Bahubali 2 SPOILER Review: A Saas-Bahu Drama in an Epic Setting

I won’t promise that this will be my last review.  I already posted my no spoilers review.  And it’s possible that over the next few weeks, as I re-watch it, I end up posting one of those scene by scene things that takes me forever to write.  But right now, I want to get up a SPOILER post, if nothing else so we all have a safe place to talk about the movie without worrying about ruining it for other people.

Usually with my SPOILER posts, I put up a little thing about how you should see the movie instead of just reading this.  Or about how you shouldn’t see the movie, because it is terrible, you should this read this instead.  But in this case, no one is really watching the film for the plot.  Sure, the plot is interesting, but it’s the visuals that will draw you in, and there is no way I can convey them in a bare plot description.  So, read this, don’t read this, I don’t care!  Use your own best judgement.

Whole plot in two long paragraphs:

We open in the past, Past-Prabhas has just been announced as king.  Queen Mother Ramya Krishnan orders him to travel the kingdom and surrounding areas with Katappa while they prepare for his coronation. Prabhas travels to the outskirts and sees warrior princess Anushka defeat a troupe of bandits and immediately falls in love.  Kattappa serves as his wingman and convinces Anushka that they are simple travelers and she should take them home with her.  Anushka figures out pretty quickly that Prabhas is putting on an act of being a weak coward, but lets it go because she enjoys the flirtation.  Meanwhile, back home, Rana has learned that Prabhas loves Anushka and he himself has fallen in love/lust with the picture he received of her.  He convinces Ramya Krishnan, feeling guilty for passing him over in her choice for king, to promise to marry him to the girl he desires.  Ramya Krishnan sends messengers and wealth to Anushka’s kingdom for her hand, and Anushka insults the messenger and turns him away.  Kattappa and Prabhas take this as meaning that Ramya has separately decided to marry Prabhas to Anushka.  Anushka’s kingdom is attacked, and Prabhas reveals himself as a great warrior, and in love with Anushka.  Her family is supportive and approves of the match.  But Prabhas has received an order from Ramya to take Anushka back as prisoner, as punishment for insulting her offer.  Prabhas tells Anushka that he will swear to protect her from all insults, she can come with him to Mahishmati, they will explain to the Queen Mother, and she will bless their union and all will be well.  Of course, it doesn’t happen like that.  Anushka and Ramya take an immediate dislike to each other.  And when Anushka declares she will not marry Rana because she does not love him and should not be forced to marry against her will, Ramya takes it as an insult and orders the guards to seize her.  At which point Prabhas’ love for Anushka, and his earlier promise, come into play and he is forced to go against Ramya’s orders and defend her.  In fury at this dishonor, seeing it as her son choosing some woman over her and over the laws of the kingdom, Ramya declares that Prabhas will either step away from Anushka and give her up or lose the crown.  Prabhas, of course, chooses Anushka.  Rana is crowned, but the people still love Prabhas.  INTERVAL

Things go from bad to worse after that.  Rana keeps driving a wedge between Prabhas and Ramya.  He forces Anushka to appear in the wrong and Prabhas to defend her.  He slowly strips Prabhas of all his power.  In the end, the couple is exiled.  But they are still happy, living in a workers’ camp, Prabhas designing and building tools to make labor easier, Anushka preparing for her baby with the village women.  Rana decides that so long as Prabhas is alive, he is a threat.  And so he devises a plan to drive Ramya to order his death.  He arranges for Anushka’s cousin to overhear a conversation between Rana and his father.  His father pretends to be protesting against Rana’s plan to kill Prabhas.  The cousin then asks Rana’s father for help, and Rana’s father convinces him that the only solution is to kill Rana.  In the end, it was all a trap, to make it appear that Prabhas had sent his cousin-in-law to kill his brother out of jealousy.  Ramya, now prepared to believe anything of Prabhas as she sees his mind as having been turned by Anushka, reluctantly orders his death.  A group of Kalaka warriors is sent to the village, with Kattappa as bait.  Prabhas is pulled away from his wife’s birthing chamber to go save Kattappa.  He is injured over and over, but refuses to leave Kattappa, no matter how he begs.  Finally, Prabhas has defeated all his enemies, and Kattappa has no other choice but to deliver the final blow himself.  As he lays dying, Prabhas thinks only of his mother and his kingdom.  Rana arrives to gloat over the body, and Kattappa overhears his confession that this was all an elaborate scheme, Prabhas has never done anything wrong.  Kattappa rushes to tell this to the Queen Mother, who is bereft when she realizes what she has done.  At which point Anushka arrives, still struggling after giving birth, with her new baby.  The Queen Mother is sent by Rana to tell the people that Prabhas is dead.  But instead, she takes the baby and goes out on the balcony to announce that the baby is the new ruler of the kingdom.  The guards attack her, she manages to escape, Rana shoots her in the back (the arrow we saw at the start of the last movie), and she sinks into the river, apparently dead.  Anushka is captured by Rana.  Back in the present day, Prabhas is furious after hearing all of this and orders that all the farmers and cowherds and working people be gathered up and told to prepare for battle, along with Kattappa’s elite troupes and Tamannah’s rebel fighters.  Huge battle scene, in the middle of which Anushka is captured again.  And Tamannah gets her one line of the movie, “Shivu!”  Prabhas and his men manage to get into the city and take the battle to the courtyard of the palace.  Prabhas finally kills Rana and then, very abruptly, it is his coronation.  He is blessed by his adoptive mother, and then the crown is given him by his biological mother, and his wife (?) Tamannah helps him to the throne.

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(If you want to know why Kattappa killed Bahubali, it is because Bahubali gave up the throne to marry Anushka, which made Rana king and drove a wedge between Bahubali and Sivagami.  Rana exploited that wedge, finally convincing Sivagami that Bahubali was planning a rebellion, and in order to prevent civil war, Sivagami gave Kattappa the order to kill.)

 

That was a very very long paragraph!  Here’s the big thing to notice about it, how many times the names “Anushka” and “Ramya” are mentioned, versus “Rana” and “Prabhas”.  It’s almost equal, right?  And that’s in the stripped down plot, I can’t describe it even in the simplest terms without talking about all the things Anushka and Ramya make happen.

In the middle of their first scene together, I leaned over and said to Dina “This is just a Saas-Bahu soap opera!”  And I stick with that!  When you get down to it, the film is about two basic human rivalries: two sons over their mother, and mother and wife over son/husband.

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There are two things that make this soap opera remarkable.  Firstly, that it is expanded to be a question of “dharma” versus “law”.  I don’t think this is an inappropriate expansion.  There isn’t much difference between Princess Anushka declaring she will only marry the man she loves because that is the higher “dharma” and Queen Mother Ramya Krishnan declaring that the law says she should marry the man Ramya has chosen, and current arguments that a woman should stay with the man she has married because that is what the law says she should do, while the woman herself argues that a higher law is self-preservation and happiness.  Personal problems are constantly being pulled between moral justice and the rules and laws of society.  I like that this idea is being gently introduced to the audience in a fairy tale format.

And secondly, what makes this remarkable is the destruction of the mother!  Typically in Indian film, “motherhood” and mothers are revered as the strongest and most important forces.  But in this film, nope!  Sure, Prabhas loves his mother, and that is right.  But that doesn’t mean everything she does is right.  Especially when she is guided by her motherly love.  In fact, her motherly love consistently steers her wrong!  Her guilt over making the right decision as queen but wrong decision as mother when she elevates Prabhas over Rana is what drives her to promise Rana anything he wants for his own happiness.  Her jealousy over Anushka’s power over Prabhas drives her to ignore her own judgement.  If she had stayed a “bad” mother, making decisions just based on the greater good instead of her motherly love, then the whole thing would have turned out better.

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(I’ve read a fascinating article blaming everything bad in Deewar on Nirupa Roy, but I know that isn’t the common interpretation)

That sounds terribly anti-feminist, that a woman can’t be logical.  But the film is careful to present it as her being driven by guilt and resentment.  Social pressures, not instinct.  Her mother’s instincts are still good, she loves Prabhas and can’t bring herself to love Rana in the same way.  But the pressure her husband is putting on her, representing all of the broken parts of society that cling to rules, that is forcing her to lose herself, to lose faith in her own instincts and her own intelligence, and be open to suggestion.

And, as I said in my tweet of my non-spoiler review, this movie is ultimately feminist because it’s hero isn’t a hero at all, it’s a heroine.  Sure, Prabhas is in most of the movie, but he’s playing two different characters.  The character who stays for the whole thing, who starts it off and ends it, that’s Anushka.  And she is also the only character, besides our two heroes, who never makes a single misstep, is never fooled, never weak, never gives in to pressure or fear.

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(She even gets a better hero’s introduction than Prabhas did)

It must have been so frustrating for Rajamouli to hear all those complaints about female characters in part 1, knowing this was coming in part 2!  His female characters were flaws in part 1, and not all of those flaws are addressed here, but most of them are.

Avantika/Tamannah is the real problem, in both parts.  She just isn’t a full character, and there is no getting around it.  She is the beginning of an interesting character, the warrior woman who has cut herself off from all the beauty of life, falling in love with an innocent who followed his vision of her all the way into danger, and then joining in the final rebellion and ending up as queen.  Only, she has literally ONE LINE in this entire film!!!!  ONE LINE!!!!  There’s no resolution to her character, we never get any backstory, we never find out how she feels about being queen, none of it.

(You see that 2 seconds she gets in the trailer?  Okay, now you’ve seen half her screen time)

It feels like, since she is one of two prominent female characters in part 1, that this is a problem with women characters in general.  Especially since Ramya Krishnan, who is a seemingly strong character, in fact is just part of a standard “Rani Ma” type template.  The strong asexual mother character who holds the throne for her son and gets her powers from her connection to her son.  It just seemed lazy!  While Prabhas and Rana and Rana’s father and Kattappa and all sorts of other men got these complicated scenes and backstories and so on, the women were just tossed off with half a character.

But now, having seen part 2, Tamannah is still a disaster.  But Ramya Krishnan is not at all what she appeared.  And Anushka is something totally different than either of them.  Ramya, rather than being the “Rani Ma” template, is a rejection of it.  Her ruling powers come not from her motherhood, but in spite of it.  That superficial way we saw her, that was just because we had never seen her truly tested.  Once she was challenged on her home ground, whole other layers of the character are revealed.

And Anushka, my goodness!  This isn’t a “strong female character”, this is a just plain strong character!  She is a warrior, driven for excellence.  Has a clear vision of right and wrong and will not bend in it.  But is lonely, in a certain way, and bored at the same time.  Her coming together with Prabhas, it’s not just a love story, it’s a testing of mettle.  She wants someone who can match her in every way, and someone who will challenge her.  Not challenge her because he will fight with her, but because he will not take the easy path in love.

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I love that, ultimately, Prabhas’ follows her lead.  Anushka declares right and wrong, and he trusts her judgement and obeys.  It isn’t just a matter of being a gentlemen or rescuing a damsel in distress.  He truly thinks she is wise and good and will do right.

What I really love is that a woman causes it all, but a woman is not at fault.  So often we have stories of the slippery woman who sets brother against brother or father against son.  But in this case, we have the reverse.  Two noble honorable women set against each other by the mindgames of a man.  Anushka is the linchpin of the entire film, really of both films.  She drives Prabhas 1 to answer to his own conscience instead of blindly following his mother’s dictates, which is the salvation of him as a person of character, but the downfall of his relationship with his mother.  It is her rescue that inspires Tamannah’s band of rebels.  And it is his vision of her in danger which drives Prabhas 2 to reclaim his sword and his birthright.

The opening of the film is a seemingly random invented ceremony.  That every 26 years, the daughter-in-law of the royal family has to perform a sacrifice, carrying burning coals on her head as she walks around the temple.  Ramya performs the sacrifice easily, with the help of Prabhas dramatically distracting a rampaging elephant.  This sacrifice is supposed to keep evil from the kingdom.

At the end of the film, as the battle rages around her, Anushka carries the coals on her head and walks the circle.  And as she finishes her final round, Rana is defeated.  It was Anushka’s power all along, she was merely biding her time until the right moment.  And ultimately it was Ramya’s failure in judgement that led to the downfall of the kingdom, not Rana’s machinations.  The goal of the sacrifice is that, no matter the discomfort, you keep the faith and move ever forward.  The crowds cheer Ramya for how she never falters or changes paths.  But that is exactly what she did in the rest of the film, she falters, doubts, changes ways over and over again.  Anushka though, Anushka never falters.  She spends 26 years waiting for her son to rescue her.  And before that, she stayed firm in her determination that she wanted to be the best Princess she could.  And after falling in love with Prabhas, that she would marry the man she had chosen.  Every decision was correct, and every decision was unchanged.

And it was this faithfulness that carried through all the other characters.  And that defeated Rana.  He admits as much at the end, that for 25 years he thought his happiness was in his crown and his kingdom.  But in fact, it was in the awareness that Anushka was in his power that he found all his happiness.  And now that she is out of his reach, he wants to die.

Okay, obviously this is the Ramayana.  Just as the first film was the Mahabharata.  Ram and Sita are a perfect pair, with Sita just as if not more holy than Ram.  They are banished, but happy in their banishment.  Sita is captured, and defeats her captor through her very purity before she can even be “rescued”.  Of course, all the details are changed, some in interesting ways, making our exiled Ram serve the common people in practical ways like building water wheels instead of living in the forest and protecting rishis.  And of course having Sita wait for her son to save her, instead of her husband.

But the central idea, of a Ram and Sita who are perfectly matched, the feminine balanced with the masculine, with the feminine possibly even more powerful in her own way, that is what the whole film is about.  Not just in our central couple, but through out.

 

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(Also, Shiva-Shakti.  Probably not a coincidence that Shiva is the guiding God spirit for the film.  Dina pointed this out in our podcast, and she is absolutely right.)

Going back to the final shot of the film.  It is extremely abrupt, Rana is killed, and Prabhas is immediately crowned.  The film is crying out for another scene with Prabhas and Tamannah confirming their love.  Or a scene with Prabhas and Anushka enjoying their mother son bond.  Or really, any scene at all between any of the characters before the movie is over!  Not just from battle straight to coronation.

But the coronation itself is perfect.  We see Prabhas’ adoptive mother bless him.  And Anushka give him his crown.  And Tamannah stand next to his throne.  He is king, yes, but only because these 3 women chose him and molded him.  He is excellent only because he is the best of all 3 of them, and he is wise enough to keep all 3 close to him and honor their contributions.

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76 thoughts on “Bahubali 2 SPOILER Review: A Saas-Bahu Drama in an Epic Setting

  1. H’mm, no time for a detailed response, so just a few pointers (I will be back, though!)

    – the tribe that attacks is the Pindari, not the Kalakeya again (they were all killed in the first film).

    – how on Earth do you see this as the Ramayana? I can’t agree with you there. It’s much more tied to the Mahabharata, including the strong woman who is the equal of her husband(s), and being the cause of the catastrophe, though blameless in herself.

    – and a small correction, Rana doesn’t fall in love with Anushka because Prabhas is in love with her. He wants her as a wife, and then learns that Prabhas is in love with her already, so that adds a second motive to his desire.

    – I also don’t agree that it’s a saas -bahu conflict, though the conflict is between those two characters. I never got the feeling that Ramya thinks Anushka has power over Prabhas and that’s why Ramya doesn’t like her. She’s upset that her promise to Rana was broken because of Anushka, but that’s it.

    Regarding Avantika and even Shivudu, as I said in your non-spoiler review, I think they had a whole separate storyline on what happened to the Kuntala kingdom, and how the rebel fighters arose, etc., but they ditched it all to be able to include the looong comedy sequences and the romance between Anushka and Prabhas. There’s apparently a HUGE fandom out there who worship this jodi, and were upset that the first film hardly showed them together, so I think the extended romance was a way to appease them. I’m sure they’ll be happy, but I would have preferred less love and more war! 🙂 And the Hansa Nava song was a big fail for me, and can’t even be mentioned in the same breath as Dheevara. So Tamanna at least got the more spectacular love song! 🙂

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    • I wrote this thing so late last night, I didn’t even remember what I said so I just had to re-read it. It wasn’t as clearly worded as it could have been (so late!), but I think I did put in most of your points. I got the Rana thing, the sentence where I describe it just isn’t as clear as it could be, but I do say something like “and he fell in love/lust with her himself”.

      On a re-watch, I am going to have to watch for dialogue to see if they specify the name of the tribe at the very end that Prabhas is fighting before he is killed. They really looked like the enemies from the first movie to me, much more than the Pindaris. I was assuming that the audience was meant to fill in that they were hired assassins, so that Rana could make it appear Prabhas was killed by their old enemies, not by Rana.

      I can see how this film also picks up themes from the Mahabharata, but to me the “woman in captivity is the one who truly conquered” theme is the biggest point, and that is straight out of the Ramayana.

      I like that it is a saas-bahu conflict, because that is a conflict that is so little explored in film. I mean, whether it fits the standard template or not, that is the relationship of those characters to each other. We get so many brother against brother films, or father against son. But so rarely do we see a conflict between two women who are forced to share a house and a family.

      I am torn about the opening section! On the one hand, the romance and comedy was my favorite part of the film. But on the other hand, like you say, it’s bad for the film in general! In two ways, it was such a light happy section, it made the parts after it seem that much darker by contrast, too dark for me, I was ready for the happy ending long before it got there. And secondly, like you say, it ate up screentime that could have better been spent with our present day characters. I really hope there are deleted scenes or something eventually to fill in all those important conversations we never got to see.

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    • I don’t know if this got covered elsewhere on this blog’s Bahubali analysis or not but the tribe that attacks during the Kattappa “trap” was in fact the Kalakeya. Here’s why I thought that was interesting:
      1) Amarendra was prepared for that. His defence of the narrow pass wasn’t something he threw together at the last moment. During his engineering days, he planned for that trap to be used. Hence he was able to strew together that cross with the Kalakeya bodies so quickly.
      2) The tree on fire in that scene is probably the same tree that gets hits by lightening in BB1 when Shivudu heads over to the city. The lightening in the scene is seen approximately around where Amarendra’s dam and the pass would have been. If that’s the same tree, then Shivudu took the same route that would have been the kalakeya’s secret entry into the city had Amarendra not defended it. In BB1, we see that the kalakeya received Mahishmati’s military secrets. And Amarendra knew they know the pass is a weak point and might be attacked.
      3) the pass is an interesting point because we know it connects the base of the waterfall to the outer ends of Mahishmati citadel through a secret cave that was known to the royals. Who else knows about the cave? Do the Kalakeyas know? Because in BB2, Amarendra and Devasena live outside the city limits and a secret surprise attack from the Kalakeyas would have been spotted by the villagers living there. But apparently only Amarendra prepared for it and that too on his own. (future attack?)
      4) The kalakeyas are not dead and over. Their second attack claimed the life of Amarendra Bahubali who had killed their king a year ago. So it was a successful attack for them. That the Kalakeya killed Amarendra is a story that the public accepts too. Which is why they dont rebel or ask questions about this death.

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      • I saw that section as slightly different, at some points (I get into it in like part 20 or something of my scene by scene)

        1) I love your idea that the tree trap to block the pass is something Prabhas 1 set up! I can absolutely see that, as part of him changing the village he would also have put in little booby-traps, just in case, to help defend it. Or, alternatively, it had some other use (perhaps as a drawbridge?) and he quickly improvised it’s use here.

        2) See, I don’t know if I can make the connection here. I am pretty sure it isn’t the same tree, just because it looked so different, the tree Prabhas 2 went past was smaller and younger. And his route into the city was pretty direct, just going straight towards the wall, swimming the moat, and then climbing the wall and leaping down on the other side.

        3) Again, not sure if I can follow along on the idea that Prabhas 1 was prepared for an attack, and that he was protecting a certain area. Remember, this attack was planned by Ramya and Rana, they could have chosen any location roughly near the village, and they chose carefully, one where Prabhas 1 would be cut off from outside help, and could be ambushed in a surprise attack. And where it would be hard to maneuver his way out, with Kattappa on his shoulders weighing him down. I don’t see them overlooking that it is also an area with a secret escape route, so I am not sure if I follow along that it is the area near the entrance to the secret passage. Although it would be possible, I suppose, and if you have filmic evidence, sure, I can believe that coincidence!

        4) My interpretation of this section is that they are fake Kalakeyas. Ramya specifically says that it cannot appear to be Rana who kills him. So the plan must have always been for a third party to be present, not just the palace guards who are torturing Kattappa that Prabhas 1 easily scares off. They needed the Kalakeya to be there. And it seems awfully coincidental for real Kalakeya to attack at just the right moment. In addition, there were a few things that were a little “off” about these Kalakeya. They use arrows, which we didn’t see in the real battle, at least not a coordinated rain of arrows. And the make-up and costuming isn’t quite the same as it was in B1. My theory is that they are either lessor Kalakeya warriors hired and trained and supported by Ramya and Rana, or they aren’t Kalakeya at all, they are Mahishmati soldiers in dress-up. But either way, it’s not a spontaneous coincidental attack.

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        • That just blew my mind!! I had been interpreting this thing with the IMDB cast page in mind that lists an actor as the new Kalakeya king. But after reading your theory, I went back and tried to find who the new guy was and I didn’t get a solid answer. I fangirled a bit and messaged Arkamediaworks about a full cast list but I doubt they respond to random fans making absurd requests.

          I did rewatch all the Kalakeya war/WKKB/Shivudu making his way to Mahishmati sequences and it left me more confused than before. The topography varies so much in the scenes and the map in the opening sequence of BB1 doesn’t cover the area where the Kalakeya arrive from in BB1.

          But you’re right. The WKKB sequence has arrows, swords, warriors in hoods. I relied too heavily on the officially provided Kalakeya backstory that they use varied weaponry and clothing because they scavenge the war field and don’t manufacture anything themselves.

          But your theory makes the betrayal of Amarendra more heartbreaking because it means a large segment of the Mahishmati army was working against him and kattappa had been in on it for a few weeks at least.

          Curiously, Shivudu’s journey has him cross a place with remains of the giant soldier statues (the warriors at the gate at the entrance to the battlefield that was defended by the Trident formation). I wish they release a proper detailed map for the BB universe at some point.

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          • I was assuming, in order to maintain the privacy of the attack, that the fake Kalakeya would have been mercenaries, or a special handpicked group of soldiers. But Kattappa would know about it, that is why he was so eager for Prabhas 1 to flee as soon as he saved him, I think even before the “Kalakeya” show up. And then another part of the army would have been waiting for orders to quickly attack Kuntala and cut off any possibility of safe harbor there. So yes, this would have been a plan in place for weeks. I was thinking on another post that perhaps it was waiting for Anushka to go into labor. Maybe that was the trigger, word would have been sent to Kattappa so he could be there to hold the baby, and then they could spring the trap while Prabhas 1 was most vulnerable.

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  2. A few more thoughts:

    – We knew Amarendra Bahubali was a brave warrior and a just and compassionate king. But who knew he was an engineer as well? 🙂 I got a huge kick out of seeing those portions.

    – After giving us such an epic, believable story (albeit not factual), WTH was that end piece with the child’s voice asking if Mahendra Bahubali became king, and a man’s voice answering? Shades of Eega! Why reinforce that this is “just” a story, and not “real”? It almost ruined the ending for me (that, and the hordes of people who started to get up and walk out right after the coronation, while Rana’s crown floats down the river and we get our moral lesson about rulers must respect their subjects).

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  3. Pingback: Bahubali Podcast is up! Also, Beware of Spoilers! – dontcallitbollywood

  4. why did you have to use word SAAS BAHU Drama? I got into fight with some fanboys who called me anti national for liking Game of Thrones more than this, hence I cant watch it ever but you shouldn’t use SAAS BAHU Drama phrase in it. USe some other words like emotional roller coaster.

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    • I’m not sure what bothers you, that wasn’t an insult, I think daughter-in-law/mother-in-law conflict is a valid dramatic filter. And in the review I go into detail about how this relationship is used as a jumping off point for discussions of law versus justice, and maternal instinct, and feminine power, and all sorts of big concepts.

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      • The thing is that the phrase “saas-bahu drama” is used almost entirely as a term of disparagement, to describe low quality soap operas with unrealistic plots, over the top acting, and just generally very formulaic family in-fighting. I’m sure you’ll agree that that *doesn’t* describe Bahubali 2!

        The reason why I said I wouldn’t use that phrase is that, while the conflict is between a saas character and a bahu character, their conflict isn’t *about* being a saas and bahu, it is a clash of their individual personalities, and not their relationship. The relationship is something that happens to bring them together, but if they had encountered each other in some other situation, they would still have had a conflict, because each is too strong to compromise or yield, about anything.

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        • I like that line. The mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship is what happened to bring them together, but it isn’t the linchpin of the conflict. I may borrow it (with attributions) in a later review to explain why it is different than the usual conflict.

          On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Saas Bahu Drama is not used to describe a good thing. It is used to describe a low tier melodrama with over acting, confusing plot, death to Indian TV. You might like these things but it is not used in good way in India. If someone didn’t know anything about you and read only the headline. He would assume that it is a negative review and some stupid fanboys will call you a white supermacist.

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        • That’s ironic, I’m doing a Sunday School lesson on how to fight white supremacy next week.

          Anyway, thanks for the heads up.

          On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:36 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

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          • People who read your blogs know that you aren’t white supermacist. You are opposite of it. You are brown supermacist. HAHAHAHA

            But will you be preaching diversity? According to me, anything forced like supermacy, feminism etc kills creativity. I was watching a TV shows Designated survivor and Supergirl. I liked them but they became liberal propaganda off late and killed the content.
            just imagine recasting any character from Friends only to maintain diversity. No muslim villain since True lies unless based on real life events.Now a days you can make a great many movies with muslim antagonists.

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          • Since you asked, the lessons I’ll be teaching at church are part of a church wide initiative, and they are about the “real world” of our church rather than anything media related. Making sure our leadership is being chosen based on merit, not prejudices related to how they look, and that everyone feels equally included.

            On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:48 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Okay,
            sorry, I thought it will be one of your blogs.
            You are church going person.
            I apologise. Sounds like nice initiative.
            One advise though street goes both ways.

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  5. You shouldn’t use the phrase Saas Bahu Drama. It cheapens the movie according to me. I wont be watching it ever because I got into fight with some fanboys who called me anti national for liking game of thrones more than it. Hence, I will never watch this movie. But Saas Bahu drama is not used to describe an epic. Saas Bahu drama is used to describe my childhood trauma, destruction of Indian TV quality. Use something else.
    Not meant to be rude or anything else

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  6. One thing I wanted to say — I did feel disappointed that we didn’t get more of the Shivudu character, except in fighting mode. I really missed his sweet innocence and goodness that we got so much of in the first film. So that’s why I said that Prabhas didn’t really get a chance to showcase his *acting* talent as much, just his fighting talent. But towards the end, as I was watching, I also had the spontaneous thought, “I see why Rajamouli said he couldn’t have made this film without Prabhas.” Because Prabhas was really the life of the film. Without him, it couldn’t have existed. Now I thought all the actors did a fine job, so I don’t know why I felt that about Prabhas. But feel it I did, with a very strong conviction. What are your thoughts?

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    • I agree. I feel like the 4 main actors were all vital to the film to a decreasing degree. I would say first Prabhas, then Rana, then Anushka, then Ramya. They each brought something unique, and I can’t imagine them being recast. After seeing both parts, that is. Prabhas has what seems like a unique ability to act with body language. He reminds me of Hrithik in that way. Hrithik in Jodha-Akbar held himself completely different from Hrithik in, say, Bang Bang. For a film that is so action driven, you needed to be able to look at Prabhas and in a glance tell not just which character he was playing, but how that character felt in this moment, what he was thinking, what his motivations were, everything. If it had been a different actor, one who couldn’t convey all of that with something as simple as a hand gesture, the film wouldn’t have made any sense. Besides that, I think Prabhas had a natural ability with both characters, he combines a sweetness with a strength that worked perfectly.

      And then Rana, I was neutral on after the first movie, but his scenes in the finale of this film just blew me away! He suddenly turns crazy and sad and broken and angry all at the same time. Even earlier, he had all of these “listening” scenes, where you had to know what he was thinking with tiny facial expressions. That combination of physical strength and powerful body, with subtle facial acting, and willingness to go way over the top in the final scene, I don’t know if there is anyone else who could do it.

      Anushka, she was such a perfect match for Prabhas in how just her body language told you everything. And Ramya, of course, had that amazing screen presence and confidence.

      On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 10:53 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes, I actually thought Rana was better than Prabhas for most of the movie, and better than in Part 1. I even said to myself that Rajamouli gave Rana more of a scope to show his acting than he gave to Prabhas. That’s why it surprised me that I suddenly got that strong feeling that Prabhas was the “life” of the film. As you say, all the, I would say six, main actors were essential in their portrayals. I mean, can you imagine anyone else playing Kattappa? But with Prabhas, it was like, just his being there was so important. And I think your explanation of acting via body language is probably what I was feeling, without being able to put a finger on it. I noticed it in a couple of his other films, too, especially Mirchi. I know you were hopelessly confused by Mirchi when you saw it, but I strongly believe that’s because you were trying to fit it into the Hindi film rom-com framework, and more specifically, and SRK Hindi romance, and that just doesn’t work.

        But I disagree about Hrithik. I thought both he and Aishwarya were pretty painful in their acting in JA, though both looked good, of course. Even if Hrithik managed to look “regal”, I think he doesn’t come anywhere near Prabhas in that regard.

        Now Anushka looked regal even when dressed in her rags and her messy hair and sunburned skin.

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        • I loved Mirchi! But it was confusing, it was like my 2nd or 3rd Telugu film and I was still trying to get used to the genre. But I get what you are saying, that’s another one where there was such a clear difference in body language between his two personas. And another one where the fight scenes weren’t just “fight scenes”, but had character elements in them as well.

          You are right about Kattappa! That’s another one that is just perfect. And really surprised me, I think I have seen Sathyaraj in a fair number of other films, and he never stood out to me. A good actor, but nothing really distinctive. And then in these films, he just broke your heart.

          The one actor I think could be recast is Tamannah. I don’t want to recast her, I think she was great. But I didn’t feel like the character was really distinctive enough to warrant a performance that could only be done by one actress in the world. I could see, say, Trisha doing a good job with her as well. Or Genelia D’Souza (it’s very similar to her role in Urumi anyway).

          On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 11:35 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  7. Speaking of Prabhas, did you notice how much he was almost fetishized in the first part? If he’d been a woman, we would have said the director was objectifying her. Hindi films have been doing this for a long time, especially for the body builder type of hero. But this didn’t feel like “objectifying”, but actually loving, showing Rajamouli’s affection for Prabhas at a personal level, aside from his professional concern to glorify his hero on screen.

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    • Oh, that is a fascinating interpretation! I get what you are saying, about how sometimes it feels like the camera truly loves the actor, doesn’t just desire them. Or doesn’t desire them at all, it’s not ab objectification, it’s an eye of love. Karan films Shahrukh that way a lot, and the first time I noticed it way back when was in Meet Me in St. Louis with Judy Garland, directed by Vincent Minelli who married her shortly after the film finished. I’m going to have to watch for that on my second viewing.

      On Fri, Apr 28, 2017 at 11:17 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • I thought it was pretty in your face, especially the opening sequence, after he stops the elephant with the chariot, and the way he sits on the throne, throwing his robes aside, but especially the way he sleeps on the tree at Devasena’s palace. That, btw, is a classic “heroine” pose from long standing Indian art and film.

        I actually was going to mention the way KJo films SRK, though I think a reasonable amount of desire also seeps through. 🙂 That’s why I decided not to mention it, because I don’t think Rajamouli has that kind of interest at all in Prabhas.

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    • Rajamouli has stated on record that there would no Bahubali without Prabhas. In the interview, he notes that Prabhas worked very hard on the characterisation himself, taking notes, making alterations, going back and forth with Rajamouli on developing the character. I suppose Prabhas didn’t just show up to be in front of the camera. He lived the character. I was surprised with his interview with Rajeev Masand. He loves talking about the character but I guess the more widespread Hindi/English press is only interested in superficial questions like his muscles, looks, salary, fans, etc. I wish there’s some Telugu interview out there with Prabhas getting asked the right questions about Bahubali.

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  8. Long time reader, first time commentator who enjoys your blog and would like to discuss spoilers in a safe place! Thoughts shortly after watching, in roughly chronological order:
    – I really loved the credits: I thought they were both beautiful and a clever way of recapping the previous film by jogging the audience’s memories of these iconic scenes instead of slowing down the beginning with a “Last Time, on ‘Baahubali’” recap. In addition, Oka Pranam, which I thought was just OK on the soundtrack is suitably epic as the background.
    – I am glad someone else found the random Kuntala kingdom detour charming, too! I would argue that it was necessary, though, because otherwise you have the same complaint that people had after the first movie: that Amarendra Baahubali (or Prabhas1, for convenience) comes across as a flat cliche of nobility. Here, he’s sarcastic and rude (in a loving, familiar way) to Satyaraj instead of a saint, and Satyaraj sasses him back (and gets to make jokes! The cooking-the-lovebirds crack got chuckles in my theater!), and you see why Satyaraj genuinely loves him instead of just giving him the dutiful loyalty he does Rana/Nasser/and even Ramya.
    – I absolutely agree that the treatment of female characters is much better than the first movie, I was most delighted that the film addressed a problem I had with Prabhas 2/Tamannah. The first movie’s romance set up honestly seemed like it was going to have Prabhas 2 confront the appearance vs. reality of Tamannah (mystical damsel v. hardened warrior), but that…just resolved with Prabhas 2 and the script literally transforming her into the girl she is in his dreams. But the sequel plays out this theme again, except with Rana and Prabhas 1’s approaches towards Anushka. Rana, IIRC, is literally told “this is the girl Prabhas most likely loves” as he’s handed her portrait, and that is all he sees before he is obsessed with her. And it’s a well-done portrait but shows next to nothing of her personality – there’s a sword to the side, but it looks more decorative than anything else, and he is clearly genuinely surprised when she turns down Ramya’s proposal. Prabhas, on the other hand, sees her risking her life by putting herself out as bait to protect her people and defending herself ably. His courtship gift, instead of Ramya/Rana’s jewelry and clothing, is teaching her an archery trick she’s been wanting to master for some time, and that too in a straightforward, matter-of-fact manner instead of the more sexualized archery practice in say, Magadheera. Plus, given that Rana’s spy makes it back to Mahishmati, Rana apparently has time to have a huge copy of Anushka’s portrait made and hung in his room (seriously, did they have ancient Indian Kinko’s back then?), Ramya sends her proposal, they return, all before Prabhas comes back, he probably hung out with her for a while as a servant there and got to know her well.
    – Hamsa Naava definitely can’t compare with the gorgeous visuals of Dhivara, but I forgive it a lot because it’s just so fun! My interpretation was that obviously the boat flying and the pink/blue lights is both of them just mutually fantasizing and being young and in love before everything goes wrong. (And the lead-in, too, with Prabhas happily letting Anushka walk over him to get to the boat – and the callback later when Rana watches her walk over his statue’s head in the climax, is super fun.)
    -Ramya and Anushka’s conflict was really well done: to me, it was always about the letter of the law v. the spirit of the law, as well as the fact that Ramya fought her way into becoming and staying regent by insisting that her word was the law, no questions asked. It speaks to the strength of her character but it also molds her into a rigid personality, which Rana and Nasser prey upon and Anushka clearly dislikes. But it’s never really an argument over Prabhas, really: Anushka is clearly never upset about Prabhas’ devotion to Ramya (except that she gets mad on his behalf every time he is slighted), and Ramya’s anger is more that Prabhas chooses Anushka’s take on dharma rather than just accepting Ramya’s decrees. And I like too that Prabhas is shown to respect and love Ramya very much, but always have Anushka’s back and never force her to apologize or stand down from her opinions, unlike say, Anil Kapoor’s Beta.
    – I do agree that Anushka is never shown as being in the wrong, but I can’t help but think that it was really stupid of her to literally demand that Prabhas take the throne. Obviously the fact that Prabhas is being stripped of another position he deserves because of her while Ramya just sits there and does nothing is frustrating, but I don’t see how advocating either regicide or rebellion is going to help. That said, IMO having her lose her temper when she shouldn’t humanizes her to me, which I appreciate.
    – Bouncing off a previous comment: I think it absolutely incorporates elements of the Ramayana, which is neat as that’s the only major mythological tradition they hadn’t emphasized. There’s the woman in captivity, as you said above, but when Prabhas and Anushka leave the palace to be confronted by a crowd of upset citizens feels straight out of the Ramayan when Ram goes into exile, especially with the shot of Prabhas removing his fancy necklaces. The cousin is even there too during that scene, to echo Lakshman going with them!
    – Unless I missed something in the first movie, I was actually really surprised that Prabhas1 was never actually king. That said, Rajamouli gave us enough hints: Anushka is referred to as a Queen (as the only surviving member of the Kuntala kingdom’s royal family), but Prabhas 1 never is. In the statue scene in the interval (another bookend between the movies, that I thought was clever!), Prabhas1’s imaginary statue is in his armor rather than his royal wear. But I also love that the film’s thesis is that a true king is the one who cares about his subjects and works to make their lives better, whether or not he has been coronated. And also Dandalayya! Prabhas and Anushka look so happy, even happier than they ever did in the palace, and I imagine that as long as Ramya forgave him someday, Prabhas would have been perfectly content to just live in their little house with Anushka and their son for the rest of his life.
    – I was confused what exactly was going on in the Satyaraj killing Prabhas 1 scene. Obviously the guards were there to lure Prabhas 1 out, but then the random tribesmen showed up for some reason? I am still wondering if my theater just skipped a scene that explained that Rana arranged for another ambush on the off chance Satyaraj bailed out at the last minute….
    – If anyone with a better memory than I do remembers, don’t we first see Ramya in the first movie walk out of a tunnel at the foot of a waterfall with soldiers chasing her? The arrow’s already in her back, so it’s after this, but I don’t see how she got from ‘drowning’ in the river back to solid land without anyone realizing. Or why Rana bothered sending people out to still chase her because he obviously assumed she and the baby were already dead.
    – Finally, regarding the lack of a old Anushka/Prabhas 2 or Tamannah/Prabhas 2 scene, I wonder if the reason they held back because we’ve spent two hours having Anushka/Prabhas 1 being presented as this epic love story, and switching into another one-on-one scene, or Prabhas with another love interest, would just be too jarring. I think they could have overcome it, though, because as it stands, the film’s end feels very abrupt.

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    • I’m so glad you are commenting! I love new commentators, and this is such an interesting juicy thing to reply to.

      -Yes, absolutely on the opening credits song! It made chills go down my spine in context, and listening to it on Saavn, I hadn’t even noticed it.

      -I liked in the detour how they never had Prabhas 1 really explain why he wanted to draw out that time as a “normal” person. Because they told by showing, we saw how much looser and happier he was when he could be that person with no expectations and no responsibilities. And how Kattappa was the only person he wanted with him, the person he could play this charade with. It showed how close he felt to him as well.

      -I had the same thought! Who are these portrait painters in Mahishmati???? They are so accurate, and so fast!!!! I love your comparison of Rana falling in love with her appearance versus Prabhas with her actions. This is a completely off the wall comparison, but Jaan-E-Mann, one of my all time favorite movies, has the same love triangle. Akshay at one point is literally dancing with a cardboard cut out of Preity, while Salman knows the real person. Oh, and the “teaching archery” dashed off scene is one of my favorites, and you putting it in context as his “betrothal present” makes it even better.

      -I like the Ram lullaby song better than Hamsa, and Dhivara better than them both. At least, on the first watch. I got distracted by finding the moment when it turned into a total fantasy instead of just a fantastical image in a fantasy movie. If you see what I mean. And I liked how the “magic” was coming from both of them equally, Prabhas wasn’t seeing Anushka as a beautiful magician, and she wasn’t seeing him as an all powerful God, they were both seeing each other that way, and feeling powerful themselves. Also, just listening to the soundtrack, I think Hamsa is my favorite sounding song. I love the way the chorus hits “Devasena”.

      -Still haven’t seen Beta, partly because I don’t know if I can get behind a hero that weak. And you are right, Prabhas avoids that. While also avoiding disrespect. It’s not so much being caught between his mother and his wife, as being caught between two strong voices who he respects, and having to choose which one is correct in this case. I like your point that Ramya only made it this far by being hard and firm in her opinions, and now she sees any disagreement as a threat.

      -I agree that it humanized her, but I also kind of agree with Anushka! Not just because she thought her husband was being disrespected, but because Rana was clearly making poor decisions and no one around him was able to hold him in check. Her warrior spirit, and good judgement, told her that for the good of the kingdom, Prabhas should rebel. Probably not the smartest thing to say in public, that was the part that humanized her to me, she has never been able or seen the need to hold her tongue about anything. Too painfully honest.

      -Right, I forgot about the crowd that wanted to follow them! The bit after that, when they essentially build their own community, that felt more Mahabharata. But the initial exile felt very Ramayana.

      -I forgot to mention the bookending interval scenes! That was one of the things about this movie that, in retrospect, made the first one even better. In the first one, I felt like that whole statue thing, and Rana’s obsession over not being as beloved as Prabhas in general, that all seemed random and shoe-horned in. But with this one, we could see that the visions of Prabhas have been a recurring thing for him, and why he reacted so strongly to the crowd cheering Prabhas 2. Oh, and I liked that the film left it open that Rana’s fears may have been correct. No matter where he exiled Prabhas, even if Prabhas himself would never rebel, the people would find him and raise him up. We saw how, in just a few months, he was already gaining the respect of the worker community and improving their lives. Give it 5 more years, he could have turned that tiny village into a city and attracted thousands of followers. All without “meaning” to do any of it. There was a line from the song, “even a boulder becomes a throne when he is on it”. That’s the problem, his innate ruling abilities would always make him a threat to Rana. Death was the only answer. Except not, because even in death he remained a dream that kept hope alive in the people. Which brings me back to the bookending statue scenes!

      -I was assuming that the plan was for Kattappa to be bait. The tribesman were hired to attack. If they killed Prabhas, fine and well, the story for the people would be that he died in a random battle, unrelated to Rana or Mahishmati the kingdom. And if they failed (which they did), Kattappa was there as a failsafe, to strike the final blow, and leave Prabhas’ body to be discovered with all the dead tribesman, clearly their victim. And I guess Rana couldn’t reveal himself until after it was all over because then Prabhas would be on guard?

      -Yes, that is it exactly! And then later we see that tunnel opens up in the plain outside the city, when Prabhas 2’s adoptive family comes to help climbing up through the waterfall. In this film, we got so much information about hidden tunnels around the palace and so on, I assumed that we were meant to figure out that there was another tunnel connected to the waterway. Or that the waterway itself was a tunnel. And she made it from there to the plain outside the city, where there was another tunnel which took her to the foot of the waterfall. I think from the opening of the last one, it was also clear that the soldiers who were following her were a small random group of guards. So they could have seen her enter the tunnel and followed her, not been sent out specifically to search, because everyone at the palace assumed she died from the arrow and didn’t think to worry about the hidden tunnel system.

      -Good point on that it would feel jarring! But then, if they did it well, it could also un-jar some stuff. Give us a clear sense that Prabhas 2 interacted differently with Anushka than Prabhas 1, so they definitely aren’t the same character. And after that show him with Tamannah.

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      • Hi, I just came back from a second viewing, and was going to post a few corrections to my comment above, but decided to do it here instead, as the discussion is so much more interesting. 🙂 But alas, I can’t get into a detailed discussion now, because I’m on deadline to finish something tomorrow, and seeing BB tonight was a definite (and perhaps unwise) indulgence.

        So quickly, here we go:

        1. From above, I was wrong about Rana falling in love/lust with Anushka before knowing that Prabhas loves her. In fact, before he is even handed her portrait, he is told that Prabhas is in love with her, and then, as he glances at the portrait, he says, “I want this girl.” So I’m not sure he admired or even recognized her beauty, she’s the one Prabhas wants, and so of course Rana must thwart him.

        2. Sorry, the people following Prabhas and Anushka out of the palace is also in the Mahabharata. Have you forgotten that the Pandavas and their wife also spent 12 years banished in the forest?

        3. The reason that Anushka’s captivity just doesn’t resonate with the Ramayana for me is that she was never “captured” as Sita was (who was actually kidnapped/abducted). Here Anushka is just the last remaining family member after everyone else has been killed, and then she is imprisoned. But otherwise she had already been a resident of the kingdom. But another really significant difference between Sita and Devasena is that Sita was only in captivity for 10 months before she was rescued, while Devasena was captive for 25 years! Also Sita knew for sure that her husband was alive and would come for her, while Devasena had only a hope and faith that her son somehow survived, and would some day come for her. But the most important difference is the “strength” exhibited by the two of them. While Sita maintained her strength of character in terms of guarding her chastity, she was actually languishing physically and psychologically. When Hanuman discovers her, she tells him to tell Rama that if he doesn’t come quickly, she will die. And this is not because Ravana will kill her at the end of a year, but because she herself doesn’t think she can survive much longer, given her weakened physical state and sense of hopelessness. In contrast Devasena actually rejects an offer of rescue and release from Kattappa, and prefers to wait for her (at that point) hypothetical son.

        4. The tribal attack — I was wrong before, they were not the Pindari. Their facial makeup looked closer to the Kalakeyas, but also different enough that it could be a whole new third tribe. Whoever they are, I also felt they came in out of the blue. The plot was to lure Amarendra out and kill him, for which Kattappa is sufficient. There was no reason for this random attack. I also felt that the attack on the Kuntala kingdom, where Amarendra reveals his fighting skills, was highly random.

        Both this battle sequence and the one at the end, with Shivudu leading the charge, didn’t feel as thrilling to me as the war sequence in Part 1. Tonight I figured out why. It’s because this time, we just had fights without any emotional investment. This was especially true of the first battle, where we didn’t know who the enemy were, how much of an existential threat they really were to the Kuntala kingdom (as the Kalakeya were to Mahishmati), and of course we had no inside look at all the strategizing. In the second battle, while we knew what the existential stakes were, I still missed the aspect of strategizing. I also think it would have helped to have at least a one line declaration from Shivudu to Devasena that he’s glad to finally know his real mother, and don’t worry, I will punish the guy who has made you suffer for 25 years. Instead, we go from a sob interrupted half way to full on murder rampage. It might have been great in demonstrating Prabhas’s acting skills, but I felt the emotional depth between mother and son was lacking.

        One reason for that might be something Prabhas said in an interview. He and Anushka were together, and the interviewer asked if she wasn’t worried about playing a “mother” role, and whether she considered how that might affect her heroine image. She said that that was something she considered when she first heard about the role, but, as she learned the whole story, thought that the role was so great that it wouldn’t really matter. Then Prabhas chimed in and said that that was something they took into account, and that’s why they designed the mother -son interactions so carefully. He said something like, “Really in part 1 I only say one line to her – ‘I have come for you’ – and then carry her away. So we didn’t want to play up that mother – son aspect that much.” And here in part 2, he doesn’t even say one line, he just takes her hand, starts to sob, but stops midway and starts his revenge. (I just read a comment by someone complaining that Shivudu isn’t as bright as his dad, because he doesn’t take any time to plan his strategy or campaign, he just plunges straight into war :)).

        Strange to say about a film that took almost two years to finish (Part 2), or five years overall to make, but there were several places here it felt too rushed! Both these battle sequences fall into that category for me.

        5. This time I didn’t find the ending abrupt. Because really, they shaped it as very much Amarendra Bahubali’s story, and once he’d been avenged, what more was there to say? The villain is killed, justice has been attained, and the new good guy crowned king. Fini. Anyway, wasn’t the ending of part 1 equally abrupt? 🙂 It’s just that now we don’t have a sequel to look forward to.

        Sorry, that wasn’t really all that brief, and now I really must get onto my project!

        P.S. I really appreciated Prabhas’s “acting via body language” this time. More on that later.

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        • Well, I resisted the urge to see it a second time, for both cost and time reasons, and now I am regretting it and wishing I had. So if you had made the “practical” choice, you would be in the same place as me, all sad and regretful. I’m committed now, not until Thursday when the prices drop and I don’t have to do anything after work.

          I’m glad to hear the ending felt more reasonable on a second watch. I was hoping it would! Well, not the ending in particular, but all the little flaws of the film, I was hoping they would be ironed out and make more sense on a repeat viewing.

          The part where I think a little planning scene would have been helpful is in the final ambush of Prabhas 1. Just a two minute scene of Rana talking to Kattappa, saying “We will hire mercenaries to dress like Kalakeyas so they will be blamed for the death, and use you as bait. But if the mercenaries fail to kill him, then Kattappa, you will have to do it yourself.” It would have made the stakes feel so much higher, as the audience is hoping for Prabhas to run, or at least for the Kalakeyas to kill him and save Kattappa from having to do it. Instead of just feeling confusing and trying to figure out what is happening.

          On Sun, Apr 30, 2017 at 4:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • Ooh, these are all interesting points! Um, in order:
          1. Yes, that is how I remember it too. It’s actually surprising what a nonentity their relationship for how obsessed Rana is. In a way, I think he’s largely angry at her for not being the meek damsel who he assumed would marry him sight unseen because his mother said so.
          2. Oh no, I remember that part in the Mahabharata too! But what made me lean more towards the Ramayan is Prabhas’ smiling attitude towards exile (the Pandavas, IIRC, leave for exile with clenched teeth and a ‘we’ll be back’ attitude). In addition, the positioning of Prabhas/Anushka/her cousin as Ram/Sita/Lakshman strikes me as way too evocative to ignore. But one of the best things about Baahubali, OTOH, is how it works with themes that are found throughout Indian mythology, so it could definitely be read as both! (For example, the shadow government in the village being a parallel to the creation of Indraprastha as mentioned above!)
          3. I don’t know, Anushka in the first movie read strongly as Sita-in-Lanka to me. I’d argue that Anushka is also languishing physically and psychologically – the effects on her appearance are obvious, and Kattappa seems legitimately concerned that she’s gone mad in his scene with her. Plus the scene where Kattappa asks her to flee is directly out of the Ramayan, when Hanuman offers to take Sita with him when he leaves Lanka, and Sita refuses because she wants to Rama to save her and regain their honor.
          4. I actually liked the Pindari as the antagonists of the first half and the big battle! I appreciated that they were connected to Anushka and her actions instead of putting her in danger because she happened to be around Prabhas – as I understood it, the Pindari had been preying on travelers, Anushka set her trap for them and lured them into a slaughter (and possibly this wasn’t the first time), and they’re angry that they’ve lost so many men and go after her. Which to me also explained why Prabhas is so bent on finding her as soon as he realizes there are invaders: it’s not that he doesn’t trust her to defend herself, it’s that he knows that she’ll be their main target for revenge. I actually didn’t mind the lack of strategizing in this battle – the sheer unexpected nature of the stampede on fire, and the final defeat by changing the flow of the river would have been lost, I think, if we had it all explained out. Plus the whole point was that it took everyone by surprise – they were pretty much all flying by the seat of their pants. OTOH, the final battle desperately needed more strategizing; or heck, at least a scene where Anushka explains to Prabhas 2 the ritual about circling the temple and/or the fire pit she’s been preparing or, well, anything, really. As it stands, he just magically knows about these things….because?
          (I realize they probably wanted to avoid shunting Anushka into mother roles – though after the sequel, I doubt it, she is definitely the main heroine of the series when seen as a whole – but she spent the entirety of the first movie playing a badly sunburned, prematurely aged woman, I don’t think an extra two minutes would do that much damage!)
          4b. Prabhas 2 is definitely not as smart as his dad…or, you know what, I think he is when he sits down to think about it. Prabhas 1 tends to use his brute force more as a stalling technique until he comes up with a plan and is clearly a brilliant and resourceful inventor; his son tends to use his strength as a first, second, and third option and then when that fails, will finally turn to his wits as a last resort. Plus, he’s definitely got his mother’s impulsiveness and intolerance for injustice, which I also appreciate because that makes him less of an exact copy of his dad with none of his mother.
          5. As far as the ending, I liked the coronation as the end a lot too, but I dunno, maybe making it a bit longer to equal Rana’s (which was still pretty short) earlier in the film. Or heck, keep the first part of the coronation as is (because I love Anushka, Prabhas 2’s adopted mom, and Tamannah all being involved), keep the speech, and then have the people shout Baahubali’s name yet again, but this time, instead of becoming angry and insecure, the new king is proud and happy, and then we end on the image of the golden head floating away.
          Your thoughts on acting through body language sound fascinating- I’m still impressed by the fact that I didn’t mix up either Prabhas, even in the trailer which cuts between past and present – and I’d love to read them! I really hope you have free time to put them up soon!

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      • Thank you so much for your gracious welcome, and for tolerating the fact that my first comment was so long (I’m so sorry, I didn’t realize until I had posted!) and most of all, for the fascinating discussion!
        -Yes, absolutely, about the show-not-tell about Prabhas being happier incognito! And in retrospect, it makes the setup for Manogari make so much more sense, with Rana being all grouchy about if only their guards were as good as the ones in the bandit city, and Prabhas retorting that well, otherwise princes like them wouldn’t get to travel, would they? Back when I watched the first movie it just seemed like a snarky comeback, but now I actually suspect Prabhas was genuinely excited about the chance to explore while looking for the spy. And he naturally gravitates to going to make friends at the bar, while Rana just skulks around in the back.
        – Yes, it is very much like Jaan-E-Mann! Except I think it makes even more of an interesting point, because Akshay in that is so sweet and benign and Salman starts off as a jerk, that it makes the final point as to who truly loves Pretty and the dangers of basically stalking a girl based on the image of her you have in your head instead of her reality even more meaningful.
        – Dhivara totally takes the cake for gorgeous visuals and just all-around most beautiful song, I agree. But Hamsa Naava is just so cute! (And the “Devasena” part of the chorus is the best! It’s so sweet and playful/) Ooh, and the lullaby song was one I liked more than I thought I would, because of the way I took a cliche that I hate: that of the heroine compelled to reveal her feelings through song because she loves the hero so much, which leaves her embarrassed, the hero smug, and me uncomfortable from secondhand embarrassment. Here instead Anushka’s intentionally telling him that a) she knows he’s listening b) she still doesn’t buy his weakling idiot act but c) he’s cute so she’ll let it stand and not force him to take the hit in any other challenges like the bull. (And side note: the contrast to Rana’s intro in the first movie was really interesting! Even to the point where the bull Prabhas faces down is white instead of black.) Prabhas is pretty much swooning by the end and I’m convinced this is the point where he really falls in love with her for good, she is confident and happy and unashamed, and her family and friends are apparently super supportive of whatever she does, considering she’s declaring her feelings for who they believe to be a talentless poor stranger and then shortly goes on to publicly refuse a proposal from one of the most powerful kingdoms around, and her brother is basically like, “Sure, fine, just remember to write your answer down and address it correctly.”
        – Ugh, I would definitely not recommend Beta. It was recommended to me because Madhuri plays a strong intelligent character – and she is!- but to watch her tethered to Anil, and how relentlessly stupid he was when it came to his evil mother was painful.
        -Oh, and I definitely agreed with Anushka that Rana was a terrible king and that everyone, including the people, would benefit from Prabhas being king, in the baby shower scene! But yes, the way she puts it was unfortunate – and, despite the fact that these are larger than life heroic characters, I appreciated that it did have consequences in the trial scene.
        – The interval scene in the first movie was my very favorite scene, which is why I remembered it! 🙂 For one, it’s technically the only time we see Prabhas 2 prove why he deserves to be king, when he has a selfless action not for revenge or his mother or the girl of his dreams, but just some random workers he doesn’t even know. But moreover, I love that it’s the commoners, the people who loved and lived with Prabhas 1, instead of say Anushka or Satyaraj, who start the riot both times. And did you notice that Rana is crowned on the same place that he later puts his gold statue ? Looking back, it makes SO much more sense. The statues are wearing the outfits that Rana and Prabhas do at the coronation – we don’t see Prabhas 1 in armor after that scene, and psychologically, Rana is trying to replace the memory of his first failure to win people’s hearts away from Prabhas by putting the statue there, but literally the exact same thing happens all over again and like you said, that’s why he reacts so strongly.
        – “even a boulder becomes a throne” lyric – Yes, definitely! I agree that Rana would never have felt safe from Prabhas 1’s popularity, ever – really the only choice would have been for Prabhas to leave Mahishmati entirely, and he would never leave his people. Also, that lyric made me think too of Prabhas 1’s death scene, too, when Satyaraj helps him die sitting up with a sword in his hand like a king.
        – Oh yeah, I do remember that discussion of how they couldn’t kill Prabhas outright, because there would be civil war, so probably they would cloak with an attack by foreigners- but honestly I would have preferred if it had been the Pindari who return for revenge or whatever, which would tie together the first half of the movie with the second and make for a better excuse considering it’s still on everyone’s mind. Or even stick in thirty seconds of Rana discussing the plan or something!
        – Thank you for that explanation of Ramya’s actions from the end of the flashback to the beginning of the first movie: that makes so much sense!
        – Sadly I have to agree that a Prabhas 2 + anyone scene would have been really appreciated. It was even more painful because being stuck with Prabhas 2 is kind of….disappointing? because we’ve just spent the last four hours learning to love his dad (if you think of both movies as one big movie, as I think you ought to.) It would really help to soothe the bitterness of Prabhas 1’s death, but I agree with moimeme below that honestly, the movie is really Prabhas 1’s story, that Prabhas 2 is just there for the happy ending. (And I guess that explains why Tamannah was a later addition, and the scenes between Dhivara and the avalanche seem so random and disjointed). We’re meant to mourn Prabhas 1 and want more of him. That said, I would settle for an Anushka + Tamannah scene, too – so much of the climax involves Anushka going full circle and taking Ramya’s place that I’d love to see her foster a better relationship with Tamannah to drive home the theme of one generation doing better than the last.

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        • I’m loving this bullet point system so I can respond to everything and not worry about missing something!

          -After watching this one, I am thinking more and more that Mahishmati is actually a kind of terrible place! Even when things are “just”, the law is “guilty until proved innocent”? Anyway, it makes me think that Ramya might have always been an antagonist. Or at least, her way of ruling was never perfect. Prabhas 1 loved and and trusted her teachers, but he was also naturally more sensitive and happy and free than the restricted palace life allowed for. So no wonder he was so much happier away from the palace. Putting the sections where we saw him in disguise together with the section at the end when he is happily living in a village, I think it’s not so much that he hated being king, but that he hated being the kind of king/prince Ramya was trying to turn him into. He wanted to make judgements based on higher justice, not just the laws. He wanted to get to know the people, he wanted to let his sense of humor and sensitivity and heart and everything else show, instead of being the always-perfect figure Ramya wanted him to present. And he might have been able to create a happier kingdom that way, compare Anushka’s small and happy kingdom, or Prabhas 2’s forest home, with the heartlessness Mahishmati always had, reflecting the coldness of Ramya, rather than the warmth and softness of Prabhas. Which is another male-female thing, usually the woman is seen as the one who is “sensitive” and all that, but in this film, it was the female ruler who was too rule focused and cold, while the male ruler was seen as “too emotional” and letting his heart rule his head.

          -You’ve seen Jaan-E-Mann and Mujshe Dosti Karoge? Are you secretly me? Anyway, yes, I love Jaan-E-Mann for many reasons, and one of my favorites is the unique take on the love triangle. Yes, Akshay is the “better man”, but he doesn’t really know Preity, and she doesn’t know him, and that’s all that matters.

          -Yes, those 3 points are exactly why I like the Ram song! It’s so knowing. It’s not a heroine being “tricked” into revealing her feelings, but rather choosing to reveal them, and also that she isn’t falling for his tricks at all. In a larger sense, she is sort of giving him his own back. He puts up this whole charade of the humble servant type, she will play act the devout innocent princess singing for his love. But in reality, they are both warriors testing each other’s mettle.

          -I will continue to not watch Beta!

          -I like that Anushka is consistently impulsive and speaks before she thinks. But also consistently right! Her words never come from selfishness or pettiness or anything else, she sees clearly what the truth is, but is just a little too quick to say it.

          -Love your point about the statues wearing the same clothes as in the coronation scene! Rana’s whole character is so much stronger now that we have seen his full journey from slightly bitter about his brother, to furiously evil. I don’t want to say you can sympathize with him exactly, it’s more like you can understand him, the whole “evil Rana ruler’ didn’t come out of no where. Heck, he could have even been a good ruler! He never said anything about hating the people or wanting to destroy the kingdom. It was his bitterness over the way they never seemed to love him and always wanted Prabhas instead that turned him against the people.

          -that image is so amazing, dying as a king. The whole death scene has very complicated choreography to have the stabbing in the back, the throne moment, and the dying on the ground in Kattappa’s arms. But I don’t want to lose any of them! The throne moment is what makes the least sense, but it’s also the most powerful.

          -Yes to thirty seconds of Rana discussing the plan! We saw all those other boring discussion scenes, why not give us one when we really need it?

          -You are welcome!

          -I would have loved an Anushka Tamannah scene! There is so much there, the mother-in-law daughter-in-law relationship, they are both from the same kingdom, Tamanna has been idealizing Anushka for years and now they are going to be sharing the same man, lots to talk about! and we got none of it.

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          • – Mahishmati is straight up terrifying, actually! And it’s interesting, when we first see it, in Saahore Baahubali, it’s still the same happy place we remember from the last movie, because we’re seeing it from the point of view of Prabhas, who grew up there and accepts the laws as just the way things are. And then when we go to Kunthala, which is so lovely and peaceful and egalitarian that even it’s theme is pretty and happy, especially compared to that of Mahishmati. (As a sidetone, how sad is it, looking back, that the Kunthala we see is totally destroyed, and all that is left of it are the desperate, joyless rebels? Another thing that The Tamannah/Anushka Scene That Will Never Be could have explored!)
            But then we return to Mahishmati, and we see Anushka intimidated and overwhelmed by everything from the architecture to the throne room to Ramya. And slowly we find out that the Mahishmati we knew and idealized…isn’t that great. The laws aren’t always right. Ramya can be wrong and petty and prone to disproportionate retribution. It’s jarring to the audience, and I read it as Prabhas also coming to the same uncomfortable realization along with the audience. The part during the coronation when the choir sings the anthem in that stiff, solemn way makes it appear like a straight up dictatorship and that’s before Rana is officially crowned! The coronation ceremony altogether is so cold and awful, I can’t imagine Prabhas being coronated like that. And I love your point about Ramya being stereotypically cold and authoritarian, and Prabhas being the heart-on-his-sleeve, emotional one, in a twist on gender roles!
            – Haha, no, I’ve just watched too many cheesy 2000s films! I will admit to being less fond of Mujhse Dosti Karogi than say, Jaan-E-Mann and Salaam-E-Ishq, but it’s still more entertaining than it gets credit for. And the magic falling sindoor should never be forgotten!
            – Yes, exactly, Anushka’s no one’s fool, and I think it plays into why Prabhas 1’s romance strikes me as way less off-putting than Prabhas 2’s, even though both of them start by pranking their love interests. In the first movie, Tamannah is frightened, confused, and angry at these tattoos that keep appearing, and it undermines her professionalism and her warrior talents to have her so oblivious to Prabhas 2 and so easily overcome when she fights him. Here, Anushka is completely aware of what’s going on the whole time. Even the boar hunt is, now that I think about it, one of my favorite set pieces. Kumar Varma is just a really fun character, and Prabhas just spends the whole time either gawking at Anushka or making ridiculous faces to get her even more riled up, and most of all, Prabhas and Anushka and the audience all can see that Anushka is an excellent archer and that she would have made every shot she took if it hadn’t been for Prabhas. And you can see his respect for her talent, in the corridor scene where he trusts that she’ll understand his instructions on how to make the trick shot and get it right on the first shot – and she does! – and then they fight together as equals. Plus when he runs up to the dam, he leaves her behind to fight off the invaders on her own instead of either sending her away or hovering because she can’t be trusted to remain safe.
            – Not watching Beta is an excellent life choice!
            – Yes, exactly! And I also admire her ability to challenge authority without fear. I think that’s another thing that Prabhas 2 inherits from her: after all, can you see Prabhas 1 insulting a priest or taking a pick ax to a lingam? Not that he doesn’t love Ramya, but he would be more likely to self-sacrifice (the scorpion scene, for example, which actually is probably meant as a parallel) – Prabhas 2, on the other hand, just looks at the ritual, decides it will cause his mother more harm than good, and does what he believes to be right by helping his mother even if it means going against the priest/his parents/tradition….just like Anushka would.
            – Rana is arguably one of the most interesting characters in the movie, because when we see him as a kid, he doesn’t even seem to resent or hate Prabhas that much. Heck, even when they’re competing initially for the kingship, he doesn’t seem to hate him that much (with the exception of that scene where he’s tempted to let go of the rope, but ultimately doesn’t). Even the priests and Ramya point out that he’s just as smart and strong and aware of ethics as Prabhas – all ingredients for a good king! But you’re right, he’s constantly competing with Prabhas, even when Prabhas is dead, to the point of overtaxing his subjects to build the golden statue to reassure himself that he is the better king, and that’s what leads him into being such a terrible king, ironically.
            – Yeah, I’m not sure where that conveniently shaped rock came from, but I appreciate that Prabhas 1 gets to die as a king with his kingdom’s motto as his dying words. Speaking of the death scene, what do you make of the fact that Prabhas doesn’t ask after Anushka or his baby at all? From a plot perspective it makes sense, to convince Ramya of his inner goodness, but it seems…unfeeling? The only way I can make sense of it is assuming that he loves and trusts Anushka to protect herself and their child and so doesn’t feel the need to ask Kattappa to look after them; after all, for all he knows, she is still safe in the village, where she can hide out until she is strong enough to travel and then leave with the baby to go to Kuntala or somewhere else, rather than thinking that she’d go to the palace for answers instead. On the other hand, Ramya and Mahishmati are both under Rana’s control, and Ramya for one doesn’t realize that Rana is a murderous sociopath (unlike Anushka, who’s well aware that Rana is dangerous) and so he chooses to ask Kattappa to protect her instead?
            – It could replace the umpteenth scene of Nasser telling Ramya Prabhas a threat! Goodness, that got old fast.
            – Yes, apart from the Kunthala connection (see above), they could talk about Prabhas 2, who technically matters a whole lot to both of them, although neither of them know him that well! I would love to see them getting along, especially as a healthier model of the mother-in-law/daughter-in-law relationship!

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          • -In the trailer, there’s that shot of the small white ship traveling under the foot of the enormous elephant. It seemed ominous in the trailer, and even more here. Prabhas gives that promise to protect Anushka so casually, but Anushka was right (again) that she would need protection. Prabhas thinks of his kingdom as just and right and safe because he is an idealist. And because he doesn’t know anything else. But Anushka knows that Mahishmati is large and powerful and could squash her just like an elephant stepping on her ship. And Prabhas is the only thing standing in the way. But, on the other hand, I like that Mahishmati isn’t perfect. After watching the first film, I kept thinking “well, why can’t Ramya just rule? why is everyone so excited about Prabhas coming back? Weren’t things wonderful for decades under Ramya? Why do they think Prabhas will be so much better?” But things weren’t wonderful under Ramya! They were fine, but they weren’t great. And Prabhas, if he had been able to follow his own head and heart, would have ruled a completely different kind of city.

            -I suppose you could contrast the romances in that both woman, Anushka and Tamannah, combine warrior spirit with wanting the beauty and romance of life. Tamannah has been forced to be more of a warrior, and Prabhas 2 helps her bring out the beautiful side of her life. And Anushka is being pressured, gently, to be more of a princess. her family is wonderful and supportive and all that, but they don’t understand why she keeps practicing her archery and they want her to come to the religious ceremonies. And Prabhas 1 helps her bring out the warrior side and shows that he understands it.

            -I love your point about the Shiva scene. The other thing about it is how everyone reacts to him. Much more like Anushka’s family seemed to treat her. Prabhas 2 does his own thing, and follows his own path, and everyone just kind of encourages it. Versus Prabhas 1 who is always restricted to doing what Ramya and everyone else think is best for him. Really, falling in love with and courting Anushka is the first time he makes any decision for himself.

            -Rana feels very Shakespearean to me in that way, the tragically flawed character. And, arguably, you can bring it back to Ramya again. She always loved one son more than the other, and Rana always knew it on some level. And that rottenness just keeps eating away at him.

            -I saw it as Prabhas realizing that this whole nightmare of death and destruction was emanating from Ramya, and therefore Ramya is the one most in danger and caught up in it. Anushka and the baby are still, potentially, untouched by it all. And really, if Anushka had run instead of gone back to the palace, they might have gotten away clean. Gone to live at the foot of the waterfall with the happy forest people. But Ramya was in the most danger. Plus, he was talking to Kattappa, and he knew Kattappa’s loyalty would always be to Ramya.

            -Oh well, there’s always a chance for a deleted scene on the DVD.

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      • Your query……they never had Prabhas 1 really explain why he wanted to draw out that time as a “normal” person…
        The answer is queen mother advised Amarendra Bahubali to visit places around so that he can first hand understand commoner’s difficulties and their living conditions.

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        • Thanks for commenting! I wonder if that is the “real” reason, or if the Queen Mother wanted to get him out of the way for a while, to give him a little break. It was just an odd scene, to have her recommend this and have Prabhas object and then have her make him do it anyway.

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

  10. Wow, just wow.

    I liked Baahubali – The Beginning back when it came out but other than the visuals, I never loved the movie as a whole. When you put both parts of Baahubali together, you end up with an AWESOME movie. The story and the characters were amazing. All I have to say is thank you to Rajamouli and his Baahubali Family for making this amazing epic.

    Where do I even start?!? Basically my favorite part of the movie were all of the scenes between Sivagami and Devasena but I will get to that later. I first want to discuss the love story between Amarendra Baahubali and Devasena. I’ve always ranted about how I hate how Telugu movies have a formulaic romantic track where the hero lies about his identity to get close to the heroine and often this situation is also used to create comedy. I’ve seen it in various movies in the past 10 years like Temper, Baadshah, Aagadu, etc. So naturally I was very disappointed when it seemed that this romance was also following that path. But I didn’t hate this romance because even though Baahubali was lying about his identity, Devasena was clever enough to figure that out almost right away. I liked that she went along with it just for fun, not because she was a fool that didn’t realize what was actually happening. I loved the movie from the point that Baahubali reveals his identity and takes Devasena back to Mahishmathi. The confrontation scenes between Devasena and Sivagami were awesome. I especially loved the scene where Devasena is held on trial and then Baahubali and Devasena get banished. Their banishment reminded me so much of the Ramayanam. The way that the rift between Baahubali and Sivagami was created by Bhallaladeva and Bijjaladeva reminded me of Chatrapathi. In both movies a mother is seperated from and misunderstands her step-son’s intentions due to the actions of her real son. I also like the parallels between the previous generation (Sivagami) and the next generation (Devasena) that are shown in the final battle. Anushka and Ramya Krishna were awesome in their respective roles. Prabhas was also really good as Amarendra Baahubali. Rana wasn’t as impressive as the first movie but he was really good. The story of how Kattappa ended up killiing Baahubali is very satisfying as well. Overall, Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion is another gem from S.S. Rajamouli.

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    • Oh my gosh, I completely forgot how he did that in Chatrapathi! That was such a resonant part of the plot, and so clever, showing how the big tough gangster, the “bad” gangster not just our hero, was just a mama’s boy at heart.

      And yes to seeing it as one big movie! I really want to watch it like that, can’t wait to have the DVDs so I can just back to back them. It really should be a prologue getting Prabhas 2 in place, and then a centerpiece that shows the rise and fall of Prabhas 1 and Anushka, and then the final battle is just an epilogue. It would be a 6 hour movie, but it would be a wonderful movie.

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      • Yes, the mother storyline was my favorite aspect of Chatrapathi. I like how Rajamouli sometimes repeats elements from his previous movies in Baahubali. For example, Prabhas 2’s big speech in the middle of the final battle is really similar to a speech by the coach in Sye. Have you seen Sye? I personally think it’s one of Rajamouli’s more underrated movies. But it has been years since I saw it so my opinion might change now.

        Yeah! I’m probably going to do that too someday. That would be really fun, and I’m sure more patterns would be found within the two parts.

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          • Sye is a sports movie about Rugby and I think it’s pretty fun.

            You probably already saw Vikramarkudu as Rowdy Rathore and I think you’ve also seen Yamadonga.

            Maryada Ramanna is really fun! You should watch that though it is inspired by Our Hospitality. I would really recommend that you watch this one 🙂

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          • Oh right, Yamadonga! I forgot about that one.

            On Mon, May 1, 2017 at 7:27 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  11. There’s so much I want to say, but I really don’t have the time/energy right now. So I will just put in this tidbit.

    The first time I saw BB2, it was in IMAX, We had no trailers (which happens quite often where I am), and just went right into the movie. At intermission time, the English word “Intermission” appeared on the screen.

    The second time was a non-Imax version. But both times it was in Telugu. Now I was trying to answer someone’s query whether it was Telugu or Tamil, so kept going back and forth from inside the theater to the front, so first i saw some ads, and went to tell them,”Well, the ads all seem to be Telugu.” The next time I came in we were in the middle of the Saaho trailer! I was sorry to have missed so much of it, but anyway, I caught the end. And then the film started. But, when it was time for the intermission, the Telugu words “Mahishmati, oopiri peelchuko.” appeared. This is Anushka’s dialog from part 1, when she sees her son is coming, and it means, “Mahishmat, take a breather.” I thought that was quite cute. 🙂

    But why the differences in the two versions, when both were Telugu prints, I have no idea.

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    • That’s fascinating! I saw the Tamil version, which had the Saaho teaser attached, but I think the Intermission point was just regular “Intermission”. I might be seeing the Hindi version tonight (I found a theater that has cheap tickets, but only for Hindi). I was dreading it because of the dubbing, but now you’ve got me kind of curious just to see if there are any significant differences from the Tamil and try to figure out why.

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      • Oh, please do report back. I’m curious about any differences in the different language versions, but enough to actually watch a non-Telugu print.

        I have been reading on some sites that the Tamil and Hindi versions may be shorter than the Telugu version, and/or that some scenes were trimmed in these other two languages. So if you do see the Hindi version, you might also keep a look out for that. And then you’ll have to see the Telugu version next week (when prices will come down a little) to make sure you get the full version. 🙂

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        • NOOOO! I can’t STAND it if there might be additional scenes in Telugu! Especially because, if it is anything like part 1, the Telugu is going to be hard to find once it is out of theaters. No blu-ray, not that big of a DVD release, only available through streaming (which as we learned with Raees, doesn’t necessarily mean you get the full film). And, also in 1, there were about 3 lines that were cut in the Hindi version, I suspect just because they would have taken longer to say in Hindi. One was a comment by the forest people watching Prabhas try to climb the waterfall, in Telugu it was something like “He always falls at this point” and in Hindi it was “I bet he will fall soon”, something like that. But the other two differences were major, pretty sure the Hindi version didn’t include the clarification that Nassar only thought he was passed over because of his physical deformity, but it was his mental unfitness that was the reason. And, as I discussed in my detailed review, the soundmixing was slightly different for Tamannah’s introduction scene which totally changed the meaning from a gang rape to a military arrest.

          If you notice anything noticeably different in my detailed reviews than what you remember, tell me! That may be the best way of knowing what is different in Tamil/Hindi versus Telugu.

          On Tue, May 2, 2017 at 8:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I found out what was cut from the Tamil version (and possibly the Hindi version, too, though that seems unlikely). It’s only a few seconds, but I think they are important. I won’t tell you what it is yet, but maybe after you’ve reported on the Hindi version, I might.

            That’s interesting about the cut lines in the Hindi BB1. But I don’t understand about the difference in sound design. I mean, it would be done once, for all the versions, right? It’s not like songs, where you have to change the words.

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          • Tell me tell me! I ended up seeing the Telugu last night, because I went with my father (my mother had to work, but my Dad couldn’t wait another day) and he sprang for the Telugu tickets instead of the cheaper Hindi. There were a couple of tiny moments that I wasn’t sure if they were added, or just that I hadn’t noticed that line before. No entirely new scenes, that’s for sure.

            With the sound design in B1, it’s during Tamannah’s intro. Mixed in the background is the sound of running feet, panting, and the people chasing calling out “Hey! Wait!” or something like that. But I think because they wanted a sort of background effect, the calls are layered in as part of the background sounds, not the dialogue track. So for the Hindi, to get rid of that faintly heard Telugu “Hey! Wait!”, they had to pull the whole mixing of the running feet and stuff. And when they put it back in, there is just this slight change in how fast the foot sounds come, and how hard the panting is, and it makes the scene feel different. I doubt it was even on purpose, just turned out that way.

            On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 2:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  12. OK, if you saw the Telugu version, you got the uncut one (as far as anyone can tell). You know at the end of Hansa Nava, there is that really brief kiss between Amarendra and Devasena? Apparently that wasn’t there in the Tamil version, at least in India (because Tamil films get censored by a different board than Hindi ones). But now that I think of it, that may not be the case even for the Tamil versions shown abroad, because they wouldn’t need to comply with Indian censor standards, only the local ones. I remember for Saawariya, there was all this discussion and talk about Ranbir’s nude butt, and how it got cut in India. But it was there in the prints shown in the U.S. So, sorry I got you worked up for nothing.

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    • You know, it may have been cut. I remember thinking “wow, they are actually kissing!” when I saw it last night, and I don’t remember having that same “wow!” feeling with the Tamil one. But on the other hand, I was so distracted trying to figure out what was fantasy and what was reality in that song on the first watch, maybe I didn’t even notice.

      On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 6:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • But how was the Telugu vs. Tamil experience in general? You were telling someone to go to the Telugu version, because you get the actors’ real voices. Did that make any difference to you? I know for the trailer (and even some bits from part 1) I really disliked the guy who did the Hindi dubbing for Prabhas. I thought his voice not only didn’t have the timbre of Prabhas’s, even the voice modulation, in terms of which words were emphasized, was lacking in conveying the appropriate emotion for the scene.

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        • The biggest difference was a sold out theater versus an almost empty one. Tuesday is discount day at the Indian theater, so we went there. Cheers for Prabhas entry, cheers for a later stunt, crying babies during the sad part (the little girl next to me spent twenty minutes telling her father “I don’t like this! I don’t want him to die! Make him come back!”), applause at intermission and at the end, etc.

          But I think it did feel slightly more fluid. Maybe I wouldn’t have noticed if I didn’t know already that Telugu was the main language, but the dialogue felt a little more natural, and the songs a little more lyrical.

          On Wed, May 3, 2017 at 6:53 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

          >

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          • One thing I felt was that the subtitles weren’t as good in this as they were for part 1. In fact, they were so bad that I stopped myself from reading them. But I still did catch a glimpse of them from time to time. When Devasena sends her reply back on the marriage proposal, there was one place where I deliberately looked to see how they would translate one particular word. They weaseled out, IMO, but it’s not a word that can be easily translated, and it’s most important in that particular scene. I’ll get back to this later, when I have time. But even aside from this, I felt they were awkward in many places.

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  13. Dunno why everyone is so offended because this is how every household is, Saas Bahu Drama, and it is so true. Both of them stand for their pride and vachan and saashan. I agree with a lot of things you have written. Good break up and agree that the ending should have been more subtle. For us I don’t know if there was more to the ending. It just showed Prabhas and a stamp of Rajamaoli and that was it. Everyone left. After so long I didn’t have the inclination to watch any more either. A lot of things could be done better but its easy for anyone to say anything. Doing it is another thing altogether so really great work by everyone involved. They could have been much more but I’m sure they did their best and I appreciate the time and effort they spent in trying to make one that makes everyone happy. No movie will ever make everyone happy so its cool. Bankable movie.

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    • Good point about the “every household”. That’s what I was thinking while watching it, “this reminds me so much of my mother and grandmother and father caught in the middle.” And we didn’t have a soap opera family or anything, my mother and grandmother got along really well actually. But there is just something about your son’s wife/your husband’s mother that natural creates conflict.

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  14. hi…
    nice review and a detailed analysis..loved it.
    i wasnt a big fan of bahubali part 1.bcause of the lack of a good complete story..i felt it was just a visual effects gimmicks just like rajnikanths robot.. but i am very much impressed with part 2 and the whole film(both parts together) becomes meaningful now.. part2 has a great story and intersting characters..i loved everything in the screenplay.. and i agree anushka is the real hero of bahubali..most intersting character and performance.. i may watch it again just to see her.. all actors were fine…but i loved performance of both the villains(rana and nasser) more than other actors.. also i loved how modern progressive thoughts were in corporated to an ancient story.. the dharma versus law conflicts within character minds,ideas of revolution and democracy,feminist thoughts etc were all perfectly mixed to ancient tale of a dynasty..in some points i doubted whether rajamouli is a communistt!!..
    thamannas character length was not a problem for me in both parts.. i just considered her as one of the many incomplete characters and never cared about the gender of the character..
    my only issue with part 2 was that war/fight scenes- eventhough bigger than part 1- were not thrilling like part 1..i think its because of the absence of peter hein,the action choreographer of part one..he is the best one in india and is a legend.. i dont understand why rajamouli didnt use him in part two..
    and the dam breaking scene was beautiful but no idea how prabhas was saved from it

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    • Agree with all your points! We always heard that B1 was just half the story, but I didn’t realise that it wasn’t just about not having a resolution, it was about not having the depth and motivations fully explained until we saw it with B2.

      Also agree about the war scenes, although I am hopeful that I won’t mind as much on re-watches. Part 1, I started to get bored with the war scenes by my 5th watch, they just went on an on. Very well done, but very long. Whereas in this one, they are comparitively fast and simple. The Pindari battle is over quickly, more about character moments than big battle scenes. And the final battle turns very quickly into just a one on one fight between Rana and Prabhas, which is equally about Rana’s acting and the fight choreography.

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  15. Just saw the movie. Interestingly they have released all three versions of BB1 in YouTube! Is Rajamouli aware of this?
    I felt sad about cutting off Avantika and sidelining her completely. This what I would have done if I were the story teller:
    1. I would have avoided the scene in BB1 where Prabhas and Rana track down the spy for the Kalakeyas, venturing into a drunken brawl with three skinny bimbos. That did not look historic at all. That time could have been used to give some room for Avantika.
    2. Let us say Avantika makes Prabhas faint by placing some kind of flower in his nostrils. Then she gets captured by Rana’s soldiers. Prabhas comes out and finds her being dragged away and goes after them, entering the fortress stealthily, looking for her. Then he finds her, beats up the bad guys, gets into trouble, only to be saved by Avantika and the romance building during action sequence. Then Avantika tells him why she is there. She gets injured while both of them rescue Devasena. Prabhas is unable to save Avantika and she urges them to escape. This would have given Avantika enough room and made the audience wonder how she survives and returns in the second part.
    3. Then in the second part, they can show her being liberated as a part of the fighting that ensues.
    The rest of the story is well done. I loved it the way Devasena is introduced. It was like watching a super hero walking into beat the bad guys up, with the camera showing his feet first. She just kicked butt and that was awesome.
    4. I wish they made this into three parts instead of two. There was too much to tell and too short a time (that too after a total of 7 hours of story telling). People would have waited to see them all.
    5. I also would have like to see slight difference in the four different language versions, with slightly different directions. That would have made the audience even more curious and they could have made their revenue go up by 4 times! For example, the Tamil version could have had a slightly different version giving more room to Avantika like I have explained above or the Telugu version – it doesn’t matter.
    In all, when I saw the two parts (I saw the first one again just before the second one to keep things fresh), a sense of pride went through me – the same sense I felt when India won its first cricket world cup in 1983 or when India’s Mangalyan reached Mars with a budget less than that for the movie Gravity! This movie inspired me.

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    • thanks for the numbers! It helps me to make sure I respond to everything:

      1. that sequence was pretty wasteful. I was more and more aware watching this film that we didn’t really get to know Prabhas 1 at all in the last one. We saw him do things, but we didn’t get a sense of what he was like as a person. There was no point in wasting time on any of his sequences, we could have just skipped to the final battle for the spectacle of it all, and then started this movie with him as the newly crowned heir and Rana as his jealous brother.

      2. I like your idea, but I would have been happier with the version we got, if Tamanna had helped Prabhas at all in that fight scene. Even just a little moment where someone was sneaking up behind him and she rescued him. She doesn’t have to be a better fighter, but she needs to at least fight along side him.

      3. I love Devasena’s intro too! Come to think of it, Tamanna had a similarly awesome intro. But then the rest of the character fell apart. Both heroes had introductions showing their abilities in a peaceful enviroment, it was the heroines who got the big epic battle intros.

      4. I agree! Well, actually, I don’t think I want 3 parts, because I don’t think the story would have worked split in three. But I want two 4 hour long films, instead of 3 hour films.

      5. I don’t know, I think people might have gotten mad about that 🙂 They did that with Sholay, by the way. Distributors thought it was too long, so different distributors cut out different parts for their territories.

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  16. Apparently a number of Avanthika’s scenes were cut from Part 2 because the VFX didn’t come out to Rajamouli’s satisfaction. There was an interview with the Sound Supervisor, and he mentioned that, even the day before the release, Rajamouli was there still editing the film, to make sure that everything came out right, and that on that day he cut several scenes because of VFX problems. Now I’ve read that during interviews for Part 1, Tamannah had said that she will be in Part 2, too, and that she has several scenes with Devasena. Alas, what could have been!

    I disagree that the different language versions should have been different (apparently they are, slightly, because of differing censor sensibilities). As it is, Bahubali 2 is being credited for “uniting” the whole country. So let’s not start any fights with the different language groups arguing over whose version is better. 🙂

    And no, I don’t want to give up Manohari!! Great song, great dancing, and it did teach us a lot about Amarendra’s character. As you have said several times, Margaret, it showed us that he is the one that likes to get friendly with the commoners and develop relationships with them. It also tells us that he is very attractive to women (just as did the scene of him winking to the palace girls after sword practice), without taking any undue advantage of their attraction. And don’t forget Rajamouli’s cameo!

    We learned several things about Amarendra in part 1 as well, we learned about his innate sense of justice (refusing to abide by royal protocol with Kattappa), that he is the slightly better warrior than Bhallaladeva, that he is as comfortable in military strategy as on the actual battlefield, that he is an innovator and quick thinker under adversity (foreshadowing his engineering skills), and that he is compassionate not only to innocent civilians, but even to the enemy. All that was information that you carried into Part 2, and didn’t learn there. Oh, yes, and that he defies tradition when he thinks it’s wrong — he refused to kill the sacrificial animal before the battle, instead injuring his own hand to satisfy the goddess’s supposed “blood lust.” There was a LOT of characterization there for both Bahubalis — we learned a lot more about Shivudu, too, beyond the fact of his physical strength.

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  17. Pingback: Bahubali 2 Scene By Scene Part 20: The Last Sad Bit! Chekhov’s Bow is Fired – dontcallitbollywood

  18. Also one point I would like to add

    People aren’t just coronated by someone like that. Kings or priests or for that matter any king derives their power from god, perhaps today they derive it from constitution. For a religious kingdom like mahismati given its time it is that they derive the authority or crowning from God. So, for people to be able to crown someone they have to do a penance and establish themselves worthy of the rule. So, I think Ramya’s thing more like penance to give herself the authority to crown someone.

    Also there is other theory about demon and supernaturality involved about lingam that I expressed in other posts elsewhere on this blog.

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    • I was thinking the same thing, that Ramya represented the spiritual heart of the kingdom in a religious way. In the same way that, if I am remembering correctly, there are various Hindu ceremonies that are done by the female head of the household? Ramya and Anushka both went through the same ceremony, which confirmed them as having a special place as protector of the kingdom, and therefore able to crown the king.

      Although it could also be a change to the previous method of crowning. Like Charlemagne deciding to have the Pope crown him in order to give himself religious authority, instead of simply crowning himself.

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      • I was exactly thinking about Pope and Charlemagne when I wrote that post earlier. It reminded me of holy Roman empire and God’s approval as Pope approval and coronation done by Pope.

        It is mentioned in the movie ( I don’t know if it was lost in translation) that it is traditional for daughter in law of the kingdom to do that traditional walk which gives them power and take away all the evil from the country. So I am guessing, it’s a way of expressing the authority and also deriving authority from god. We actually see her going through all the pain when we have a close-up at her feet. I guess she might have taken the same trip just after she captured power in the throne room.

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  19. Pingback: Happy 45th Birthday Karan! 45 Reasons I Love You! – dontcallitbollywood

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  22. I finally watched both parts of Baahubali! Hurray for me!
    Reading the comments I can see that I’m not the only one who didn’t fall in love with the first part. It was incomplete movie and incomplete story. It left me with more questions than answers. But seeing both parts together it’s all different thing and one terrific movie. I fell in love with Baahubali 2 from the first scenes. The one with elephant – superb.This movie is a joy for the eyes, so many beautiful scenes I liked almost everything, and will comment more in detailed posts, but now few complaints:
    1) I didn’t like how both parts were divided. Maybe there should be : Baahubali – The father & Baahubali – The Son, so everybody would have their part of romance, battles and fighting? When the flashback was over in B2, I was all like “Ohh, Shivudu, I forgot about him” And at this point I had no connection with him. Yes, I wanted him to win, but for his father, and not because for him. He was the tool to get the vengance and not the real hero for me.
    2) I just can’t agree with you about the fact that Davasena “never makes a single misstep, is never fooled, never weak”. Yes, I absolutely love her intro, her strenght and her character, but sometimes she was so stupid. Like, she has small kingdom, not big army. The Prince of much bigger and more powerful kingdom wants marry her, and she responds offending him and his mother. Don’t wanna marry him? Ok, but what’s the point of offending other kingdoms? What she wanted to obtain with this? (and let’s not talk about her brother who just let her send this letter.)The same, when she told Amarenda to take the crown in presence of the king,queen mother, and other people. What she was thinking?
    3) I absolutely loved Rana. I the beginning I was sad because he has so little to act. He was always there only watching and thinking. But in the end, man it was Rana fest. I got goosebumbs. I only wish there were more scenes of his obsession with Davasena.Because he falls in love, but it seems more like caprice then love. Then he is happy with his crown, and I thought he is over her and in the end I discover he is crazy about her, and like you said, is a stalker. I feel like rewatching his crazy scenes right now.
    Overall it’s great movie, full-packed, it has all: comedy, love, fights, super talented and sexy actors..and some saas-bahu drama too! Especialy in the way some dialogues were delivered and filmed (like the scene when Rana’s father tell him to kill queen mother – I love the expresions on atendees faces – pure soap-opera style)

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    • I had the same feeling about both movies needing to be seen together to appreciate them! What I discovered is that I still like the first movie better, only I appreciate it for different reasons now that I have seen the second movie, if that makes sense. Everything is more meaningful and satisfying, seeing how the story ends/begins.

      1. Poor Shivudu really got short-changed. You will see over the course of my posts how much I, and the commentators, bemoan the lack of “present day” scenes with Prabhas 2. A scene with Tamannah to resolve their romance, with his mother, with his uncles, anyone! Instead of just leaping straight into battle. It would have made us care a little more about him and his own journey.

      2. I think the thing with Anushka is that she always sees and says the truth. But she is kind of too brave, too moral. Yes, she was right that the proposal was insulting and so on and so forth. But maybe she should have phrased that criticism a little more carefully. And in the same way, she was right that Rana was a being a bad king and Prabhas 1 would be better and was what the people wanted. But maybe don’t say it in such a confrontational manner.

      3. If you feel like it, you can check out my latest fanfic, in which I have Rana playing his own illegitimate nephew who finally gets together with Anushka 2, Anushka and Prabhas’ daughter.

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      • I am also in the same boat as you two are 🙂

        I watched the first movie only once in cinema and was not at all impressed. At that time I also wondered why people liked it so much. Then after watching the second movie I started loving it along with the first movie.

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