This is the section of the movie it is kind of hard for me to write about because it is TOO SAD. And also, too real. Which is a sign of what a good film this is, it’s set in a fantastical setting with swords and elephants and so on, but it manages to get right at human emotions I recognize. (part 10 here, you can go backwards from there.)
We are now at the interval, which means I don’t really have to give a lot of background because most of the stuff from the first half is resolved and done with. Prabhas fell in love with Anushka and when the Queen mother ordered her chained and forced to kneel for speaking her mind, Prabhas defended her. The Queen mother, egged on by her husband and son, saw this as an act of rebellion against her and the laws of Mahishmati. When Prabhas refused to give way, she decided that his mind had been turned by Anushka and she could no longer trust him, and therefore took away his kingship and gave it to her son Rana instead.
In my last two sections, I went into this scene in exhaustive detail from each perspective. The end conclusion is that this was not a big misunderstanding with tragic consequences, this was more of an inevitable tragedy kind of thing. For 25 years, Ramya had been getting more and more rigid, and more and more confident that her way was the only right way. It was inevitable that Prabhas, with his greater sense of empathy and instinct to do the right thing no matter what the rules said, with his ability to think outside the box, would conflict with her at some point. Especially once Anushka entered his life, someone he loved and respected partly because her fearless ability to see and speak the truth. Yes, Ramya had made a vow to marry Rana to Anushka, and Prabhas had made a vow to serve and protect Anushka, and those two vows are now in conflict. But it’s not really about that, it is about the perspective and personality that lead them to make those vows, Prabhas ready to trust that Anushka is an innocent and therefore should not be harmed, and Ramya ready to trust in her own power to make anything happen, even forcing a young woman to marry her son. Just like Prabhas puts it here, this is “law” versus “Dharma”. Ramya believes in law as a source of order and power, Prabhas believes that all laws must bow to Dharma, to a greater sense of right and wrong. This conflict was coming for a while.
(Can you picture gentle Bahubali sitting on a golden throne angrily issuing edicts? No, he would never have been that kind of ruler)
The only person I haven’t discussed in full yet is Rana. He is standing there saying nothing this whole time. All he does is put his hand on his father’s shoulder to hold him down, and then lift it at just the right moment. Avani remembered in the comments that Rana is holding his father until after Prabhas has spoken and officially agreed with Anushka and told Ramya she is wrong. Because Rana couldn’t be sure about everything in this scene, but he could be sure of Prabhas. He knew that Prabhas would say something, if they gave him a chance, and it would be aggressive and against Ramya.
We talked last time about how the movements indicate characters’ minds. Anushka and Prabhas are still and firm in their beliefs. Ramya starts out that way, but as she is being driven to different decisions, believing Anushka to be rebelling, believing Prabhas to be rebelling, believing she has the right to force Anushka to marry, she starts pacing and moving about. Nassar, of course, is always moving like that, physically showing us the way his mind constantly treads the same patterns instead of finding a thought and staying with it. But Rana in this scene is the most motionless of all. Even Anushka and Prabhas have slight movements. Prabhas literally goes from his mother’s side to his loves. Anushka starts to go to him, goes back to the center, and waits for him to come to her. Rana just stands in one place, the whole time. He is the only one whose desires do not change. He wanted the throne and saw this potentially nasty confrontation as a way to get it, and that’s what happened.
(You know there are no Bahubali themed chess sets available yet? How is this possible! It’s the perfect metaphor for the film)
Rana also never really speaks. He hardly speaks in this whole first half of the film. He arranges for others to speak for him, to maneuver the pieces on the board into the places he wants around him, while he stays still. Essentially, his tactic is to clear a path rather than to break a path. He is always there, in place as heir number 2. He needs his father to get behind him and push, and his mother to step aside, and Prabhas to step back, and then he can sail forward in a nice easy straight line right to the goal. If he tried to maneuver and move himself, those other pieces would be alerted and come forward to block him. This is going to be a big deal in the second half when, finally, Rana does start talking and telling us what he wants.
Okay, I think that’s it for this very depressing scene in which good people with different mindsets come into conflict. Prabhas has lost his position as crown prince and it has been given to Rana. Oh no! One more thing. Notice that this isn’t really “that bad”, at least from a family dynamics perspective. Anushka and Prabhas aren’t arrested or even thrown out of the palace. Prabhas and Rana were always going to have the top two jobs in the kingdom, it’s just that their places have been switched. There is no real loss of face for Prabhas, he is still a prince and still second in command in the palace. Ramya has just declared that she can’t trust him with the ultimate power and therefore is reversing her decision, that’s all. And this is also back when no one really knew what Rana was like. He was brave and intelligent and trained by Ramya, and had an equal claim to the throne as Prabhas. Prabhas might have had a slight edge for Ramya before because she saw his caring for the people as a plus, but now he has lost that edge so she is back to her second choice. It could all be fine, just a sort of awkward thing where the commander of the army is more beloved than the ruler, but the ruler does an okay job too and it all works out.
It’s the next scene where the true horror begins, both onscreen and off-screen inside my little head. Someone in the comments, probably Avani because she says all the smart stuff, pointed out that it’s not just about Rana being crowned and then Prabhas being announced as commander and getting so much more applause, it’s that all the symbols of kingship naturally go to him. the umbrella falls from Rana’s throne towards Prabhas, the turmeric falls as well, and the elephants roar. He isn’t just more popular, there are so many signs and omens that he should be king and this is a terrible mistake.
Backing up a second, the structure of this scene is fascinating for what it tells us about Mahishmati. And Prabhas. Rana arrives in a huge chariot, with Prabhas walking in front of him. Prabhas has no shame, in fact he has pride. Clearly his attitude is that serving Mahishmati in any way, whether as king or as general, is an honor and he is proud and happy to take it. But also, Rana’s journey to the dias is through the troops, the massive massive troops. Not through the people. He is not being crowned by and for the merchants and nobles, or the peasants in the crowd, but by this massive army surrounding them. Those are the ones who swear their allegiance. It tells you something about where Mahishmati sees its power emanating from.
Okay, now the tricky part. Like I said, this is a fantasy film, a fairy tale. And last year I would have watched it as a fantasy fairy tale. But this year, it really gets to me, because this isn’t a fantasy for me. The unjust ruler being crowned despite the passionate outcries of the people, the feeling that we want someone to do something and those in power are just not listening, that huge sense of just “wrong” and that it is only going to get “wronger” until you want to cry and scream and vomit, oh boy did Rajamouli capture that!
(Days of protests all over America immediately following the election. Which made no difference at all, because our leaders don’t care to listen to us, thus my issues with Ramya being so sure she is right)
I know I’m not unique in having this experience in real life, in fact I was probably more unique before I had it. As you mature and care more about the world, there will be a time when a power shift in your national government, or state, or local, or heck, even in your office, is just so WRONG that it makes you want to cry out in horror. But I am right in the throes of that experience for the first time in my life, and it made this section, really the whole second half of the movie, an incredibly emotion experience for me. No joke, I had to walk out of the theater for 20 minutes last time I saw it, because it was too real.
In Indian film history, this kind of dealing with a public issue in a fantastical setting is common. Sikander, for instance, all the way back in 1944, was mostly a historical film about Alexander the Great coming to India. But the main thrust of the second half was talking about soldiers, far from home, forced to fight for a cause they didn’t understand, and at what point did they have a right to protest. It was hugely popular in India, and the British did not allow it to be shown to any Indian troops. Because while the setting was different and the costumes were strange and the love story was sweet, ultimately it was trying to incite mutiny in the troops.
Sholay, Deewar, a whole cycle of 1970s films are seen as dealing with the issues brought up by The Emergency. Not the literal details of it, but the questions of when ultimate power is needed and when it is not, what is the role of the state, what is the role of law. Is it the outcasts of society, the “outlaws”, who can save us from fear and tyranny?
All film industries/popular culture does this to some degree. Because it is popular culture, the idea is that it captures what is popular, what the people are feeling and thinking about at that moment. In America, there is discussion of how Watergate affected the 1970s film industry with more and more outsider anti-heroes and distrust for authority and conspiracy kind of plots, for instance. But Indian film, I think, does it a little bit more. Because it started during colonialism, when the filmmakers were on the forefront of the anti-British movements and were consciously using their platform to help, as much as they could through the censorship laws. I mean, heck! That’s why India has censorship laws in the first place! The British were afraid of what film could do, and the new Indian government kept the same rules in place. And it’s also because, as I have said over and over again, Indian films try to evoke emotions. They can avoid the political realities of a situation, the stuff that would get them censored, and instead focus on working through the underlying feelings of it.
Telugu and Tamil films are not my area, but even I know that those industries have a special relationship to politics. I don’t know if Rajamouli had a particular message in this film, or if it was just a generalized “wrong rule is bad, good rule is good” kind of idea. But as someone trained in the Telugu industry, he would have a natural instinct for making broad social statements on film, for knowing just how to reach in and connect with the audience on a level related to the running of the state and society. Which is why I can’t watch this bit.
(Yes, my main source for politics/film in Tamil and Telugu films is Iruvar.)
Pulling it back from the broader themes and making it personal again, this is also the moment when, finally, we begin to get a glimpse inside Rana’s head. I talked in my review of Bahubali 1 about how going into this film Rana is actually the more interesting character. In B1, Prabhas was the perfect noble prince hero start to finish. He didn’t really change. And I wasn’t expecting him to change in anyway in B2, obviously he was still going to be the noble hero. But Rana had a bit of a journey, from a guy joking with his brother to a guy ready to kill his brother. And I was excited to see that. And we really didn’t get to see that! At least, not until now.
Rana has one moment when he reveals his feelings, early on after Ramya has tried to pacify him with gifts to make up for her guilt in choosing Prabhas. He says all the right things, that he doesn’t care, it’s fine, and then he walks away and his face changes and you can tell that he really really does care and it really really isn’t fine. And maybe says something to himself at this moment too, I don’t remember. If he does, it isn’t a clear mission statement kind of thing, it just lets us know that he has a bitterness inside which he is hiding from everyone.
In this scene, as the crowd is cheering for Prabhas, and the umbrella falls from his throne, he stays still. Again, his purpose is clear, he wants the throne, he has the throne. But his hand grabs the arm and grips tight and his eyes kind of narrow. And you can see the anger inside, that now he has the thing he wants, and it doesn’t matter, because he doesn’t really “have” it. He can hold the throne in his hand, but he can’t hold the people.
This scene also clearly evokes the Interval scene of B1 and retrospectively makes sense of it. When I was watching B1, that interval moment felt really off. The more obvious interval was when Prabhas 2 was saying good-bye to Tamannah, or when Kattappa slide to kneel before him. Those are natural break points in the story, the beginning of a new chapter. The crowd cheering for Bahubali, that is right in the middle of a storyline. It felt like Rajamouli just picked a random point half way through the film, and created a situation that would send the audience out to get popcorn on a high and with a curiosity to see what happened next just for a tidy interval.
But now it all comes together. It felt like an awkward interval moment in the first one because it wasn’t a huge thing for Prabhas 2, our hero. But what the audience didn’t know yet was that it was a huge thing for Rana, our villain. And Rana is the one actually driving the narrative, not Prabhas 1 or 2. That moment in the first one was the first time Rana became aware that there might be a threat in his kingdom. The first time he suddenly sensed his brother’s presence and all those old feelings of jealousy and bitterness came rushing back.
And in this film, this moment now is the birth of those feelings. Before, Rana thought all he desired was the throne. He was willing to kill his brother to get it (remember the rope cutting scene in B1), but there was no underlying hatred necessarily. But now there is. Now he is beginning to see that Prabhas isn’t just a rival who has stolen his birthright, but someone who has something he doesn’t, who can inspire people and make them love him in a way he can’t. And that’s what gives him a new goal, not the throne and the crown, but the love of the people. And the quest for that love, that is what drives him from this moment, until the Interval moment in B1 (if we are looking at things chronologically). That’s why he is building the huge golden statue in the first place, to try to make the people respect him. But when he hears the chants of “Bahubali”, his focus shifts from winning over the people, a competition between himself and himself, to defeating Prabhas, again.
Your information/analysis is very accurate about Telugu/Tamil movies and connection with politics. Politicians who became rich tend to invest in film industry. Many actors of these two languages became successful in political field too. Some rose to the positions of Chief Ministers (equivalent of state governors in USA).
I really don’t know much about this industry, but that was my impression. Glad to know it was accurate!
After Rana departs from Ramya he doesn’t say anything. He was trying to cover bitterness and hence his face turns from artificial smile to anger.
It’s really impressive that I was able to figure out exactly what he was feeling as though there was a voice over. Great acting from Rana.
I just want to sound a caution to your media studies mind. 🙂 Telugu films were never as political as Tamil films. True, there were the occasional films that highlighted certain political beliefs of the director or male star (usually things like, poor people deserve respect, or some other vaguely communistic philosophy), but they didn’t explicitly get into political statements, except for supporting the government line. So, they would have films on why caste discrimination is bad, but that was a social issue, not a political one. On the other hand, during the height of the “family planning” campaign, the government motto of “two or three is enough” was worked into what seemed like every film and every song. So the usual random men vs. women party songs or wedding songs would suddenly have a line where the hero or heroine sings out that it’s better to limit your family to two or three children. I’ll bet most of the audience tuned those messages out. 🙂 But for instance, there was never really any protests on screen against the draconian sterilization program under Indira Gandhi’s Emergency.
Much earlier, in another post when you were just getting into Telugu and Tamil films, you made this same argument, and tried to equate the whole “folkloric” tradition in Telugu films as disguised pleas against oppression of the lower classes. You even tried to figure out what the political message behind Bahubali 1 was, because you were sure there was one. I’m sorry to tell you that there is no such thing. All those folkloric films were firmly based on either existing folk tales, or stories strongly inspired by them (in the way that Bahubali is inspired by the Mahabharata, without actually being a depiction of it). Rajamouli, especially, from all I can understand from his films and interviews, really lives in his own imaginary worlds (not unlike Bhansali, though I hate the similarity). His films are not infused with any political ideology, but with his own cinematic vision. So I think films like Yamadonga, Magadheera, and Eega, were all about him wanting to learn and push the boundaries of what he could do with the existing technology, and his own development as a film maker. He even said this in one of his interviews from a few years ago — that his dream had always been to make the Mahabharata (because those were the films he grew up on), so he made Yamadonga to see if he could handle those kinds of sets, he made Magadheera to see if he could handle a warrior hero character, and he made Eega to get a handle on VFX. Having made all those, he then felt ready to make Bahubali. In his mind it’s a perfectly logical progression.
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Once again, thank you for all the background! I don’t think Rajamouli had a particular political philosophy in mind, but just like I would expect an Indian director to be more familiar with how to depict a love song than a western director, I am thinking a director from the south might be slightly more familiar with how to do a “crowd objects to a great wrong” scene. For instance, Karan Johar failed miserably at presenting similar sequences in My Name is Khan. He knows how to do song sequences and love scenes, but the rallying the crowd kind of scenes just weren’t something he was familiar with. And I also can’t think of a Hindi film that managed to handle big statements of the rights and wrongs of rulers. Mughal-E-Azam came closest, and even there it was more about the love story than the law-versus-Dharma kind of debates.
Which I guess goes back to what you are saying that more films come from the folkloric tradition, of big stories about big issues, not just about interpersonal relationships, or a simple “good guy” and “bad guy” kind of story.
On Sat, May 13, 2017 at 7:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Well, one area that Telugu films have the best expertise on, and going of for many decades, are the films based on the puranas. Most of the Tamil films of this type were made as bilinguals by Telugu film makers, though there were some made by Tamil directors and producers, too. i guess you can say Telugu was in the first position, then followed by Tamil films on these types of subjects.
The interesting thing is that I doubt many of today’s Telugu directors would be capable of making such a film, because their sensibilities are very different, and dare I say, more “western”. Rajamouli is different not only in being interested in such films, but also very lucky in having Raghavendra Rao as his mentor, who is pretty much the last director to have had some hands on experience in making such films. I think that’s why Rajamouli could make a film like Bahubali. On this topic I also must give a shout out to Rana, who also grew up loving all those old puranic films, and that’s why he can deliver the dialogues the way he does. In the present generation, I think only Tarak (NTR jr.) and Rana can deliver the kind of dialogues that those old films had. Tarak did some of this in Yamadonga, and Rana did it in Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (he really didn’t have lines like this in BB). Think of it as being comfortable in delivering Shakespearean lines as they were originally written. You know there’s a clear difference between “good” actors and actors who can act Shakespeare.
(Talking about crowds protesting scenes, did you see the scenes in Nayak, or even Robot? Shankar is another who has a good handle on it, and of course he’s Tamilian. KJo has probably never encountered a counter argument to something he said in his life. 🙂 )
I like the tidbit about Rana here – makes him even more ideal for the role of Bhallaladeva who is all about the throne. His focus is about being ‘The King’ – shouting out oaths to kill the enemy at the time of war with the Kalakeyas and then, the pre-written oath at the time of his coronation. Amarendra Baahubali on the other hand, is all about the people. Makes sense he even seems to speak like them 🙂
Oh, both Amarendra and Bhallaladeva spoke in the same way in Bahubali. In fact, all the characters did. The only difference is that they had a bit of a “village dialect” for Shivudu’s village in part 1. One thing that I did notice in Part 2, which really annoyed me, is that they suddenly had Amarendra and Kattappa speak in bits of Sanskrit in issuing military orders. It wasn’t quite proper Sanskrit, either, which is what bugged me, but aside from that, they had all these “royal” characters pretty much speak like anyone else for the rest of the film, but suddenly go into some high-falutin’ words in battle situations.
Oh, is it? I don’t understand Telugu (unfortunately) but I thought Rana’s diction was always a bit more precise and he enunciated better when compared to Prabhas1. Even though they grew up together and so, must have had the same tutors etc, I just assumed it was because Prabhas1 spent a lot of time with the common people and so picked up their style of speech – laid back and not so formal. Maybe its just a case of me hearing what I wanted to hear and assumed it was a character thing 🙂 Thanks for clearing that up!
No, it’s because Rana, in real life, has much better diction and enunciation than Prabhas. 🙂 If you could hear this difference in the film, you should watch their interviews together. You’ll find the same difference there, too
I’ve just been watching some interviews with Subbaraju (Kumar Verma in the film), and he has much better enunciation than Prabhas, too.
Okay. I remember reading/hearing somewhere that Prabhas was good at the colloquial Telugu he spoke in Bujjigadu. With Baahubali, I just assumed that they let his diction be to show his closeness to the people.
Prabhas speaks in a different slang in Bujjigadu. He apparently speaks in Godavari district slang in the movie. Prabhas’s family is from the West Godavari district and he did some of his schooling there as well, so maybe this is the natural slang that comes to him.
Maybe it’s time for you to see Maya Bazaar. It’s not only considered *the* classic Telugu film, but Rajamouli specifically mentioned it as what inspired him to make Bahubali. Then you can catch up with all the Mahabharata based films of NTR. 🙂
Of course this doesn’t the film resonating with you in a particular way relating to your own individual circumstances. I am only saying that this wasn’t the intent of the film to be made.
Also, a little add on to what I was saying above, explicit political messages in Telugu films started after NTR went into politics, where again randomly, some stars who supported him would put a message saying just that in their films (usually, “I stand with Anna!” or the like). But these were statements of support to a particular person (Krishna also wanted to go into politics at one point, and got support from some other stars in their films), rather than a statement of a particular ideology.
“this doesn’t preclude” — sorry. I’ll stop now.
And this landed in spam again!
That proves it — your spam filter hates me. 🙂
*blushes* Oh goodness, you are too kind – and honestly, everyone else here is so brilliant and observant and insightful that I always come away from reading your summaries and the comments with at least ten things that I hadn’t thought about earlier!
– Like your parallel between modern US politics and this section of the movie, and while I don’t think it was scripted that way necessarily (given Rajamouli’s plotting, I think that was always the plan), it definitely resonated with me in a way that it wouldn’t have if the movie had released in summer 2016, as was originally the plan. And people brought up in previous comments why the commoners don’t do anything, if they hate Rana so much, and truthfully they’re doing everything they can, especially for a non-democratic society, by protesting. It just doesn’t work – and when someone takes it into their head to use violence/extreme measures, it blows up in everyone’s face.
– I know I’ve harped on this before, but that coronation ceremony just feels awful and wrong on an instinctive level, and it’s not even just that Rana is being crowned instead of the rightful king. The choir still creeps me out – they are reminiscent of brainwashing and/or It’s A Small World, whichever you find more terrifying (My vote’s for It’s a Small World.) – but jokes aside, they aren’t happily and spontaneously celebrating their joy, they are clearly paid to be here and sing. Rana’s face is coolly triumphant and his procession in is so impersonal and brusque (and through the army! I love that you pointed out that detail, it makes so much sense about power v. people) with Prabhas even having to lead the way for him to be coronated. I can’t imagine the roles being switched, honestly – Prabhas’ coronation, I suspect, would be a lot more like Saahore Baahubali, where he’s always in the middle of the joyous people, smiling and laughing and engaging with them even when he’s riding above them in the elephant (and honestly, I assumed when the first trailer of that song came out that it WAS his coronation). And I also imagine that he would have insisted on Anushka being crowned alongside him, or at least present on the dais (just like Prabhas 2’s coronation at the end, actually!).
– Re: Rana in the Ramya tries to bribe him scene – no, you’re right, he doesn’t say anything at all, it’s all in his face. Rana did an incredible job, especially in the flashback, managing to pull this delicate balance of making it convincing that Ramya believes him to be the victim while the audience knows what lurks beneath. It’s almost a disappointment where you get to the present day scenes and he’s just evil-monologuing all over the place, though arguably his breakdown in the end is just as interesting in different ways.
– Did we talk about their individual oaths? Because I think that’s pretty interesting, too. Rana’s is this super-generic one, like, “I swear, by god as my witness, that I will work for the welfare of the kingdom” or something like that. And he has to look at the scroll for that one line, too. And then it’s Prabhas’ turn, and he waves away the servant who’s handing him his scroll, suggesting that either he’s so awesome and dedicated that he’s already memorized or he’s making up his own oath ( I suspect the latter, and I’ll get into why in a bit) and comes out with that super passionate speech about protecting the people above all else, which is clearly so much more kingly and awesome that they used in the trailer to fool us all.
And unsurprisingly, Anushka is our audience stand-in, for how we are supposed to read this oath. She’s representing Kuntala, along with her brother and Subbaraju (….so I guess she just stayed in Mahishmati as a royal guest for a while there? I can’t even begin to imagine how awkward that must have been.) which is already weird, because even if she’s not officially part of the family, she is unquestionably Prabhas’ fiancee, so I’d argue she should at least have been placed higher up than sitting on ground level with the other dignitaries. But that means we get to see her reactions, and when Prabhas walks by (nobly, he does not look at her; and again, a hint that just because he has sworn himself to her, it does not mean that he will prioritize her over his duty/dharma, nor that she would want him to – compare that to Rana, who does turn to look at her) and she looks so sad for him. Up until the part where he makes his oath, and then we see her smile (….I think. It might be because everyone was cheering him, but I think her reaction shot to that is more startled. Please correct me if I’m wrong!) because she realizes that through his oath, Prabhas has cleverly turned his office of commander-in-chief into a way to serve the people and fulfill his dharma, which is all he really wanted to do in the first place.
– That said, from a political standpoint, even before the people start cheering him and the omens hinting that Prabhas should be king, his oath is a BAD BAD idea to Rana’s stability (hence why I think he came up with it himself, I don’t think Ramya would have let that one slide). Because he never pledges loyalty to Rana, but to the people instead, and he’s now in supreme command of the armies – the very armies from which Mahishmati gets its power (seriously, that was such a brilliant point that you made about that!). Historically, all over the world (definitely in Rome, China, and the Byzantine Empire), most successful coups/revolutions were carried out by army commanders because they would turn the soldiers under them into a personal army instead of one loyal to the ruler. The danger of that is symbolized here the soldiers are the ones who start the spear-beating that leads to Rana’s umbrella coming down in the first place. If the roles had been reversed, Prabhas would still have been fine, because Rana, even as commander-in-chief would never be able to command that sort of absolute loyalty. But as is, Prabhas has just set himself up as an independent entity in control of Mahishmati’s armies who is only answerable to the people (who love him anyway!). I’m not entirely surprised that Rana takes away his position (and, I think, neither is Ramya, not entirely); I’m only surprised that it didn’t happen sooner. It is absolutely against dharma to do so, and unfair to boot, but Rana isn’t entirely off when he thinks of Prabhas as a threat here, and why Ramya is still able to think of Rana as acting out of legitimate reasons when he demotes Prabhas instead of sheer jealousy. (And it’s not the only political minefield Prabhas blithely walks into, but I’ll get into that later.)
– And my final thought to share was a silly one I had when rewatching, but: man, Prabhas really hates hats, doesn’t he? We see Rana in a turban in almost every scene he has as a prince, and certainly all the ones in public (to the point where here, he rides in wearing a turban, then takes it off just so Ramya can put the crown on his head) where Prabhas never ever wears one, except in the scene where he enters with Anushka, and even then, it’s off before he reaches Ramya’s throne. I’m sure it’s to emphasize Prabhas’ unroyal behavior as opposed to Rana’s, but it just seemed really blatant here.
(We made it to intermission at last! Hooray!)
I love how you sit and organize your thoughts so well and then post them! Everytime I read your comments I think to myself, “Man I noticed that too!”. Its so reassuring 🙂
– The scene during the coronation where Prabhas1 looks at Ramya with so much love and longing and then gets a hold of himself as if to say, “Okay, I’ll deal with that later.Duty first.” Its as if he really believed that she was just throwing a fit and that it would all get better later. Which is also maybe why he made up the oath himself – to get her attention and to show her that he will not shirk his duties and responsibilities even with a new person in his life.
– The oaths led me back to the battle cry scene in Baahubali1. Rana screams out “death to the enemies” whereas Prabhas1 says “Jai Mahismathi”. Which again goes to show where their priorities lie.
I sometimes got the feeling that Mahismathi was synonymous with Ramya as far as Prabhas1 was concerned. He loved his kingdom as much as he loved his mother or because he loved his mother (because she represents Mahismathi to him and vice-versa).
Maybe this is also what he meant by the “Amma jagratha” statement just before he died. Not just ‘take care of my mother’ but also ‘take care of the kingdom’.
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🙂 I just think everyone here is so awesome and articulate! (And yes, I love how most of the times when I read a comment, I’m either agreeing with what it says, or surprised because it’s a new thought – but one that makes so much sense. It is indeed very reassuring! ) I never expected to find so many people interested in just analyzing and interpreting this movie!
-Prabhas’ reaction to Ramya’s rejection was so sad! (Every time it happened, actually). He just looked so much like a kicked puppy, before as you said, he basically shakes his head and moves on. And I love this: “Which is also maybe why he made up the oath himself – to get her attention and to show her that he will not shirk his duties and responsibilities even with a new person in his life” because Ramya is the one in the first movie who is always going on about the most important thing for royalty/warriors being the protection of the people! Not that he wouldn’t do it anyway, but a public affirmation, to her, the audience, and himself, that he was still going to respect the basic values that she had instilled in him. (Because as much as I criticize Ramya, there is no question that Prabhas got his basic understanding of dharma and morality from her and that he wouldn’t be the good man that he is without her. And she did a great job of cultivating that in him, even though she wasn’t always so successful in following it herself!)
– Ooh, nice catch about the war cries! You’re right, that’s another sign of how even when Rana and Prabhas have the same goal, they will just always see things in different ways that aren’t compatible with each other.
Oh, drat, I hit “post” too soon. The one other thing I wanted to mention, especially because we were talking about soundtrack cues in the last post was the Mahishmati Anthem, and how both Prabhas and Rana share it as their theme, except never the same part. Prabhas’ is always the “Mahishmati…” part, and Rana always has the tinny/shrill part afterwards, to the point where the transition between those two sections is where the camera focus goes from Prabhas to Rana as they’re walking in/Rana is getting crowned. Just to reinforce that they are similar – both raised as princes of Mahishmati together – but how they both see their position, and the world, in different ways.
This story was written by Rajamouli’s father
This story was written by Rajamouli’s father.
He wrote Eega and Bajrangi Bhaijaan too, right? He is great at coming up with original stories that really grab the audience.
yeah he really is great at writing stories that could rally the audience which bollywood writers lack as you said in one of the posts.
Plenty of Hindi movies have made me cry, or think about my life, or consider philosophical questions. But I can’t think of one that really inspired me to go out and become part of a mass movement, the way multiple southern films have. Bahubali 2 most of all, by far. But even something silly like Munna had more of a rousing ending, calling on people to unite and make change.
I guess Rand De would come closest in Hindi cinema, but even there the call was more for individual action than collective.
On Wed, May 17, 2017 at 9:33 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Armed with this sequence in B2 and the virtues shown by prabhas 2 later in the film ,it is a lot more satisfying to see the reactions of the people in the statue lifting ceremony in B1 and Kattappa reaction to seeing the grown up prabhas in B1 .
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Absolutely! They really are equal partner films more than sequel and prequel, the two parts work together.
Wow, 11 posts to get to the interval. Of course, I’m not complaining. They have been such a delight!
Before we move further, I want to discuss Rana’s glance towards Anushka. Somewhere else I had commented that Rana’s feelings towards Anushka were not necessarily sexual, at least as long as when Prabhas 1 was alive. It was only when Anushka represented Mahishmati’s defiance against him for 25 long years was when he developed this obsession to control her.
Which brings me to two significant moments between them in this film. The second one is at towards the end, which I’ll probably bring it up when we get to there. The first one is this.
What exactly Rana is thinking when he marked out Anushka specifically from the crowd? In a lesser film, it would have meant that the villain had achieved his material wealth and she is his next target. (And the heroine would probably be cringing in disgust and/or fear) But he never makes any advances towards her. I think that he is mentally thanking her for unwittingly helping him get what he wanted his entire life.
Anushka probably didn’t understand his exact thoughts, but I think that was when SHE realised that her future king had less than noble character and personality. They did not have any direct interactions with each other prior to this. Her rejecting Rana was by proxy as she was rejecting Ramya more than him. He was purposefully quiet for when Prabhas 1 brought her to court. She might have resented Prabhas 1 being snubbed, but until that glance she had no reason to worry about Rana in particular. That is what first sowed seeds in her mind that Rana is bad news. No matter what Ramya says, Prabhas 1 should rule Mahishmati and later it is confirmed that that is what it’s people want. And when Rana fully reveals his pettiness by stripping Prabhas 1 off of his position and appointing his lackey, she lashes out and declares what was already in her mind for long. Prabhas 1 is would be a far better ruler than Rana, he loves Mahishmati and Mahishmati loves him back.
I saw it as a moment of “suck it, I win!” Which follows exactly with your argument, that moment of extra gloating and triumph indicates to Anushka that he isn’t just a pawn who Ramya moved around, in fact Ramya was the pawn. And it makes her wary for the rest of the film, until the baby shower when she is sure that she is right.
Just a quick thank you for all your commentary and analysis on this remarkable epic. Bahubali 1 and 2 is my first exposure to Indian film and your writing has really helped me unpacked all that is seen and unseen and I thank you for it.
I am so happy you found my website, and I am really really really happy that you found Indian film. I hope this is the first film you watch, but not the last.
And if you want to make me (and my other commentators) ecstatically happy, you can tell us what you liked about Bahubali and let us recommend more films for you to watch based on that. I’m tempted to start recommending right now, but I don’t want to give you a big special effects epic recommendation when what you really liked was the romance!
Wow, where to start! I came for the battle scene but I stayed for everything else…. EVERYTHING! The visuals, the music, the characters, the scenery, the story, the romance, the dance, the culture… everything. I would happily welcome any recommendations you have. Thank you again!
Yay! What fun! Okay, I am going to give you a few options, and others can add on.
The director, Rajamouli, has several other movies that lead up to this one. They were all thinking outside of the box kind of plots and visuals. The big 2 that you might want to watch are: 1. Magadheera. Similar battle scenes, but with a modern day setting that isn’t as unusual and inventive. 2. Eega. No battle scenes and epic story like this film, but the visuals and plot are so insanely inventive its kind of mind-blowing.
If you liked that kind of epic period romance in a palace, I recommend Jodha-Akbar. Other people are going to recommend Bajirao Mastani, but I like Jodha-Akbar better. Feel free to watch both and make your pick 🙂 There is also Rudhramadevi, which has the same heroine as Bahubali 2, and the villain from Bahubali plays her lover. But the CGI is very shakey in that, so be prepared to overlook a lot of flaws.
If you want to see another movie with the hero and the heroine from this film, you can check out Mirchi. It is in a modern day setting, but in a rural area with feuding families, which allows for a lot of amazing fight scenes.
For just plain action fun, try Bang Bang. Modern day setting, very silly plot (based on the Tom Cruise movie Knight and Day), but great songs and kind of fun light-hearted action scenes.
If you can track down a copy, one movie that is super fun is Rajkumar. Similar fairy tale kind of setting, better songs and dances. But from the 90s, so there is less CGI and the guys are less hot (forgive me Anil Kapoor, but I would rather see Prabhas shirtless than you)
This is just your starter list, come back if you want once you’ve seen one of these and tell us “That guy is so hot! What else is he in?” Or, “I loved the dances! What else is like that?” or whatever, and we can narrow it down a little more.
Also, if you search “Netflix” in my archives, I just did a post describing and recommending every single film currently listed on Netflix in the India section. If you want to go very broad and just see what you can watch that isn’t gosh awful.
On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 1:58 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I know, you said that you blacked out the scenes of Rana, because it reminded you too much of Trump, but this coronation scene plays an important part in dictating the course of the story after Amarendra’s death (btw Amar means immortal & Mahendra means Shiva)
It seems Rana’s obsession/hatred with Baahubali begins here. There are two things that make him angry:
1) Amarendra’s popular support makes him insecure on his hold over the kingdom and see Amarendra as an usurper to the throne he covers very strongly.
2) During swearing in Rana/Bhallala reads from written text & swears to god Shiva but amarendra swears impromptu to Sivagami. This makes Rana hate BOTH baahubali & Ramya. It is a painful reminder to him of a) the bond between his mother & step-brother is stronger than he could ever wish for himself & b) the real power (power of executing the King Bhalla’s orders) still lies with the Regent Mother Shivagami, who is the real power behind the throne.
Till this point Rana’s behavior has been rational at all times and along expected lines for a Kshatriya, which is “to win at all costs”. That is why he so badly wants to be king, because he thinks he has earned it due to his better fighting skills & more still/rational mind that he can genuinely be the better king than Prabas who by contrast is happy to follow others’ judgments.
But this is where the fatal Shakespearian flaw in Bhallala’s character is exposed that is his anger against his mother for not accepting his “merit” & obsession against his competing step-brother. It was completely unnecessary for him to follow Kattappaa to the battlefield & then right before Kattapa, he mocks the dead Amarendra for swearing on his mother saying “you sweared against my mother’s name. Now look what happened to you? Using that same sivagami, I have executed your death warrant, ha ha ha”. If he had not done this than Kattapa could not have exposed truth to Sivagami & baby Mahendra could have been killed even before Sivagami/katappa eventually uncover the dark lies perptuated by Bhalla.
Oh, that makes so much sense! I don’t think the subtitles translated it as clearly, or maybe it wasn’t as obvious since I wasn’t hearing the exact words being repeated, so I didn’t get either that Prabhas 1 swears by Sivagami, or that Rana brings it up again at the end.
Does Prabhas 2 also swear by Sivagami? I couldn’t hear clearly if it was Sivagami or Devasena.
On Mon, May 15, 2017 at 3:06 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Good catch! Prabas2 also swears by Sivagami !!!
Imo, baahubali can be summarised as Sword vs Crown. The Sword symbolises Kshatriya Dharma and it protects the Crown or the head of the Kshatriyas (leader of the bravest)
Rana has always coveted the crown and viewed the sword as a threat (to the crown which is due to him)
Prabas1 senses a conflict between sword & crown & gives up the crown.
Ramya symbolosis the sword. She is only a regent and hence not the crown but the protector of the crown.
Ramya vs Anushka is handing over the sword from one generation to another & Ramya is not prepared to take the backseat to Anushka once Prabas1 is eventually due to be crowned the king.
Prabas2 symbolises that the crown is subservient to the sword which protects it, I guess.
I love this idea! The only thing I would add to it is that sword doesn’t just protect the crown, it justifies the crown. Anushka and Prabhas earn the right to rule because they protect the people and uphold justice with their swords. The sword comes first, then crown.
Rana wants to skip a step, he wants the power without justifying it through his actions for the people. That’s what Ramya is saying at the end of B1, Rana proved himself to be the better warrior, but Prabhas 1 proved himself the better defender and protector.
The sword is ultimately more important. No matter how far Anushka and Prabhas fall, they will still be seen as leaders, because their behavior dictates that. And Rana will never be truly respected as a leader, because he only holds the crown, not the sword.
At the same time, Ramya is resisting the crown, only holding the sword, past the point when she should either naturally “level up”, or else “level down”. Rana and Ramya combined are sword and crown, but having it in two people is unbalanced.
But Prabhas 2 is the character who finally achieves his destiny. We see him take up both the sword and the crown. The sword during that scene in the rain in B1 when he both defends Anushka and issues judgement on her attacker. And finally, the crown at the end, when he swears to truly protect the people, an expansion of what he has already done.
On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 4:15 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I think Devasana and Sivagami were very similar in personality. Sivagami wasn’t able to stand another woman of her same pride, intellect and stature. I feel the two equals clash,p. This is shown beautifully in the last scene where Devasana becomes Rajamatha and is in a very similar costume as Sivagami
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I totally feel your comment about the fantasy seeming real THIS year! At this point, the experience is almost the same for every part of India too.
Every time I watched the coronation sequence and Shivudu walking through a sea of cheering fans as Mahendra for the first time, I got chills. I’ve told my mother every single time that I really wish we had a leader like this in real life.
Also, how much do we love the people of Mahishmati!! The peasants, the labourers, the dancers, the army, even the most oppressed have a voice and they’re not afraid to say what’s on their mind DESPITE the tyranny, DESPITE unfair decisions by those in power. They may not be able to oppose the oppression BUT they’re not afraid of making their voice heard even with lashes beating down on their skin.
In this universe, it’s all about public opinion. Bhallala always craves and fears the love that the public have for Amarendra (and his son). The image of Bahubali’s golden statute standing much much taller than him isnt his fear of being a lesser warrior than Amarendra. It is his fear of being love less. That probably came from his mother making him feel she loves him less.
Okay, someone on another post commented that there is no textual proof that Ramya loved Rana less. But we all know it, right? It made me really appreciate the actors. There is no explicit dialogue in the script to say which son she prefers. But it’s there in the way she and Bahubali look at each other, and you can see that Rana feels it in the way he looks at them looking at each other.
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