Okay, I’m gonna try to get through this part, even though it is really frustrating. Because the good people aren’t understanding each other! But at least this opening part has some interesting discussion and character bits. (last part here, you can go back from there)
What’s happened already is that Ramya sent Prabhas away to travel the kingdom while he waited for his coronation. Prabhas met and fell in love with princess Anushka, his jealous brother Rana found out and decided to use this against him. Rana convinced Ramya that he is in love with Anushka and made her swear to marry him to her. Anushka rejected the proposal in an insulting manner, and Ramya overreacted and wanted to go to war over it, but Rana convinced her instead to order Prabhas to capture Anushka and bring her back as prisoner. Meanwhile, back in Anushka’s kingdom, Prabhas fought off an attack by the Pindaris, and then asked for Anushka’s hand in marriage. Only to then receive a message from home that he had to take her prisoner and bring her back to Mahishmati.
I want to re-wind for a second and look at how the Kuntala fighters celebrate their victory. The leaders are all standing on the wall, and then Prabhas floats up on a log to join them. Now, remember how the victor of the Kalakaya was celebrated in the last film. Ramya and Nassar and the Prime Minister and others had been standing far removed observing the action. After it was over, Rana and Prabhas formally came up in front of them, and Ramya made a declaration of victory, and then a formal declaration of which would be her heir. At which point Rana and Prabhas moved forward and took their positions in the group and faced the cheering crowd.
(This is from before the battle, but it is the same kind of idea)
Now, look at Kuntala. First, the rulers weren’t watching from afar. Anushka is clearly the Prabhas/Rana equivalent, the leader of the army and most trained warrior. While her brother is the Ramya equivalent, a good leader, but not the primary war time leader. However, in Kuntala, her brother and even her completely unwarlike sister-in-law are standing there with the rest of them, on the front lines. And, on the flip side of things, in that little group of victorious warriors at the end, a couple of regular line soldiers are mixed in. This is all of a piece with how random traveler Prabhas was not only picked up and taken back to the palace, but was allowed to talk with the royal family. And his kitchen living quarters did not appear unfamiliar to the Princess. In Kuntala, the divisions between court and people are small. And the divisions between ruler and court are similarly small.
Maybe this is mostly because it is a small kingdom, there just aren’t enough people to create the stratification we see in Mahishmati. But then the films, both films, imply that Prabhas 1 was different because he just refused to see that stratification. We saw that over and over again in B1, but the message doesn’t really come through until B2 (one of many reasons that the films feel like they are all of a piece). As a child, he would rather eat with Kattappa and the other soldiers than in the royal pavilion. During the war, he went back to rally the regular troupes when it looked like they were losing. His saving of the POWs was because he saw them as real people, no worse than him. Ramya was so strong about the rules and power and so on, because it was all she had to protect herself. If she stepped off the royal dias, she would become just another woman, easily cut down by her enemies. Well, not easily, but it would be doable. She had to keep that distance, to be revered by the people and feared by the nobles, in order to maintain power and order. Because that was her personality. But Prabhas, he could rule by love. Because he was so good at connecting to people that even with a vast empire like Mahashmati, they could all still love him, just as the common people of Kuntala of Kuntala could love their rulers, who they saw everyday.
The biggest change is that the royal family still interacts like a family, not just as royals. And so when Prabhas arrives, he is greeted by Subbaraju, who embraces him warmly, and Anushka’s brother and his wife, who smile at him and thank him. This is not the proclamation of victory and formal honors that Ramya offered, this is just people being human. And Prabhas is so happy with that, he does well in the formal settings too, but you can see him loosen up and relax in Kuntala, this is the style of ruler he would prefer to be. Whereas Ramya doesn’t exactly enjoy being all formal and untouchable, but I also don’t think she would be comfortable hugging someone in public, like, ever.
And that’s the way Prabhas’ proposal is offered. The king and queen warmly offer to help him in return for how he has helped the kingdom, and he (or Kattappa? I can’t remember), informs them that he is in love with someone and wants their help. It’s not a big huge speech, or anything. It’s exactly like what the boy next door would say if he was talking to the girl next door’s parents. Well, not exactly, they are still talking in olden-timey language, but the posture and the simple manner of speaking, it’s all just a little nervous because they are in love, but not like he is proposing a peace treaty between kingdoms or something huge like that.
(He’s more this kind of nervous. Also, have you checked out my DDLJ posts? New one going up today!)
And it’s not just about a different attitude in Kuntala and Prabhas being accommodating to that, these people have truly come to care for each other. He has built a bond with each of them. Anushka foremost, but after her, Subbaraju who is that kind of little brother he teased and then inspired, their hug has a warmth to it that isn’t just about the battle they have survived together, but all the days that preceded it, the inside jokes and so on. And Anushka’s brother, who sees him as a warrior he respects, not only for his bravery in battle but for his humility over the preceding days. And Anushka’s sister-in-law, who sees him as the man who has finally won over Anushka, not through his bravery just now, but his teasing and playfulness over the past few days. It’s a new bond, but it is there, all of them feeling especially close just now after having stood shoulder to shoulder in battle. Prabhas’ proposal in this setting is completely right and proper, and a simple continuation of what they are all already feeling.
And then the message from Mahishmati arrives and interrupts all of that. That moment after Prabhas reads it, you can kind of see him stealing himself for a unpleasant task. And the task isn’t chaining up Anushka and dragging her away, he would never do something like that. It isn’t even having to confront his mother back home, he assumes that will all work out. No, it’s breaking the social contract and changing the conversation right now, in this moment when they are all so comfortable together. Talking about the empire, about rules and duties and so on, it’s just plain tacky!
More than tacky, it kind of peer pressures him into discovering how unnatural and just plain wrong the way Mahishmati treats people is. Kind of like that moment when your racist uncle is introduced to your college friends, and suddenly all those things you overlooked because “that’s just how he is” become blazingly clear as you see him in this new setting with people you have come to care about. That’s why he has to brace himself, to give up being part of this group, the group that he cares about and also just plain likes, and ally himself with the other group, the group that suddenly doesn’t seem so appealing.
And, just like with your racist uncle, he tries to explain it. He says that there must be a misunderstanding, or a deeper reason. But, see, there isn’t. Anushka sent a terribly insulting response to Ramya’s proposal, but it was a personally insulting response. There is no excuse for her to use the powers of Mahishmati to bring Anushka back, including ordering her son to do it. The lines get blurry because this is a family issue, and she is involving another member of her family with it. But she isn’t sending a note saying “Prabhas, darling son, this girl said something horrible to me, go yell at her”, she is sending a note saying “Prabhas, prince of Mahishmati, I order you to arrest a prisoner of Mahishmati and bring her for judgement”. And there is no deeper meaning or reasoning behind her action, she was personally offended and she immediately reacted by abusing her powers in an inexcusable manner.
(Remember Dabangg? Remember how Salman was a super corrupt cop kind of, but when he fell in love, he didn’t use any of his police powers to pressure Sonakshi? Because it would have been super wrong, to use his public powers for a personal issue. The public only became personal when the “bad guys” made it like that)
And just like that college friend who listens to your excuses and thinks “yeah, I’ve been Black my whole life, I know racism when I hear it, you are deluded and I’m not going to bother arguing”, Anushka doesn’t pay any attention. She’s been living in her little happy kingdom for a long time, dealing with the occasional demands of the rigid Mahishmati Empire, she knows that just because it is a royal order doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a greater justice and wisdom at work, it could just be a random order that they have to follow for no reason besides an administrator’s whims. And she is certainly not going to hand over total control to the Mahishmati empire and trust them to take care of her. Especially someone who won’t even reveal his own identity. Which is why her burning Prabhas’ clothes with fire just kind of makes sense.
Okay, makes sense if we assume that Anushka had felt the armor under his clothes before. Or even just knew he must be wearing it, because a wise soldier would always have armor on before battle (wouldn’t be surprised to learn that she had protection hidden too, under her sari). Armor is expensive, so a traveling soldier like Prabhas is assumed to be would probably be wearing something paid for by his employer, and wearing his employer’s “Label”. Plus, decent chance the style and level of design will tell her how high or low he is in the command. We just saw that with the Pindaris, their leader had a slightly different style armor than the rank and file. So Anushka burning away his clothes is less an attack, and more the equivalent of searching an undercover cop for his ID.
(Nassar! Also, MASSIVE POKKIRI SPOILERS!!! Don’t watch if you haven’t seen)
The discovery that Prabhas isn’t just a random Mahishmati soldier, but the crown prince, that just makes it worse. Well really, Kattappa makes it worse. As soon as Prabhas’ identity is revealed, Kattappa starts proudly declaring all his titles. This is, once again, showing Kattappa’s blind loyalty to Mahishmati. For him, Prabhas as crown prince is a wonderful thing, and they should all bow to him and be honored by his presence. Going back to the “it’s just tacky” problem, Prabhas has been treating everyone as equals, even now he’s been kind of joking with Anushka, saying he won’t tell his name now but will tell her later, trying to keep it light. But Kattappa immediately changes that dynamic. Now, it’s all about everyone bowing before his power and worshiping him, like Kattappa expects.
Except for Anushka. She is the only one who remains standing, even her brother and sister bow. I don’t think this has anything to do with their love story, I think it is her personality. She is not going to stop seeing him as the guy she was flirting with just because Kattappa lists off a bunch of titles. She still respects him for who he is, brave and smart and all of that. But she won’t bow to his title. And she won’t bow to Mahishmati.
I think that is why she draws the line so strongly between “prisoner” and “servant”. She is happy to serve him in the humblest of ways. But no one else. As his prisoner, she could be handed over to anyone, like a piece of baggage. Which, let’s be real, is exactly what Ramya is asking, “Go over here, pick up this princess-shaped package, and then bring it to me in Mahishmati and I will sign for it”. And that’s what Prabhas is promising will not happen. She will remain his, and he will remain hers. No one else can come between them or try to take her away. It seems a simple promise. Even setting aside the “love” part of it, he is a very powerful man, he is promising to take her to Mahishmati under his protection, and then return her home again. Not “baggage”, but more like “temporary ward”. Anushka would feel safe with this promise from anyone she trusted, Prabhas is saying that this is all a miss-understanding and can be worked out, she is just asking that he back up that confidence with a promise that no matter what, she will not be handed over for wrongful judgement. And I believe Prabhas would give this promise to anyone in a similar situation. If Ramya had ordered him to bring in any innocent as prisoner, he would have been sure that Ramya had a deeper meaning and would not actually punish them, and therefore would have been happy to promise his protection to them, knowing that it would not be needed, just for the sake of their peace of mind and dignity.
The love story is cute, the love story is the “hook” that draws us in, but honestly, the way this plays out with Prabhas having to go against Mahishmati/Ramya for someone in his protection, it could have just as easily been Subbaraju. Or Anushka’s brother. Or even Kattappa. Prabhas would give a promise lightly, sure that real justice would always come to them from Ramya. And then if Ramya’s justice was not true, he would have to stand against her. Good chance Ramya has blurred this line before, between Mahishmati justice and her Justice. But Prabhas has been able to excuse it, like he does here, to assume there is a deeper meaning in her actions that he just hasn’t grasped yet. He needed something he couldn’t ignore or excuse to force the issue, make him stand up to one of her decisions. And Anushka provides both that excuse, and that inspiration. Spending time with her, getting her to love him for himself, not his position, I am sure it helped spur him to start thinking for himself a little more.
OK, most of what you’ve said above covers my thoughts exactly! 🙂 Especially the part where you point out how, honestly, Prabhas would have probably done the same thing for anyone else in the same situation, because it’s not so much True Love that prompts him as much his innate belief in protecting innocents. (And I’m impressed he picked that one up growing up in ridiculous Guilty-Until-Proven-Innocent Mahishmati.) I could just as easily see the whole thing playing out – down to him challenging Ramya and telling her it was wrong to promise a woman’s hand to her son without asking her, and even to losing the throne over backing down – over someone who wasn’t Anushka, just some other princess who Rana demanded and who didn’t want to marry him.
But at the same time, his promise is coded so strongly as marriage vows that I don’t know if we can entirely ignore that part of it (and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the actual wedding ceremony we see later literally lasts ten seconds! This is where the “real” relationship between them is sealed) . And I think what’s interesting is that it’s framed entirely as Prabhas promising to be Anushka’s until his dying day, complete with bowing his head, without her having to echo the same thing. Not that she doesn’t reciprocate – she states her love for him clearly, as well as her willingness to go anywhere and do anything for him just before – but Anushka won’t give up her self-soverignity and agency, not out of fear of Mahishmati or love for Prabhas, and that’s portrayed as absolutely fine. (Which is a pet peeve I have with the Hindi translation of Hamsa Naava – one of the final lines is “Devasena is your prisoner [ of love]” and that misses the point so badly that it makes me shudder.) When we see Devasena give him her hand, she holds it out in the sense of making an oath between equals, not the dainty lady-bestowing-her-hand-in-marriage pose. Given that, really, after this scene and the next, all we have is Hamsa Naava before the focus turns to them against everyone else in Mahishmati, I think it really is important for it to go here and establish their relationship so the plot can move on!
-I was thinking something similar, that if Prabhas had been in the throne room seeing any kind of injustice like this, would he have spoken out? But then, he must have seen an injustice like this at some point, right? Some accused pickpocket who was clearly framed, or something? I wonder if it was a combination of Ramya going a little bit more over the line than usual, Anushka being the kind of person who would speak up and point out injustice in a way Prabhas couldn’t ignore, and that “finding himself” trip that let him see how things work outside the throne room. But replace Anushka with an old woman being thrown out of her home because she couldn’t pay rent, have the old woman give a speech about how laws are supposed to protect the powerless not the powerful, and have Ramya order the guards to chain her for the insult, and I bet Prabhas would have done the same thing.
-I think you are right, I think it’s that there are two parts to the promise. The part that actually causes all the trouble is the simple promise that she will not be disrespected, he would have made that same promise to anyone in a similar situation. But then he added on the bigger promise, and that was the marriage ceremony pre-marriage ceremony. Which I think was more about leaving Kuntala and taking her home to meet his mother more than any of the details of it. It was important for him to clarify to her, and her to clarify to him, that they were really really committed. Before they returned to the “real world”.
I completely agree about Anushka not making a similar promise. And I think that goes back to the idea of Anushka being the soul of the film. She represents integrity and wisdom and all those things. Prabhas is serving her, letting her direct him, because she has a better sense of direction in that way. And Anushka would never give such a promise, because she is so sure that her way is correct. Not out of arrogance, but because she knows herself, and knows that she can see clearly what could and should happen. I mean, we see that back in B1, Kattappa tries to free her, and she turns on him and basically predicts the entire plot of the film, because she knows with a certainty what should be done.
– Yeah, I think it goes back to what we said in the first few posts, this is not a story about Anushka tragically coming between Ramya and Prabhas, but instead there were cracks in the latter two’s relationship that would have come to light eventually, or at least would have left Prabhas feeling vaguely unfulfilled with what he was doing. And yeah, I’m amazed that something like this never happened before! Though maybe it was a combo of the three factors you mention, and the fact that he is not doing a lot of the day to day ruling stuff yet (remember in the first song, where he’s staying up taking care of Ramya instead of talking to people, and then sleeping in her lap while she governs?)! She seems to just call him in for the major crises, like there’s a traitor I need you to capture or an army attaching, so maybe this was just the first thing on that scale that had happened?
– I like the two parts of the promise idea : that’s a much better way of saying what I meant, that there’s the component of Prabhas’ basic decency but also the element of finalizing their relationship.
– And you’re right, Anushka has an uncanny ability to always be right, even after being tortured. Though I figured her refusing to leave with Kattappa was also because she didn’t trust him: she had forgiven him, yes, and understood why he did what he did, but he had already gone against what was right to follow orders once. I wouldn’t trust him to continue to protect her if Rana found them, especially not when even during the final battle, Nasser is almost able to reel him in before the loophole (and that doesn’t exist yet to Kattappa! His loyalty is to Rana not Anushka.) I wondered if she wasn’t also being kind enough not to point that out, aside from the other Doylist reasons for her not to go.
-I can see that, Prabhas not really being involved before. Even the posture of the scene (coming up in the next bit) says that. Ramya is giving judgement from her throne, and Prabhas is just sort of standing nearby watching. Really just observing and listening. I could see him having a hard time changing from the “student” to “doer” roles. Maybe he had heard judgements he disagreed with before, but waited for Ramya to explain why she did it in private instead of in public. And probably almost all those judgements really did have good and Dharma-ful reasons behind them, which would be why he lets things go and assumes there is a good reason now too. But this is the first time that he has seen a flawed judgement, and knows absolutely that there is no hidden reason to excuse it. And that he has a responsibility to do something about it. Really, now that I think about it, the exact same scene would have played out the same way at his first judgement as king. Ramya would have tried to take the lead, and he would have felt a responsibility, as the official ruler, to interfere when he disagreed. With the difference being that this time he would have been the one in authority deciding what should happen to Ramya instead of the other way around.
-I think Anushka also saw that her captivity had a purpose. Again, going back to Sita, it wasn’t just about waiting for Prabhas 2, it was about inspiring the people, and inspiring Prabhas 2 once he arrived. To escape in a less spectacular way, it would be a waste. It had to be something epic to make her suffering matter. You know?
I suppose in a way Prabhas1 was ‘inspired’ to go against this particular instance of Ramya’s injustice because he was more emotionally invested. The other incidents might have been explained away by Ramya in private as you have mentioned but this seems to be the one time that he sort of ‘wants’ something for himself. And I think that it was easier for him to appreciate Anushka better because he was out of Mahishmati. I wonder if he would have had a chance to know her this well if he had met her in Mahishmati – probably not.
I think it’s that emotional investment that makes him see clearly in this case. The overall argument of the films could be seen as “logic clouds judgement, thinking from the heart clarifies it”. Ramya has been twisted by the laws and logical arguments around, has lost track of that sense of Dharma/true justice/gut feeling. Prabhas can ignore his gut feeling and go along with Ramya’s judgement over and over again. But in this case, he just can’t. Does that make sense?
Yes , it does. It was kind of what I was getting at as well but I suppose it got lost in translation.
I think it was more about inspiring Prabhas 2 than the people, honestly: the one thing we see with the citizens of Mahishmati is that they are kind of passive, and as pointed out below, dont seemed to have cared enough about her imprisonment to di anything about it for 25 years (though I’d disagree that it’s because it’s due to a man v woman–the only one they loved with an intensity to break through their passivity was Prabhas 1 individually, with Prabhas 2 just benefiting from having the same face.)
But on the subject, can anyone clear this up for me: why in the world was Anushka’s “official” crime adultery? We don’t see anything that could have been even used to hint in that direction, and it just makes Rana look stupid for imprisoning her under clearly false pretenses. Especially when, in-universe, it would have made way more sense to pin the blame for Ramya’s murder on Anushka – He could have said she was distraught with grief at her husbands death and so, master archer that she is, shot Ramya in the back. It would also explain why the citizens didn’t free her: it would have been just plausible enough to them for them to believe it
I missed that! It was “adultery”? It only makes sense if they think of her falling in love with Prabhas as adultery, because she was “engaged” to Rana.
Devasena’s “crime” was not adultery, nor even anything else that was specified. I think you are referring to Bhallaladeva’s dialogue from Part 1, or actually his son’s, where he’s just generally hurling abuses at her, without knowing anything (since it all happened before he was born). As part of those abuses, he calls her a “whore”, but this is not meant as any official charge. Bhallaladeva does say, “You said no to me, and wanted only him”, but this applies to the fact that she turned down his marriage proposal and married Amarendra instead. There was never any legal punishment for adultery in Hindu dharma.
Rana’s son mentions it when he goes to recapture her after Prabhas 2 rescued her. IIRC, he says something along the lines of “no wonder you were sentenced for adultery, old woman, you run off with every man you see.” (
Yes, that’s what I was referring to as his (Bhadra’s) generally hurling abuses at her. It comes in the middle of a stream of abuses.
Oh, that makes sense! Thank you, now I can move on from being confused over that and just imagine The “official” story was that Rana did frame her for Ramya’s death, but we never hear about it because it was an open secret that it was untrue.
“devasena is your prisoner of love” occurs in Tamil lyrics also and it seemed completely intentional. But also atypical for Devasena’s character and even out of character for Rajamouli who suddenly channelised his innner “shankar” – A director who wants to impose his vision on the characters, story & audience.
Rajamouli’s approach elsewhere has been to expound his vision thru the characters & their interplay rather than directly imposing his views on audience – except for this song.
Even the use of visuals – very “arresting” visuals – that made it worth the ticket price for this song alone, seem to indicate that the director is speaking directly ro audience & sending out a message: something irreversible is happening here, there is no going back after this for Devasena, the story & the audience. Maybe is that what the flag mast breaking at the end indicates?
From devasena’s point of view, it is a dream sequence maybe her losing control momentarily is justified because this is a dream and she will soon be back to reality and in control of herself.
The final message seems to be that Devasena has made a choice. She has willingly chosen to seal her fate to that of Bahubali’s and she can never be as independent as she was before?
Thank you for pointing out that it’s also in the Tamil version – I must have tuned that out in the theater because I was so busy looking at the pretty visuals. But I interpreted more as a mutual dream sequence rather than only Anushka’s, though. The camera in the set up musical intro focuses so closely on both of them, that I assumed their mutual dream sequence was just another sign of how like-minded they were!
If we look at the traditional Hindu gods, the three-moorthys, then the special power of each god is symbolised by their respective wives.
If we take that bahubali is depicted as an avatar of god, then his special power is justice which is completed when his union is sealed with Devasena (in this song)
Oh, I love that interpretation! Very elegant.
On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 9:47 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I like your idea of the final message. And that is directly related to the amazing visuals. She is gaining all this magic and wonder and happiness from being in love. But losing the indepedence she has always had before. To me it read not as a man-woman thing, like she isn’t less independent because she is a woman in love, but just because she is a person in love. Prabhas already made the same kind of realization in the last scene, that his falling for Anushka doesn’t mean he just grafts her on to his own ambitions and life, he is giving up a measure of control by sharing his life with someone else.
Also, yay! Someone else who has issues with Shankar! I loved Boys and Jeans (with some reservations), did not like Indian, and finally watched Robot and just don’t get all the fuss.
Robot was a science fiction film, and dealt very creditably with several issues that are staples of the genre. One of the reasons I found it so wonderful was precisely because it showed a knowledge of the current state of world science fiction (in a way that Hollywood seldom manages). This is not surprising when you learn (as I did) that the screenwriter was a well known author of about 40 novels, and had written many science fiction novels as well as other types. If you were looking primarily at the romance angle (since that’s what is of most interest to you), you would have been less engaged.
That’s interesting. It did deal a lot with Asimov’s 3 Laws, although in a way that reminded me a bit too much of I, Robot.
On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 11:30 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Yes, the discussion of Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics was one of the highlights of the film for me. 🙂
The story collection “I, Robot”, is *all about the application of the three laws*, so it’s kind of hard to make a film out of the book without mentioning the laws (In each story, one loophole of a law is discovered, leading to problems, which then have to be solved by means of the other laws). I never watched the movie, given the terrible way “The Bicentennial Man” was adapted.
I get what you are saying. When amarendra makes promise to Devasena, that he would protect her at all costs, he risks his future but gains devasena. So when devasena gets on the boat is the moment when she trusts amarendra completely. She gains all the magic and wonder of love but loses a bit of her independence.
– on shankar, in general, his movies are entertaining escapist packages but there are bits&parts that stand out in every movie as unagreeable and there is a pattern to this which exposes his control freak & regressive tendencies.
Btw Shankar has also produced movies for other directors. Small budget experimental themes such as Veyil directed by Vasantha Balan.
The two most memorable aspects of jeans movie are A R Rahman’s joyous music (Columbus, Columbus find me an island for my holidays…) and Nasser’s double act cameo in the flashback. Nasser really manages to differentiate the two brothers in characterisation & body language and that is why his one dimensional charecterisation in Baahubali is disappointing.
Regarding Anushka’s burning of Prabhas’ clothes; just before burning, Anushka points her sword at Prabhas’ chest and there is a ‘clunk’ sound of metal hitting metal. After that, she burns his clothes to see the armour underneath.
Good catch! Thank you
Your posting rate is so fast that I can’t keep up. So I’ll just point one out thing.
You keep saying (here and in the last post) that Ramya has elevated a personal insult into an insult to the kingdom. There are two arguments against this. First, in the days of kings and kingdoms, there was no separation between the “personal” and the “kingly.” That’s why lese majeste was a capital offense (sorry, can’t put in the proper accents). Aside from that, in her answer Anushka has insulted not just Ramya and Rana, but indeed the entire kingdom of Mahishmati. She explicitly says to the ambassador, “Is it just you and your queen who are so arrogant, or are all the people of Mahishmati just as hateful?” And goes on from there. She has insulted Ramya and Rana not as people but as derelict in their royal duties. So I don’t think it was any surprise that Ramya wanted to send an army to smash the Kuntala kingdom as her first reaction. And this, by the way, is definitely an error and wrong judgement on Anushka’s part. As the princess of the reigning family, she should have been aware how her words will affect the people of her kingdom — in this case, they would have been subject to the devastation of war because Anushka gives in to her temper and impulse — not a good trait at all, especially for one in the ruling class.
I had one question after my third viewing about Devasena’s long and public captivity. If the people were so behind Amarendra and so ready to revolt on his behalf (as Ramya believed), how could they accept seeing Devasena tortured in front of their eyes for so many years, without even trying to do anything about it? No matter how much they were oppressed, it would have taken at least a few days for Bhallaldadeva to implement those oppressive measures, so why didn’t they act? Seems inconsistent. The other interpretation is that, without their prince or his designated successor (another prince) there, they don’t have any motive to rebel. Which means they need a man to rally behind, and a woman won’t do, no matter how beloved. Not a good message.
My understanding from Bahubali 1 is that the Kunthala rebels (from their hideouts in the mountain caves) are the ones waging some kind of guerilla warfare on Mahishathi to rescue devasena and Avantika is sent with a specific mission to rescue devasena which was in turn outsourced to bahubali Jr aka shivudu.
Yes, but I’m asking what happened to the people of Mahishmati itself, who were so behind Amarendra?
Re: your first point, I’d actually argue that Anushka is replying in kind to a dismissive and insulting proposal- basically Ramya doesn’t just mix personal and political, by not even identifying the son she wants Anushka to marry she completely takes the personal out of it and demands Anushka as a tribute, not a person. And politically too you could argue that it’s not unwise for Anushka to reply so firmly: yes, she runs the risk of war but Kuntala is on the border of Mahishmati, and Ramya is already treating them as a vassal rather than an independent state. By making it clear that neither she nor Kuntala is going to buckle down to Mahishmati, Anushka could be seen as making sure her country preserves what little power it has instead of being into the empire. (Not that I think Anushka doesn’t have her moments of letting her righteous indignation and superior judgment get the better of her common/political sense, like the baby shower scene. I’m just not sure this scend is one of them.)
For your last point, what I wonder about, and hope will be covered in the “Expanded universe” of the books and all, is everything that happened in the past 25 years that we don’t hear about. There could have been a series of revolts, all of them put down viciously by Rana until the people had no more hope. There could have been multiple attempts to rescue Devasena. She could have met secretly with rebel leaders and helped them with battle plans. But none of it worked. We already know that at least Tamannah’s group has had plan after plan after plan, all of which failed. And has been fighting their guerrilla war with minimal success. Maybe there are other groups like that all over the kingdom, but they needed someone to pull them all together.
It’s also clear in the final battle that Rana is destroying himself. He kills thousands of his own men with those arrows sent for Prabhas. And his lawnmower chariot. And he focuses on the one-on-one fight with Prabhas instead of a more strategic battle tactic. So I think maybe it really did need to wait for Prabhas, not for him to inspire the people, but for him to make Rana lose all faculties and destroy himself.
Yes, for Bhallaladeva it was very much a personal fight, because he was really fighting against Bahubali — both versions of him. As he himself says in the final fight with Mahendra, he always regretted that he couldn’t kill Amarendra himself, and now, with Mahendra looking exactly like him, he’ll finally get that pleasure of killing him with his own hands.
If we think about it, when Prabhas 1 and Anushka were expelled from the palace, the nobles inside the throne room felt bad but did not revolt against Ramya/Rana. Same play during Anushka’s long captivity I suppose. They had a new king (Prabhas 2) but he was presumed dead and that combined with Rana’s tyranny must have led them to suffer silently (whoever dared to openly oppose must have been killed by Rana to make an example). Mahismati people need some leader to channel their angst against Mahismati rulers.
and we are also assuming that everything went bad very slowly. For the audience, we saw Rana’s psychotic break and new he was nuttier than a fruitcake. But the rest of Mahishmati could have had some reasonable explanation for what happened to Ramya and Prabhas 1 and Prabhas 2, and just kind of plugged along with slightly higher taxes and a larger army. It was only slowly that things got worse and worse.
On Sun, May 28, 2017 at 10:13 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
BTW, I’m just making some purchases from the official Bahubali merchandise store, and it occurred to me to wonder if you knew about it. If your sister hasn’t left India, maybe she could buy some of that stuff for you.
YES! YES YES YES YES YES!!!! I want ALL THE STUFF!!!!! Send me the link!
And thank you!
On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 9:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Ha ha, “all the stuff” will certainly exceed her baggage allowance. But basically, they have a set of licensed images which have been put on various products. So you can choose whichever of those you want. Now they also have a set of “Bollywood” fashion attire, which is much more pricey, and definitely won’t look as good on me as it does on the models. Anyway, here’s the link:
Yay! Thank you!
On Thu, May 11, 2017 at 9:56 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
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“Ramya was so strong about the rules and power and so on, because it was all she had to protect herself. If she stepped off the royal dias, she would become just another woman, easily cut down by her enemies.”
Is Sivagami shown to be of royal blood in The Rise of Sivagami?
No, she is born to a leading politician aristocrat type, who is then wrongfully branded a traitor leading her to hate the royal family.
I am still leaning towards not considering the book to be “canon”, that is, not necessarily the one true backstory for these characters. But no matter what backstory you give her, she is still an in-law, not part of the royal family of Mahishmati. I think the attitude of the other characters towards her in the films make it clear that she isn’t a cousin/daughter-in-law, but a true outsider who married into the family. Which means she has no real right to rule anything on behalf of anyone, certainly no more than her husband does. And if her husband threw her out of the family, she would be nothing.
Agreed that she would be nothing if she weren’t Rajamata. And that’s where Amarendra is unique because he continues to be a king despite being stripped of titles. I do feel the book is part of the canon being a part of the official trilogy. Sivagami’s character totally feel like she belongs to an aristocratic family.
I didn’t get the outsider-because-married-in bit. Do you mean like non-royal born? The way Kattappa, Bajjala and Bhallala and crown loyalists see her, she seems very much a part of the RF. And Kattappa would never side with anyone who isn’t synonymous with the crown. Which characters did you feel gave her that attitude?
Not characters, just the reality of the situation. If Nassar every officially threw her out, she would have no standing. It’s a very tenuous position. The force of her personality makes everyone accept it, but the reality is that she is only a royal by marriage, and the man she is married to hates her.
But that’s the entire thing. Bajjala desperately wanted to be king since even before Vikramadeva died. After his death, he could have easily assumed power. He could have assumed power by disowning/killing Sivagami at any point in the 25 years since the death of Amarendra’s father. But he doesn’t have any support and any power or a title by himself so he couldn’t.
Even after his child is grown up, he takes the proposal of killing Sivagami to him. He cant make that kind of decision for himself. He’s got no power at all. Sivagami’s power and title is “Queen Mother” not “Queen”. She would be that till her grandchild assumes power and her daughter-in-law is Queen Mother. Maybe that is why we don’t see Bhallala’s wife.
We already know the crown isn’t passed down from father to son automatically in Mahishmati. Vikramadeva was chosen despite an older brother being there. Sivagami doesn’t declare her own child king (assumed to be born around 3-4 months before Amarendra) and the throne essentially lies empty for those 3-4 months without a declared heir. She only takes the position of regent AFTER the birth of Amarendra and that too without declaring either child heir apparent. Kattappa supports her. And that’s key. Kattappa is loyal to the crown. Not individuals. And the Queen Mother, at that time, is Sivagami. She is synonymous with the crown.
After the death of Bahubali, she arbitrarily strips Bhallala of power and declares baby Mahendra king. ARBITRARILY. The throne wasn’t empty at the time. There was no immediate NEED for a new king. And the decision also made Devasena the new Queen Mother (and possibly reagent).
With Bhallala in power, Sivagami was still Queen Mother. in Mahishmati laws, the Queen Mother does have that kind of power. When Bhallala and Bajjala plot Bahubali’s murder, they say the order needs to come from the Queen Mother as the King doesn’t have jurisdiction.
I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I disagree that Sivagami would be nothing without Bajjala. She produced an heir and that secured her position in Mahishmati law through motherhood, not just marriage.
Fascinating point! About her position as Queen Mother, not just “daughter-in-law”. Your point about Devasena inheriting that position is really interesting too. Ramya makes Bahubali 2 king right after touching Devasena’s feet and admitting her superiority. So declaring the baby king isn’t just about the baby, it is about giving Devasena all the power in the kingdom instead of her while this baby grows up.