you go in to watch it, here are some big concepts and themes to keep in mind:

  1. Natural versus Manmade power
  2. Dharma (the higher justice and rightness) versus Law
  3. Balancing the Masculine with the Feminine
  4. Ruling by Giving Service, not by Taking Service
  5. Motherhood as Weakness and Strength

The feminine is what I find so fascinating in this film.  Anushka is the hero of the film as much as anyone.  And the conflict is as much between the two lead women as it is between the two lead men.

And in this film, there is not one step wrong in how the female characters are treated.  They have minds and bodies of their own, and both their minds and bodies are respected by the men around them.  Heck, it is those minds and the capabilities of those bodies which makes the men love them.

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And the “strong” kingdoms we see in this film balance that feminine power with the masculine.  It’s not a Queen ruling alone, or a King ruling alone, but the two forces in concert.  We see both those options and they are both bad, in their own way.  Our ending may be hurried, but I am sure that the last shot of our characters was planned, and it displays exactly how the two forces of genders come together to rule.

 

The other big thing to keep in mind while watching this movie is EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED IN THE FIRST ONE.  We see the origins of so many things!  You can tell that these two movies were written as one, all these little bits that tie together.  Well, and then other bits that don’t tie in at all, which must have been added late in the process.  But so many of them do tie up!  Heck, we even see the origin of the waterfall!

All of these big themes, and the amazing narrative dovetailing, that’s all very impressive framework.  But what is nestled inside that frame are those same amazing moments that we all saw in the original.  The times when the film just takes off and soars until you feel like just sitting there and worshiping it.

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22 thoughts on “Baahubali 2 Review (No SPOILERS): Baahubali 1 Was Just the Overture, This is the Real Film

  1. Amen. It literally takes off and soars at points. Was very impressed at how things circled back all the way to the beginning — thematically and visually. This is a film of a singular vision – you can really tell that Rajamouli wrote the script AND directed it.

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    • I noticed a lot of flaws, but I wouldn’t be surprised if a re-watch shows that they weren’t flaws, but each had a purpose. That’s what happened with the first one, each scene that seemed extraneous, on a re-watch I could see how it set up something else.

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      • Yes, I think you described it perfectly. I wasn’t as blown as I was the first time, despite seeing it in IMAX this time. But then I wasn’t expecting to be. The first one came out of the blue, with no expectations, and nothing to compare it to. This one had a LOT of expectations, arising entirely from the first one, and of course we have the first one to compare it to.

        I agree about the CGI, and this was actually one of my worries when I read that the Visual Effects director for the Beginning (Srinivas Mohan) wouldn’t be working on this one as he had other commitments. The places where it didn’t work were the places where I think they were consciously trying to match the fist film.

        I do agree that some characters and situations (as well as actors) were shortchanged. But I think some of that was due to the new material they introduced to cater to audience expectations, and the rest because they just had too much material! I truly believe they could make a third film just from the outtakes of this one, without taking up any more time from any of the actors.

        But you could clearly tell what was in the original story and what was added. As you say, it is clearly one story, and thus doesn’t suffer the fate of the usual “sequels” and “prequels.”

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        • I think the moment when I had the biggest shivers of excitement was right at the opening, when we saw those faux-sculpture versions of moments from the original. It gave me that feeling back, of when I saw it the first time. I enjoyed the rest of the film, but it wasn’t the same as the first time.

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  2. Pingback: Baahubali 2 Review (No SPOILERS): Baahubali 1 Was Just the Overture, This is the Real Film — dontcallitbollywood | matiuadex movies

  3. Pingback: Bahubali 2 SPOILER Review: A Saas-Bahu Drama in an Epic Setting – dontcallitbollywood

    • The theater where I saw it last night, there were 6 people, counting me and my friend. When I heard from another commentator that the Kerala ticket prices weren’t inflated at all, I joked that I should go to Kerala to see it. But now I am thinking all those people from Kerala should come to Evanston, where no one even knows it is playing!

      (it’s sold out elsewhere in Chicago I know, it’s just that this theater almost never plays Indian films, and has never done Telugu before, and didn’t promote it at all. So we got the theater to ourselves!)

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  4. Pingback: Bahubali 2: Whole Thing! Scene By Scene! Part 1, Opening Credits and Song – dontcallitbollywood

  5. Nic and I sat and watched Part 1 on Sunday afternoon in readiness for Part 2 (and to refresh my memory) and now I’m not sure I’ll be getting to the cinema to see Part 2 this week – Nic is getting ready for a Medieval Fair this coming weekend with his re-enactment group and movie plans seem to have been pushed aside (unless I convince him to go to an evening session).

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  6. Pingback: Bahubali 2 Part 7 Scene By Scene (SPOILERS): Things Start To Go Terribly Wrong – dontcallitbollywood

  7. Pingback: Bahubali Posts Index – dontcallitbollywood

  8. Noticed some parallels between BB1/BB2 and modern day India. Coronation event in BB2, dignitaries of the surrounding Kingdoms being present to witness the coronation had parallels to PM of India Narendra Modi’s swearing in ceremony (May 2014) where heads of nations surrounding India were invited/present (And PM Modi is not like Bhalla).

    In BB1, the citizens gold, forcibly taken, used to make Bhalla’s statue, in India (October 2014?), we had farmers voluntarily contributing iron to make Sardar Vallabhai Patel iron statue. Of course, Bhallaladeva and Sardar Patel are no way alike.

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    • If Sardar Patel tried to erect his own statue during his lifetime and forced farmers to give iron/gold, then that would have been a comparable parallel. Even Modi coming to power is not in similar fashion to Bhallala”s.

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      • Haha, yes, PM Modi is no Bhalla nor is their coming to power any similar. Nor is PM Modi sanctioning Sardar Patel’s statue similar to Bhalla sanctioning one on himself. But I was just struck by the similarities otherwise. Were the two events an inspiration for Rajamouli to adapt them in BB1/BB2?

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        • Rajamouli said in an interview how he was inspired by an event and used it in coronation scene (where people saluted Amarendra).

          There was a minister’s program for which Pawan Kalyan was the chief guest. People didn’t care at all for minister’s presence or speech. But when Pawan Kalyan started talking there was so much public applause and dancing.that Rajamouli got inspiration from it.

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          • Oh that’s interesting! It also reminds me of a couple of scenes from Iruvar, which of course was based on MGR’s rise to power. I imagine that happened a lot in real life with him as well as he went from supporting the party, to leading it.

            On Sun, Jul 16, 2017 at 12:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

            >

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    • See, for me, I saw so many parallels with where America is right now! Which obviously weren’t on purpose since the film was developed long before all these things happened. Anyway, I think it is because the story is so strong and so universal and so human, that we will constantly see it echoed in real life. Kind of like Shakespeare, who always has an appropriate quote for any situation 🙂

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