Bahubali 2 Scene by Scene Detailed Analysis: Part 4! Anushka and Prabhas’ Unique Romance

Happy Thursday!  I was going to do two posts yesterday, but instead I did one summary post and one speculative post.  And I think the speculative post is a little better written!  Check it out.  And to try to get this back on track, I am starting to slow down to 2,000 words for every 5 minutes.  And at that pace I will never be finished! (part 1 here, part 2 here, part 3 here)

So far, Prabhas was declared heir, Rana was jealous, Ramya tried to make it up to Rana with gifts, and she ordered Prabhas to go on a tour of the remote territories while he waited for his coronation and she picked out a nice bride for him.  Prabhas and Kattappa left town, and on the remote edges of the kingdom, Prabhas has just fallen in love with beautiful princess Anushka who he saw fighting off a team of bandits.

There’s a little moment I noticed in the post-fight scene on my second watch, actually two little moments.  First, there is the way that Kattappa and Prabhas are kind of in the back of the crowd, but it’s not because they are trying to be inconspicuous, it’s because they are sort of herding together the women and children and bringing them forward to thank Anushka for what she did.  It’s like a gift, if that makes sense.  Prabhas and Kattappa are experienced courtiers/warriors, and they know that this is what Anushka would most like after her battle, to receive the thanks of the people.  And so they have arranged that for her, holding themselves back since they know it would be less meaningful coming from them.

The second little moment I noticed was when Anushka address them, and Kattappa introduced himself as Prabhas’ “uncle” and gave her a little bow.  And then nudged Prabhas to bow as well.  On the one hand, it works with their disguise as a humble peasant type and his unintelligent nephew, that Kattappa had to remind Prabhas to bow.  But it also, on a second watch, was a reminder to me that Prabhas had never had to bow before, this whole “humility” thing wasn’t part of his experience, he needed Kattappa to guide him in it.

Image result for prabhas interview

(Unlike in real life, where humility seems very familiar to him)

Oh, and then Kattappa (at Prabhas’ direction), suggests to Anushka that she take his simple-minded nephew back to the palace and teach him to be a man and a warrior.  While Prabhas just stands there and smiles.  He keeps smiling as they ride their carriages to the palace, Anushka standing noble and impressive in front and Kattappa and Prabhas shuffling along behind.

I’m going to come back to this later, the way Prabhas arranges for all this to happen around himself and seems to enjoy it.  So remember that!  And keep noticing it through out this section.  But first, random moment when Prabhas notices some cowherds chasing after their animals, joyfully running with them and herding them in the appropriate direction.  It felt really clunky, to be inserted into his trip back to the palace with Anushka.  But it was supposed to be clunky, so that the audience would remember it, and put it together with the moment 20 minutes later when Prabhas uses that knowledge.  This was a tiny little example, so that we would pay attention and put together the much more subtle versions of this transition.  Those little flashes we saw in Prabhas’ traveling song, those will come back.  The water wheel, the different ways of finding justice, all of that was stuck in his mind and gave him ways to improve Mahishmati, if he had the chance.

Okay, now we are back in the palace!  Anushka is trying to shoot an arrow.  Actually, to shoot two arrows.  And she looks terribly clumsy at it, and I had a moment of fear that she would turn into another weak woman type character.  But, phew! That doesn’t happen.  This scene was to set up something else entirely, which again I will get into later.

dbd4a-bah

(This!  this is what it is related to)

We also get to see some interesting stuff about how the genders interact in the Kuntala palace.  Anushka is shooting her arrows, when her brother and sister-in-law come up.  Her sister-in-law reminds her to stop practicing and instead start preparing for the “full moon ceremony”.  Her brother-in-law, when appealed to, says that it is none of his business and he is staying out of it.  And meanwhile, Subbaraju is giving Prabhas and Kattappa a tour of the armory and they are pretending to be impressed, while secretly laughing at his pretensions.  I also got the feeling that Prabhas was enjoying being an audience to someone else, letting someone else take center stage for once.

But in terms of gender, there is a line still, there are all female ceremonies of which Anushka is naturally a part.  But that doesn’t mean she, and her ladies in waiting, can’t practice with arrows too.  And while Subbaraju is naturally taking charge of these two strange men in the kingdom, because he is also a man, that doesn’t mean he is good at weaponry, or even that anyone else thinks he is good at weaponry.

Prabhas is still a little dopey with love, and he is distracted looking at Anushka and accidentally allows his hand to weigh down Subbaraju’s and help him to shatter an entire block of wood.  But he quickly recovers and pretends that Subbaraju must not know his own strength.  However, Anushka is suspicious.

That night, Subbaraju is practicing in his room, trying to split a log.  Along the walls, we see glorious full length paintings of him in heroic style, standing over a bear, carrying a tiger’s body, etc.  But when the camera pans towards him, he can’t even manage to make a mark in a small block of wood with a sword.  He is interrupted by Anushka and her attendants, and quickly hides the sword and the wood when he hears them coming.  But the attendants easily find them and tease him into showing how he can split the wood.  Until Kattappa and Prabhas come in with a tray of fruit and say that it is inauspicious to perform the same feat at night as in the day.  Anushka lets it go, but warns him that he had better be prepared to show his skills the next day on a boar hunt.

Image result for wild boar

(Wild boars, very scary)

Okay, discussion time!  First, note the tight construction, establishing in this small way that Prabhas’ power is so strong, and his abilities so well trained, that even the smallest touch of his hand can cause a sword to shatter a tree trunk.  This will be important in the next sequence, but we need to see it established now, because things will move too fast for us to fully understand it later.

Second, the light touch, making Subbaraju funny but not threatening.  He is fooling no one but himself.  Even Anushka’s attendants can see through his pretensions to bravery.  There is no risk that Anushka will be married off to this weakling, or even that he will be given too much responsibility in his duties, he can be laughed at without us worrying about his actions.

Another thing to notice, how we see that Anushka is already trying to puzzle out this problem.  She isn’t only Prabhas’ match in weaponry, she is in intelligence as well, noticing small things, putting together clues, and setting up tests and traps.

Oh, and also, the way that Prabhas and Kattappa are still standing back a little, letting others drive the story forward.  Including arranging for Subbaraju to ask Prabhas to be his attendant on the boar hunt the next day.  So he can continue his little game with Anushka, with Subbaraju as a pawn for both of them.

The boar hunt itself brings together a lot of different themes that all boil down to “Kshastriya”.  I saw some complaints that this film is caste-ist for how much it talks about the Kshastriya way and Kshastriya code.  But I didn’t see it that way at all, to me it was just the “good” part of the castes.  Not that people are locked into a particular caste, but that once you do end up in that particular position (however it happens), there are certain responsibilities you must uphold.

Subbaraju asks why they are hunting the boar, and Anushka clarifies that the boars are destroying the fields and threatening the farmers, and therefore it is their responsibility to kill the boars.  This is exactly why the fighting class came about, all over the world.  The weapons and training required were expensive, and so all of society would pass money towards the chieftains, who in return were expected to use their fighting abilities to defend the rest.  Anushka does not learn archery to amuse herself in her copious free time as an indulged princess.  She learns it so that she can fight bandits, kill wild boars, and otherwise serve her people as best she can.  That is going to be Prabhas 1 journey through out this film, to always serve his people however he can wear he can.

Image result for medieval wild boar hunt

(See?  Medieval Europe, same thing, the wealthy went out with their dogs and their stakes and hunted boars that the peasants couldn’t take care of)

Before we get to the real hunt, there is the funny scene, Prabhas talking with Kattappa about why he is doing this charade.  He doesn’t really explain, when Kattappa argues that he could simply reveal his identity instead of sleeping in the kitchen and pretending to be a simpleton.  And Prabhas simply says that Kattappa has never been in love (clearly not knowing about Kattappa and Ramya’s hot affair that I have decided in my head canon has been happening for the past 20 years).  He then tries to explain by suggesting that Kattappa look at the two lovebirds out the window.  Which Kattappa immediately translates to thinking about how tasty the two birds would be, cooked with a little salt and pepper.

It’s fun seeing how perfect Kattappa has this big blind spot.  And it’s fun seeing Prabhas and Kattappa interacting as equals and friends.  But it also kind of does answer Kattappa’s question, or start to answer it.  Prabhas is in love, he wants to be with the woman he loves.  And he wants to “play” with the woman he loves, like the two birds are playing with each other.

Right, boar hunt!  This is such a fun sequence.  It moves so fast, cutting between Anushka and Prabhas’ chariots with the boar running in between.  And it is so well directed!  I always knew where everything was in relation to each other, the boars and the chariots and the two arrows.  And Prabhas has so much fun coming up with different ways to make sure Subbaraju wins, knocking his arm or startling him to release the arrow to soon.  It’s fun because it is so small, the little things he does.  Thank goodness with had the sword and log scene earlier so we could understand what he was doing and that just that little amount of attention lets him win this contest.

What makes it really great is that it doesn’t make turn Anushka into a figure of fun.  It is clear that she could easily kill the boar, that she is the best archer in the kingdom.  Prabhas 1 is better, but that’s because he just is.  It’s not a male-female thing, it’s a “Greatest and best trained warrior in the empire” versus “greatest and best trained warrior in a small kingdom”.  And she doesn’t respond by throwing a female hissy-fit, it just makes her think more.

And thus another trap for Prabhas!  A clever one, not just clever because she knows he is secretly a warrior, but using his hidden weaknesses against him.  Anushka pretends to trip while stepping out of her carriage, and Prabhas automatically grabs her waist before she can fall.  Not just showing his reflexes and strength, but showing that his emotions have gotten the better of him and he can’t stop himself from saving her even if it reveals his identity.  And Anushka ignores that aspect, which she surely is also aware of since she used it as part of her trap, and instead just grabs his hand and raises it up (no feminine modesty about touching his body!) and declares that it is the hand of a “kshastriya”, she will of course recognize it’s touch.

(Or else she recognizes his touch from 1:13 here)

Again, I really don’t think Kshastriya is being used in a super casteist way.  She means a strong hand, capable of fast movements and all those things that come from training.  Not that she can instinctively recognize the blood flowing in his veins.  Especially the way she phrases it, “the touch”.  There is a layer of sexiness there.  I feel like, if she had tried the same trick on Subbaraju, she would not have liked “the touch”.  He is the same caste, but his hands wouldn’t feel right to her in the same way.

Anushka definitely reacted to Prabhas’ touch, but she does not let that stop her, she only files it away as another bit of evidence, and sets up her next test, directing Prabhas to stand in the road, and let a wild bull run at him.  Prabhas does a nice job of pretending fear while letting the audience see that he is waiting for the right moment to step aside and let himself be hit.  He flies into the air and hits the ground, and Kattappa immediately steps into his role of sorrowing relative, crying over his injured nephew and the cruelty of the princess, while Prabhas sits there and watches Anushka from behind his hair, enjoying her frustrated reaction.

Back at the palace, Prabhas has been settled in a bed with a sling and Kattappa is still sorrowing over him, and manages to knock him sidewise so that he falls against Anushka and she is forced to embrace and support him.  And while doing so, there is a moment that she definitely lets her face brush against his hair, and he smiles as he feels it.  It could feel sudden, that Anushka feels so much for someone she barely knows.  But I totally buy it!

This has been a game between them all along.  Prabhas acting the fool and Anushka trying to catch him.  It’s how they learned about each other, testing their mental mettle.  Similar to how Prabhas 2 and Tamannah will fight their own duel, only that time Tamannah doesn’t realize Prabhas is playing just for fun, until it is almost too late.  This time, Anushka and Prabhas both know exactly what is happening.  She isn’t trying to weed out a spy in their court or anything like that, she is smart enough to know that Prabhas is essentially honorable and harmless.  She just wants to get the better of him for the same reason she wants to learn to shoot two arrows at once and suggests a contest at the boar hunt.  She is a competitive person, and she can sense that Prabhas is a worthy foe, and therefore really wants to “win”.  But she also enjoys the competition, fighting against someone who is her equal or who superior.  Look at how easily she and her ladies in waiting see through Subbaraju, there is no challenge there.  And her brother and sister-in-law, they are good people and she loves them, but they don’t bother challenging her any more, just let her go her own way.  Prabhas has been traveling the kingdom, seeing new things and having his assumptions challenged.  Anushka has been sitting at home, craving that same experience.

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56 thoughts on “Bahubali 2 Scene by Scene Detailed Analysis: Part 4! Anushka and Prabhas’ Unique Romance

  1. I got curious about the whole archery thing, and I came across this Lars Andersen guy. I don’t know if his claims hold up, but it sort of fits the Bahubali scenes.

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    • Yes! And it made me appreciate his range in this film even more, that he can play the playful flirt, and also the noble king, and also the loving son al at once. Just such a huge leap forward from other roles, where he was the playful flirt almost the whole time.

      On Thu, May 4, 2017 at 11:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. When Prabhas is joking with Kattappa about his (Kattappa) never being in love, did I remember right that Prabhas says Kattappa is an old man of age 60? So when he’s with Prabhas 2, Kattappa would be 85? Boy, Kattappa really stayed in good shape!

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  3. Unlike you, the boar hunt really bothered me. I’ve seen the film three times now, and each time it is a jarring note. I actually wondered why all the “feminists” who were so against Tamannah falling in love with Shivudu had not a peep about the fact that here Amarendra is basically sabotaging every single shot that Devasena takes, even splitting her arrow in half so his can kill the animal. Now I call that patronizing! He could have let her arrow find its mark at least once.

    And you really need to give up your fantasy romance between Sivagami and Kattappa. Not only would that make her a highly dishonorable person (committing adultery), he always addresses her as “talli” — “mother”. I don’t think either of them was into incest, or pseudo incest. 🙂

    As for Kattappa’s age, yes, I also noticed it, but it has an easy explanation. This story and these characters are modeled on the Mahabharata (there are almost too many details to list), but more generally, in the mythic tradition (not mythological). If you think about it, mythic traditions in many cultures around the world, have similar narrative techniques (summarized excellently by Joseph Campbell). One of them is the extremely long lives of the heroic characters. Think about Biblical characters who lived to be 900 years, or bearing children when the woman is 90. If you think of the Iliad, several of the older warriors are close to 80, and definitely in their sixties. Wasn’t Priam (Paris’s father) close to 70 or 80 when the war happened?

    More specifically about the Mahabharata, Kattappa is so clearly modeled on the character of Bhishma (with a mixture of Vidura thrown in, for the “slave” aspect), who was, indeed, over 80 by the time the Mahabharata war happened, and he was still a fearsome warrior, unvanquishable by anyone. Bahubali is set in that same mythic universe.

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    • For me, it would have been more patronizing for him to “let” her get a shot. This way, he is doing her the honor of trying his best and treating it as a real competition. And she wants that, I mean, she is setting up this whole thing in order to try to figure out what is going on with him. If he had “let” her win, after making the first few shots, I think she would have known that he must have been holding back and not appreciated it.

      On Fri, May 5, 2017 at 4:11 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • “Let her win” is poor phrasing on my part, which I was aware of even as I wrote it (that is, I thought it would be misinterpreted just the way you have). So let me try again (this doesn’t mean you’re patronizing me by “letting me try” :)). A better way to put it is, if he had just not interfered, and let things play out the way they would if she were hunting on her own. At this point she is not yet testing him, just trying to train him to have some useful skill. But basically, to me it came across as, every time she took aim at the boar, Amarendra jumped in to get the kill before she could. Every. Single. Time. That felt highly disrespectful to me. If he was openly competing with her, sure, he can go all out, and there’s no question of “letting” her win. But he has deceived her about his abilities, and, when she’s actually doing something to protect her people, he jumps in grabs the glory, so to speak (even if attributing it all to someone else), and not letting her have the satisfaction of a job well done, a job, moreover, that she is constantly training for. So for me this was as bad or worse than Mahendra painting on Avanthika’s hand or shoulder without her knowledge, which had everyone up in arms.

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        • Okay, I see what you mean now. And you are right, if Anushka entered into this sincerely, I would have found it just as irritating as you did.

          But I read that section as Anushka already being suspicious of Prabhas, based on her glances at him after Subbaraju shattered the log, and even as the boar hunt started. So that it was a honest competition, she already suspected something about Prabhas and was challenging him as much as Subbaraju. But that’s just my interpretation, there is nothing explicit in the script to support it. If I went with the reading that it was only after the boar hunt that she became suspicious, I would react the same as you, not fair for him to treat as a game something she was taking seriously.

          On Fri, May 5, 2017 at 8:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Thanks for understanding. She might have suspected some funny business with the log splitting, and that might have been why she wanted Amarendra on the hunt, to further observe him, but her primary objective was to kill the boars and save the farmers. While the boars still got killed, she had nothing to do with it. It was when he stopped her from falling that she “solved” the puzzle. I don’t think it was the “touch” of his hands. I concluded that she felt the calluses and muscles in his hand, how hard it felt, not the hand of a guy who does nothing, and deduced that he really must have a lot of fighting skills, though she was still off in terms of how much skill he had.

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    • I really wonder whether even Rajamouli had this concept in his mind about the age of kattapa maybe he would have cos he’s an ardent fan of Mahabharata

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      • I was assuming something like that, some mythic aging thing. I do like how we see him age, not so much physically but mentally. The carefree Kattappa who could joke and be a wingman to Prabhas 1, turns into a slow talking and tired old man by the time Prabhas 2 comes of age. Still a great fighter, but not as quick mentally.

        On Tue, May 9, 2017 at 10:35 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. @Decaf, thank you so much for posting that video! It’s amazing to know that the kind of skills talked about in old literature were simple statements of fact, not exaggerations or even metaphors. This should be a caution to us “modern”, not to assume that we know more than people who lived centuries in the past.

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  5. These are some of my favorite scenes, so please be prepared for long winded rambling ahead 🙂 ! On the subject of which:

    – I hadn’t noticed that detail about Prabhas and Kattappa herding the women and children towards Anushka, but (I will keep an eye out for it when I get to watch it again very very soon! Hooray!) I love your observation that it is a gift for her. It fits in with the pattern we see of Prabhas giving her small, subtle, action-based gifts that he knows will bring her joy based on his understanding of her (and I’d argue a large part of that is because of how likeminded they are. Even here, as she accepts the thanks of the villagers, Anushka is kind and humble and pretty much acts the way Prabhas does later on, when the Kuntala king is thanking him for saving their kingdom.) and as opposed to the grandiose but essentially impersonal presents that Ramya and Rana are going to send in a while.

    – I did notice the nudge from Kattappa, though! Very funny character moment.

    – In terms of other character moments, what also stood out was Anushka’s reaction when Kattappa says Prabhas got kicked out by his family so he could learn something in the world. She looks genuinely appalled and sympathetic and at this point, has no reason to doubt Prabhas and Kattappa (by the way, at what point do you think she started becoming suspicious? Definitely by the log cutting sequence, especially when they rush in to stop Subbaraju, but do you read her as being not fooled by their story even here) and I think that sets up her anger at Ramya and Rana later. Most of their clash is because of their different ideologies, true, but Anushka is clearly indignant at how Prabhas’ family treats him.

    – I agree about getting nervous about the fumbling-with-archery part, but it was mitigated for me by how well Anushka does at the boar hunt (without Prabhas’ interference), hitting multiple moving targets while in motion herself. Plus I liked the detail that the minister is so adamant that shooting multiple arrows is impossible, and also that despite the many super skilled warriors in the films, we don’t see anyone else (not Kattappa! Not Rana!) ever use multiple arrows. It brings home that out of everyone else, Anushka and Prabhas are the only ones creative enough to imagine such a thing (independently too! Another example of how similarly they think) and not complacent enough to just be happy with great aim with a single arrow.

    – Obviously I agree about the fluid gender roles, but I appreciated too that the joke with Subbaraju was always clearly his pomposity instead of say, his unmanliness! And the joke, too, never seems meanspirited. Prabhas, Anushka, and Kattappa come across as amused instead of out to humiliate him or anything like that. It’s a hard balance but they pull it off.

    – And now a word about the sets. Baahubali gets a lot of hype, appropriately, about its sets and there’s just so much care and detail put into them. I mean, just compare the Kuntala palace with Mahishmati: the walls are all a bright white, there are windows and balconies everywhere, there is a courtyard where the family/court spends most of their time. Even their darbar is out on a balcony in the fresh air! And then in contrast, Mahishmati has courtyards/open areas too but they are all up on steps to showcase the royal family, and the interiors are closed and intimidating. ( I know why it would never happen, narratively or characterization wise, but I’m still so sad Prabhas and Anushka don’t go to live in Kuntala later on – she is the crown princess and heir, after all. They would have been so much happier!)

    – The other thing I liked about the Kattappa/Prabhas scene is that Kattappa has a part where he says ” If she knew who you were, she would fall at your feet” and Prabhas doesn’t look convinced. You could read that as him not wanting her to worship him, but wanting her to love him instead, but in light of the fact that she very much does not just fall at his feet when his identity is revealed shows that (again) he recognizes that she is not the sort to be won by shows of power.

    – Yes, I liked that too about the boar hunt explicitly being to help farmers rather than being for pleasure! And here is my argument about why the boar hunt doesn’t come off as patronizing to me: Anushka is a brilliant archer, and would have hit every one if the boars (a moving target! While she is moving herself) without interference. The audience can see it, Prabhas knows it, Anushka knows it, and heck, both of them know the other know! In contrast, Tamannah’s combat skills and observational skills are both called into question (I’m thinking of the part with the snake, where Prabhas 2 is literally a foot away from her and she doesn’t realize it.) plus, when Anushka misses her shots, she doesn’t get reprimanded or shamed for it like Tamannah does: in fact, everyone else except Subbaraju and Kattappa looks totally confused at what must have happened to make their princess miss every shot. And I know I’ve said this before, but Anushka is clearly annoyed as compared to Tamannah’s terror at her tattoos. Plus Prabhas 1’s ridiculous faces are just too good to miss!

    – and she gets the better of him she she trips and he catches her! Though I didn’t read that as her instinctively knowing he was a warrior- Hindu epics are full of heroes being recognized by their bowstring scars and I figured that, along with the calluses from using a sword, was what she meant.

    – I still find the bull scene interesting because bulls are so strongly associated with Rana in the rest of the movie! And especially in that entry scene where he is surrounded by his (male) family and in his war chariot. Even Rana’s fight with the bull is awful and brutal in a way that Prabhas’ fights never really are (compare the elephant, which I would argue is Prabhas’ thematic animal) And I’d argue that the set up of the bull fight- Anushka explicitly sets it up to see what he is made of, he is not protecting anyone or working towards some greater cause like taking the throne he clearly makes eye contact with her as he drops his weapon to take the hit – reflects one of the themes you pointed out in your first review, namely that of needing to balance masculine and feminine. Instead of Rana’s embrace of this hyper-male/violent behavior for no reason other than proving his strength, Prabhas symbolically rejects it in favor of the more male/female balanced, righteous lifestyle the film shows as ideal.

    more thoughts to follow, surely, but this is already long enough for now!

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    • I love all these thoughts!

      -I hadn’t put it together that the thanks of the innocents here are of a part with all the other “gifts” Prabhas gives her, but you are absolutely right! And it goes the other way too. Anushka sings him a lullaby, as her symbol of love.

      -Right! I forgot to mention that moment, it stood out for me too. Not just from the side of Anushka judging Mahishmati, but what it tells us about the royal family of Kuntala. That a homeless youth would be welcomed into their palace and allowed to interact with the royal family as a semi-equal. That’s a level of access and trust and general charity that the Mahishmati royal family just doesn’t have. Not that the necessarily even should, they are dealing with a much larger kingdom and palace and all that. But it is a sign of how different and how much simpler Anushka’s life and royal upbringing has been.

      -What a great catch! That Anushka and Prabhas are explicitly the only ones who even considered this idea. Let alone accomplished it. I’m trying to remember, did we see Prabhas do it in B1? Was the audience supposed to have a moment of “Hey! They are meant for each other, they both had the same arrow idea!”? Or do you think it is something that was just added hear with no set-up?

      -Excellent point about Subbaraju. The other thing I noticed was that Anushka’s brother is not the most warrior kind of guy, I don’t think we even see him really fighting when the kingdom is being attacked. And it’s not expected of him, he seems to be a good king in all other ways, a caring and decent person, so why should he have to try to do something that doesn’t come naturally to him?

      -Yes to the sets! And the general feel of the Kuntala court. Again, they brought back a random guy from the road and put him in the kitchen. And you can see that the courtiers are relaxed, respectful but relaxed, around the royal family. There is none of the obsession with protacal (sp?) and rules that you see in Mahishmati. Again, going back to the idea of law versus Dharma, Kuntala is full of Dharma, but the “law” part of things is very relaxed.

      -Good catch! In general, I like that Kattappa is a bit clueless in the romance and Prabhas is guiding him. It makes it clear that this really is just between Prabhas and Anushka, Kattappa is just the co-between. Even if he is the one who actually says things to Anushka most of the time. It kind of avoids the Pardes problem. How Shahrukh was the one that really made Mahima fall in love, and the fiance guy was just a block of wood being moved around.

      -I think the “Anushka knows how good she is” part is the most important. Her losing to Prabhas isn’t making her question herself, it is just making her question him. His actions are only affecting his standing, not hers. Unlike Tamanna, who was in a harsher society that would judge her and force her to judge herself. But I think perhaps Prabhas 2 did not realize that, since he had been raised in such a pure environment. He thought his actions would be laughed at and forgiven, they were just his ways of introducing himself. In the same way, his indulgent happy reaction to Tammannah’s attacks were not necessarily patronizing becuase she was a woman, but how he would have reacted to anyone at that point, never having learned to consider fighting as something you do in anger rather than in the spirit of happy competition.

      -I should clarify, I got that the “hand of a warrior” is superficially about the calluses and so on. But I like the additional meaning of her having a reaction to his touch.

      -Oooo, I like that! Prabhas choosing to take the “feminine” option of being passive. And also, actually meeting her eyes before he does it. So she knows both that he is making this decision to let himself be hit and not ashamed of it. And in general, acknowledging that her suspicions were correct and he is playing a game with her. So that everything that happens afterward, even more than what happens before, is a secret between the two of them who know the “truth” about what he is.

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      • Oh, thank you 🙂 I always find your thoughts interesting, too!

        – Yes, exactly, with the lullaby – and we’re back again to how it’s intentional, instead of say, the heroine being tricked into revealing her feelings, like we discussed before!

        – I don’t think we do see Prabhas using multiple arrows before that scene, actually, even in the first one! (but correct me if I am wrong!) But neither does anyone else, so I figured he had to come up with it himself, so I thought we were supposed to assume the first suggestion you offered, actually, that they were made for each other because they thought the same way.

        – You’re right! I remember Anushka’s brother being on the wall at the end of the war (but I mean, his wife is with him, and I doubt she fought as well), but I don’t remember him having even a throwaway scene where he is actually shown fighting. But he is still clearly a good man, and not worthless just because he isn’t as commanding as Ramya or powerful as Prabhas or Rana.)

        – Haha, Kattappa is a bit clueless, but he nevertheless makes a surprisingly good wingman! (Honestly, would never have expected that from someone clearly based on Bhisma from the Mahabharata would be that effective.) But I think Katappa is somewhat in on the joke, as well – in the scene after the bull, when Prabhas is being seen by the doctor, Katappa is absolutely over the top (and this after Anushka straight up says she suspected them because how hammy he was being…and Kattappa takes that as a cue to just get even worse.) culminating in him literally shoving Prabhas towards Anushka so she has to catch him, making a point of hitting Prabhas on his “injured” arm just to make sure that she knows he is actually fine, and then singing that hilarious song about how Prabhas is an orphan and has no one to love him (and technically he is! But also Kattappa is totally preying on Anushka’s sympathy towards Prabhas’ lack of a family, as she lets on before.)

        – Oh, and I remembered what else I wanted about the part where he falls and he catches her : it’s almost immediately mirrored in the next scene, where he falls, and she catches him! So not only is the damsel-in-distress nature of her tripping into his arms subverted by the fact that she uses it to figure out his deception, it’s also immediately reversed to make them equals again.

        – Re: “everything that happens afterwards a secret between the two of them who know the “truth” about what he is” – yes, exactly! And it’s neat, too, by the end of this sequence, Anushka knows everything she really needs to about Prabhas – she knows he is stronger than he looks, but is confident enough in himself to let Subbaraju get all the credit, he’s not above appreciating a good joke, Kattappa means the world to him and vice versa, and he loves her. So honestly, later when she is ready to marry him even before he reveals himself, it feels right – and for that matter, everything in Kattappa’s grandiose introduction of him (future king, Ramya’s beloved son, awesome commander against the Kalakeya army, IIRC?) is going to be taken away from Prabhas by the end (and we aren’t even surprised when Anushka doesn’t even care). But that’s all right, because that’s not really him: and it’s not the him that Anushka fell in love with, anyway.

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        • Skipping the first few points, down to Kattappa as wingman

          -I love Kattappa as wingman! Not just because he is hilarious, but because it gives you a sense of how different Prabhas is, again, some more. I don’t think any other royal would have allowed Kattappa to be that familiar. Not just allowed it, but encouraged it. And Kattappa had no hesitation about responding, which he wouldn’t have done with any other royal. Going back to the first film, that moment when we see Prabhas 1 share his meal with Kattappa has added resonance, it wasn’t just an empty gesture of kindness, he really cared about this person and wanted to build a bond with him. And did build a bond with him, a closeness he didn’t feel with many other people in his life. I can easily imagine that Prabhas build a similar bond with other “lowly” people in the palace, a servant or a cook who he might have teased and joked with in a way that didn’t seem in keeping with “royalty”.

          -Oh, that’s really neat! The mirroring. It’s not just the damsel in distress that is mirrored, it’s also the tricking into a copping a feel. If we hadn’t had the earlier scene, it might have felt a little forward for Prabhas to trick Anushka into holding him. But she’d just done the same thing to him! And turn about is fair play.

          -Really good point. And, I think, why Prabhas wanted to do it this way. He didn’t want them to get to know each other in the formal places of court, he wanted to know her, and for her to know him, with the kind of freedom that a servant has.

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  6. Pingback: TGIF: Men in White (Thank You Sushant Singh!) – dontcallitbollywood

  7. Pingback: Bahubali 2 Detailed Summary (SPOILERS): Part 5, The Love Triangle Begins! – dontcallitbollywood

  8. As an Indian I had difficulty understanding Trojan war. But after watching Bahubali 2 and just re-watching Brad Pit’s Troy movie in TV yesterday, I can understand Trojan war better now. Helen’s was an arranged marriage (draw of straws). Paris was a cheap character sleeping with other men’s wives and having no courage to fight. Helen’s situation was unfortunate and Paris is to be blamed for the war.

    Any comments on this?

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    • There’s an alternative view of the war, that it was about the fragility of compromise. Part of that drawing of straws is that afterwards, every king present swore to protect the marriage. The battle wasn’t about Helen, it was about Agamemnon using his brother’s marital problems as an excuse to blackmail all the leaders of Greece to go to war under his command. Paris and Helen, and even Helen’s husband, were just pawns in the propaganda campaign that Agamemnon was running.

      Certainly, in every interpretation I’ve heard, Helen was seen as a pawn in a much larger game, and the Helen-Paris love story was never the epic part of it.

      Or, maybe it was, large parts of the poem are missing, maybe there’s a whole section explaining the Helen-Paris romance and we’ve just never read it!

      Like

    • Omg. I’ve to take time to read this but you’re so much like me. I couldn’t agree more on the female not being shown less and the Kshatriya thing not being shown as superior. Way to go!! Glad to meet such a like minded person!
      Main blog on blogspot and YouTube @doveranalyst

      Like

      • So glad you enjoyed it! (assuming you mean me instead of the comment you are responding to. If you mean the comment, I am sure they are glad as well)

        Like

  9. Pingback: Bahubali 2 Detailed Scene by Scene Summary Part 6: Most Romantic Battle Scene Ever – dontcallitbollywood

  10. I was struck by the irony that in B2 Anushka’s brother is all praise for her skills and lets her be and B1, he has turned into the critical person that he is towards Tamannah.

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    • Maybe a good thing he died? I’d hate to see him as a Ramya 2.0 looking over Prabhas 2 and Tamannah’s shoulders as they tried to rule.

      On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 2:10 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Eh, I imagine Anushka would have something to say about that, having endured Ramya herself.

        (But that reminds me: what is going to happen to Kuntala, since Prabhas 2 is the only heir to both Kuntala and Mahishmati? I would hate to think of Kuntala just being absorbed into the Mahishmati Empire, after all Anushka’s early scenes suggesting that they were doing their best to avoid such a fate. Maybe if Prabhas 2 and Tamannah have two kids, they can give Mahishmati to one and Kuntala to another, instead of Ramya’s stupid compete-for-the-throne! plan.)

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        • Since we are rejecting caste/blood in this universe, maybe one of the other members of the rebel band is given Kuntala to rule based on their merit in battle, not their ancestry.

          Or, alternatively, I would love to see Tamannah become the ruler of Kuntala, a small separate kingdom, allied to Mahishmati, ruled by her husband Prabhas 2. Which would also allow Anushka to serve in the role of Queen of Mahishmati, the role that has been denied to her all along. And then Tamannah can either pick her own heir out of the people who serve her, or they can let their kids pick which kingdom they want.

          On Thu, May 18, 2017 at 3:42 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Sadly, this could be true. Also, it looked like the relationship between brother and sister had changed so drastically that I doubt it could go back to what it once was. SO in a way, its good that the brother had died.

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        • I also don’t think the brother would have been able to find a place in “new” Mahishmati. Weird connection to make, but it reminds me of Patiala House. Which I put off watching for years becuase I thought it was a silly rom-com, and then I watched it and loved it because it is really deep! Anyway, I imagine the brother would have been like Rishi Kapoor, so used to fighting that he couldn’t adjust to this new world. And he would have been a shadow over his family, who were ready and able to enjoy the good things they have now.

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  11. Love all these discussion!
    The Amara/Devsena romance was one of my favourite things about this movie. It’s amazing that it had so many used tropes but still felt fresh and exciting.
    I’d just like to point out a tiny bit which may be insignificant but was cute all the same-did anyone notice Prabhas’ change of expression when Anushka asked him and Kattapa if they had no shame, hiding behind women and children?
    It felt like a slight hurt to his male ego if anything.
    This was after the bandit attack right after he sees her for the first time.

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    • Now that you mention it, yes! And also like he kind of wanted her to have a better first impression of him, he thought she was so awesome, he didn’t like that her first reaction to him was “coward!” But then a second later, he kind of started to enjoy the novelty of it.

      On Sat, May 27, 2017 at 4:49 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Ah yes! That’s what it is. So much for a good first impression 😄
        But he used it to his advantage anyway, playing it out as long as he could, sly thing.

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        • Indeed! I think he had a moment of feeling hurt, immediately followed by “hey! If she doesn’t notice me, I can hang around her a lot more!”

          On Sat, May 27, 2017 at 9:24 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  12. Pingback: Bahubali Posts Index – dontcallitbollywood

  13. I was totally fascinated by this song and the entire Kuntala adventure. The Krishna theme is so heavy in it. The green, the pastures, the whites, the blues, the cattle– all Krishna symbols. Which is VERY interesting because Amarendra and Mahendra are both names of Indra (King of the Gods) (maybe that’s why there’s always lightening and rain around them! Indra’s main weapon is lightening.) BUT the characters are associated with Shiv (God of the gods) and the purity, determination associated with Shiv. Kattappa, the mahishmati solider, rouses the cattle herders (krishna’s clan) in the name of bhawani (shiv’s better half). But the entire kuntala adventure is all Krishna imagery and symbolism.

    The song is sung at Krishna puja. Krishna, when worshipped alone, is always a reference to the child krishna and not the older romantic one. But the idol used in the song is a teenaged Krishna so maybe all the women are gopikas? And the song is a lullaby. Kanna is something mothers call their little boys.

    The entire thing is very conflicting in terms of spiritual symbolism but when you think of the playful deception of amarendra it kinda makes sense. They go back to being shiv and shakti in the hallway fight.

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    • Good thoughts…..but I never heard that Krishna worshipped alone is only in child version. Krishna is worshipped in many variations and combinations.

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    • this comment is making me think if perhaps the films are going back to the concept of Gods as being aspects of the same divinity. Prabhas 1 and 2 aren’t locked into worshipping one particular God, or representing one particular God. As rulers, they relate to Indra. In battle, Kali. When achieving great tasks, Shiva. When in love, Krishna.

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  14. First off, lovely to see your analysis of the BB films! This is something I will have to come back to when I have more time so I can read all the posts and then comment with my long, thinky thoughts. 😛

    Coming to this scene:

    And thus another trap for Prabhas! A clever one, not just clever because she knows he is secretly a warrior, but using his hidden weaknesses against him. Anushka pretends to trip while stepping out of her carriage, and Prabhas automatically grabs her waist before she can fall. Not just showing his reflexes and strength, but showing that his emotions have gotten the better of him and he can’t stop himself from saving her even if it reveals his identity. And Anushka ignores that aspect, which she surely is also aware of since she used it as part of her trap, and instead just grabs his hand and raises it up (no feminine modesty about touching his body!) and declares that it is the hand of a “kshastriya”, she will of course recognize it’s touch.

    I’ve also read a lot of commentary – and analyses – that talk about how casteist the film is, with all the emphasis on the “Kshatriya” code. I’m not sure which language you saw the film in, but – as my admittedly spotty memory helps me recall – in the Telugu version of the scene you mentioned above, Devasena’s dialogue mentions “a warrior’s hand/touch” rather than a “Kshatriya touch.”

    In fact, the only place I remember a mention of caste in both films was, of course, in BB1 when Amarendra shares Katappa’s food – and the second instance was in BB2, when Amararendra “motivates” Kumara Varma to fight when the Pindaris attack. Which made sense, in a way – in this case, I agree with what you said: I saw some complaints that this film is caste-ist for how much it talks about the Kshastriya way and Kshastriya code. But I didn’t see it that way at all, to me it was just the “good” part of the castes.

    So when Amarendra talks about what it means to be “Kshatriya”, I read this as “what it means to be a warrior” and the dialogue as a reminder to KV of the duties and responsibilities that come with being a Kshatriya, which is what KV clearly aims to be – it’s evident in the way he presents himself (and even in his private decor – those paintings!) so of course Amarendra knows this – and is encouraging KV to finally step up and be what he has always wanted to be.

    As I recall, when the castes were originally named and described, it was more of an economic thing – they were meant to be a tag for the profession or role that people had in the economy (and society) – it was never meant to be so rigid, and there were movements across castes based on changes to lifestyle and profession.

    Can’t remember where I read this tidbit so I have no sources to quote, but it is something I have heard from practically everyone I know – a lot of practicing Hindus – so I am inclined to believe them.

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    • I can’t remember if I get into the castes more in this section or somewhere else. But what struck me was the interpretation of “caste” was closer to what you would see in any fuedal society. The professions take so long to master, that you are likely to be put on a particular path in early childhood. And once your training is completed, you have a responsibility to share that training for the good of society. Whether that is a Kshatriya killing a wild boar or a cobbler donating shoes to the orphanage. That is how this lesson about Kshatriya feels to me, not a “we are better than them” kind of statement, but more “like anyone else in society, we have certain skills and a responsibility to share them”.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Exactly! What I loved about that scene was that even though Amarendra and Kumara Varma were on such different curves when it came to their skills or application of their natural talents (strength, for one) – that scene wasn’t patronising. Nor was Amarendra scolding him – it felt more like a stern reminder to someone who had strayed off the path, or had forgotten it.

        It was similar to the way he taught Devasena how to shoot three arrows at once, I think – it’s just she is eager to learn (or a natural talent) so it’s more of a quick “Protip! Do this!” while with Kumara Varma he needed to be a little stern to prod KV into action.

        Haven’t read your scene by scene take on the movies – need to get started now!

        I actually came across your “the elements in BB” critique on a BB forum – and I was intrigued, because I had written a fanfic on similar lines (here, if you’ll forgive the shameless plug: http://coffee-clouds.com/elemental-baahubali-fanfic/) 😛

        Have to catch up on all your BB posts! 🙂

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        • In my happy fanfic version, where they are banished to the workers village but don’t die, I project that Prabhas 1 would have naturally founded a school there and insisted that all children get basic self-defense training, and that the talented ones get advanced training. Because it seems like that is part of his “leadership” instincts, to try to teach his skills to others and make sure they all reach their own potential.

          We even see a little of that in “Dandalayyaa”. Along with building strange palm tree slingshots, he is teaching the village bows to wrestle. Which is breaking caste (a little), and also would mean in 20 years he would have built up an army of the best trained fighters in the kingdom, not on purpose, but just because he feels a need to share knowledge.

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:38 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          • I had forgotten about that scene in “Dandalayya”! It’s a little sad then that 20 years later those kids might have fought against AB’s son at Bhalla’s behest, as part of B’s army. 😦

            NOPE. Going with your happy fanfic version, instead! 😛

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          • I choose to think those kids hid their training and lived as peasants, and then were fighting at Prabhas 2’s side in the final battle.

            On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:15 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

      • So I finally remembered what the dialogue is in Telugu – paraphrasing here, but in a literal translation, it was something like, “This hand is one that has used a weapon/sword in battle! As a warrior, will I not recognise a (fellow) warrior’s touch/hand?”

        So this ties in with the discussion in the comments above – I think it was Avani who mentioned it – that Devasena did set a trap for Amarendra to check out his reflexes, and the physical touch of his hand on her waist (a sensitive part of the body!) was enough for her to notice a swordsman’s callouses on his fingers and palm.

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        • I love that it is “fellow warrior”. I think some version I saw had the subtitle more like “as a Kshatriya woman”. As in, she would have felt the touch of her brothers, father, other men in her family. But this is saying that she isn’t recognizing it from having been touched by warriors before, but from having the same calluses on her own hands.

          On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 10:58 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          Liked by 1 person

          • Exactly! Rather than talking about caste at all, that scene instead drew attention to the physicality of Amarendra’s touch – what it felt like, etc. etc. – so SSR could hit two mangoes with one stone, as they say here. 😛

            The line brought attention to the fact that Devasena was really sharp, to notice all these things and realise AB wasn’t who he said he was – and also emphasised that she paid attention to his touch (as a woman) thus setting up her side of the romance.

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          • Two mangoes with one stone makes so much more sense than two birds with one stone. That always bothered me! Because it’s not really possible, unless you like hit the branch they are sitting on her something. But the implication is you are trying to kill the birds with your stone, and how could you throw it hard enough to kill two birds? Killing one bird by throwing a stone is plenty difficult!

            But mangoes makes sense, because you are throwing it at the little piece connecting it to the branch, and you could manage to hit and get twin mangoes, both on the same little piece.

            That’s really all I have to add to this discussion 🙂

            On Thu, Jun 22, 2017 at 12:20 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • I’ve heard that a lot of these casteism accusations originated in the Bollywood-fed Hindi press who effectively ran a smear campaign against BB because they feared a Telugu film might steal their Hindi heartland captive audience. Which BB totally did. Knowing what we know about the Godfather culture in Bollywood, I totally buy this theory.

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      • I can kind of believe that. I can’t believe it from the top down, because Karan was supporting B1 and B2 for a reason, he is smart enough to know that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, as in, ANY big hit Indian film at this point is good for the industry, they have been really struggling so far in 2017, and even 2016 wasn’t good. I am sure all the other big big names, stars and producers and directors, are smart enough and secure enough to know that as well. And I can’t believe it from the bottom up, because the theater owners and so on would feel the same way.

        But I can believe it coming from the middle. Media people who will be out of a job if people stop caring about Hindi gossip, small time producers and distributors who want to make sure their Hindi film gets a good release. They would all have reasons to want to make Bahubali look small time, backward, not something for the “classes” to watch.

        On Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 9:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  15. Devasena clearly says that she can feel the touch of a yodha (warrior’s) hand that is used to handle sword and hence is rough. She doesn’t say about feeling kshatriya’s hand.

    But in front of Sivagami she says a kshatriya girl has right to choose her own husband. Here she didn’t have to specify about being kshatriya. She could have simply said ‘ I have the right’.

    Any way I agree with Margaret that it is only media in the middle making all the nonsense.

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