Bahubali 2 Scene By Scene Summary Part 14: The Urge to Chop Off Heads Must Be Genetic

You all realize this is the Tuesday Telugu/Tamil post this week too, right?  I still put up a Malayalam post, because I feel bad for my poor Malayalam readers who have so few places to go to read their reviews.  But Telugu/Tamil, you will have to make due with my crawling through the same movie for yet another week. (part 13 here, you can crawl back from there)

Uch uch uch, bad things to recap!  Ramya took away Prabhas’ place as heir at the last minute because he disobeyed her and declared that Anushka had the right to pick her own husband.  Prabhas and Anushka got married, Rana got the throne.  But Rana is still jealous of Prabhas because the people love him.  And so at Anushka’s baby shower, Rana fires Prabhas as head of the army.  Anushka is furious at the petty insult and declares that the gift she wants from Prabhas is that he take back the throne, as the people want.  Ramya is now suspicious of her.  And then Anushka responds to Rana’s new head of the army feeling up women at the temple by chopping off his fingers.  She is standing in judgement, in chains, in the throne room, when Prabhas strides in, fingering his sword.

 

In the last section, I talked about the significance of Prabhas holding his sword here (which Marees pointed out in the comments), that it represents his position as a Kshatriya who must uphold justice and defend the defenseless, and also Anushka, who he previously identified as “his sword”.  And the significance of him seeing Anushka’s hands chained, hanging in front of her pregnant belly.  It’s not just a humiliation to see her like this, it is an endangerment.

Image result for bahubali sword

(Yes, I very very much want this)

There is also the way he is shot as he enters.  Low angle, slow motion, dramatic music.  Which is echoed in the reactions, the nobles at court buzz and murmur as he comes in.  Not in fear, but in excitement and happiness.  I don’t think all the nobles at court are particularly worried about Anushka as a person, she’s not one of those “and all the people love her for her gentleness and beauty” kind of princesses.  But they are worried about her as an embodiment of justice, who is clearly being treated unjustly.  In the same way that she will become a symbol for 25 years in future.  Not of a particular person they care about in chains (although she is that as well for some people), but as a symbol of an egregious misuse of power.

And it is that which Ramya is reacting to, as much as anything Prabhas says, the way the mood in the room shifts with his entrance and reveals that the people are more with him than with her.  Now, correct me if I miss something, but I believe one of the first things Prabhas says is to ask why Anushka is in chains, when she is in her 3rd trimester.  Rather than address the health issue which Prabhas has brought up, Ramya retreats to the law, saying that he must know it is always the case in Mahishmati trials, the accused is chained and stands guilty until proven innocent.

Image result for mamasbailoutday

(in America, 80% of women behind bars have not been proven guilty, merely accused, but are too poor to pay for bail and are kept in jail until trial, separated from their families.  Donate here to an organization that is trying to bail them out and inform people of this injustice)

Prabhas essentially ignores this argument, and instead silences the bully boy whose fingers Anushka slashed with a glare, and turns to Anushka and demands that she tell her story.  What I find most significant is that Prabhas gets away with this.  His sheer force of personality allows him to upend the procedures of court, at least for long enough for Anushka to talk.

Remember back when he was on his Rumspringa journey?  One of the little moments we saw was him witnessing a trial in some out door place with a bunch of people sitting in a circle, and a blindfolded judge in the center.  There were two prisoners in the middle, the people all held out their hands, and the judge hesitated a moment, and then pointed to one of the prisoners who immediately confessed.  That was ages back, but I think it was meant to show that Prabhas was learning to question how Mahishmati “does” justice.

Here’s an interesting random thought.  Ramya sent him on that journey saying that the people should see him, just like they would a God from a temple.  But what happened was that Prabhas saw the people.  He didn’t change them, they changed him.  Which pretty much encapsulates the difference between how Prabhas and Ramya see ruling.  Both of them see it as service to the people, both of them put justice and fairness above all, both of them are/would be good rulers.  But Ramya sees her service as providing an ideal, a steadiness in an uncertain world.  While Prabhas sees his service as constant improvisation and invention and improvement, constant alterations in order to better fit the situation.  The same way we see him more and more over the course of the film come up with his little unique engineering ideas, to solve problems, that is how he looks at governance, there is no one answer, the best thing is to constantly think outside the box.

Which is what he does here.  The laws of Mahishmati say that Anushka should be changed, and her “victim” should give his statement, and then Anushka should be judged.  But Prabhas looks at this and says “it could be better”.

And so he silences the victim and instead asks the accused to speak.  I am torn on how Anushka delivers these lines.  I see what the director was going for, he wanted her to deliver them like a report to a superior officer, or a technical manual.  No emotion, no hesitation, just a recitation of facts.  But it feels ever so slightly like it could be better.  There is too little emotion, or the language isn’t interesting enough, or something.  I only notice it because it is one of the few acting moments in the film that didn’t feel right.  Maybe it is just because it is such a contrast with the declamatory methods all the other actors are using?

I like the general content, notice that she is not saying “I defended myself” or “He was about to humiliate me, a Princess”.  She is telling his crime, of harassing women, and her punishment, chopping his fingers.

We’ve talked quite a bit in the past few sections about the significance of movement versus stillness in representing character’s minds.  Anushka as she speaks is completely still.  She is almost always completely still.  She is the one firm character who never wavers in purpose or meaning.  If you think back, even in fight scenes she never moves back or forwards.  Her intro sword fight had her at the center, while everyone else came towards her.  The hallway arrow fight had her holding her ground and staying in one place, again while the attackers came towards her.  And while Prabhas advanced during the Pindari battle, Anushka stayed by the palace wall.  Her few significant moments of movement are all romantic, walking over Prabhas’ body to the boat, and most importantly, going towards him in the throne room.  But even there, it is resolved again a second later.  The beginning of “Hamsa Naava” shows her seated, in charge and confident with her decision.  And her hesitation ends in the throne room once she has retreated back to the center and is waiting for Prabhas to come to her, rather than going towards him.

This is all a bit of foreshadowing of what she will do to win the final battle.  Both in that moment, and in the 25 years leading to it.  All she does is refuse to be moved.  She may be in chains in the palace square, but she will not give in by word or deed to Rana.  And she will remain there, a symbol of oppression and hope for the people, waiting for the right time and the right person to rescue her.  Think Nelson Mandela.  Or Gandhi, during one of his many incarcerations.  There is a power in patience.

All of that is a lot of words to say that in this scene, Anushka does not move.  But Prabhas does.  He is pacing back and forth behind Rana’s bully boy while Anushka talks.  But it isn’t the same pacing as Ramya was doing when we saw that Nassar was unbalancing her mind in the first throne room scene.  Instead of feeling like it shows a complete confusion of mind, thoughts going here and there with no structure, it feels like a purposeful movement between two goals.  And that’s what unnerves the bully boy.  He knows that Prabhas’ pacing indicates “Should I kill him, or should I not kill him?”  Or, even more simply, “Is Anushka telling the truth?  If so, I should punish him.”

The pacing indicates, in this case, that Prabhas is following some version of judgement, he is not in fact out of control.  His judgement is sure and swift, but he does not deliver it immediately.  He sees his pregnant wife in chains, and still manages to control himself.  He waits until he has heard her story before deciding the rights and wrongs of the situation, pacing between option a) and option b).  And then his judgement is swift and exact.

Ramya sees this as rebellion, but it is one of the most “kingly” and civilized things we see him do.  If he had ever been king, we can imagine how he would have conducted these trials, keeping an open mind and listening to both sides, and then deciding quickly and surely which is the “right” way.  Combing the Prabhas and the Ramya, as it were.  Since Ramya also believes that quick and sure decisions are the best way to keep a stable rule.

But I also think, going along that track of thought, that even if Prabhas had been king, there still would have been a moment like this.  As king, it would not be just decisions related to Anushka that raised his anger and caused his concern, it would be anything related to his people.  And at some point, there would be a swift and sure judgement such as this that would not be the judgement Ramya would have made.  And Ramya would have to decide if that meant it was a “wrong” judgement, or simply a different one than hers would have been.

Going back to motion versus stillness, once Anushka finishes her speech, Prabhas is still.  He is still as he faces her and issues his judgement on her behavior “You did wrong.  If he was molesting women” (again, Prabhas does not make it a personal issue about Anushka, the crime was to molest any women), “then you should not have cut off his fingers” he turns here, perfectly balanced, sword flashing out, no hesitation or re-positioning of his body, and issues his final judgement “you should have cut off his head!”

Image result for bahubali sword

It seems like Prabhas’ initial determination of “You did wrong” is just a trick on the audience, to change our expectations.  But it also serves as a new way of giving judgement.  It is no longer “you are wrong and in chains, you are right and will not be punished.”  It is looking at both people involved and finding a balance between them.  Which is why Prabhas stands between them in the end.  He paces back and forth, hears the story, then stops in the middle, issues judgement on Anushka first, then turns and issues judgement on the bully boy.

In this one instance, his uncertainty of mind is a virtue.  While Ramya already sits in judgement, literally sits, no movement in her mind available, already settled into one place, Prabhas paces.  He is not settled until he has heard the evidence, and he ends up between to places.

His action in response is equally controlled.  While Ramya, and possibly others in the room, might see in it a moment of uncontrolled rage, it is very controlled.  This is not a sudden chop, this is a perfect almost balletic movement.

What I find really interesting is to compare the father and son in this same situation.  It took me a minute to see it, because so many of the moving parts are different, but Prabhas 2 also saw Anushka in chains and reached for a weapon.  And he saw/heard of her being disrespected and, and reacted by chopping of the head of the one who disrespected her.

This is one of those moments that makes me kind of wish B1 and B2 had been strictly chronological.  The fight in the rain in B1 appears to be a moment of uncontrolled fury from our simple forest-raised Prabhas 2.  And the fight when he frees Anushka appears to be a moment of anger at this older woman being forced to wear chains.  And then it ends with the moment when he uses his sword, his father’s sword, to chop off the head of the man who he is fighting.  The meaning in isolation is a combination of him being raised to fury at insults to Anushka, and using a sword for the first time and regaining his power and Kshatriya status and royalty through that.  In fact, that is the meaning I found in my Bahubali 1 posts.

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But if you combine it with this sequence, you see that he is not just regaining his royal status, but his status as his father’s son.  Like his father, seeing his mother in chains raises him to a fury.  Like his father, seeing her disrespected makes him decide that death is the proper punishment.  And like his father, the moment when the sword comes down is a beautiful controlled slice, not a sudden gesture of anger, but a judgement.  And it is this moment of judgement that turns him into a ruler, not the use of the sword alone.  Or, to put it another way, the sword is not just a weapon and a symbol of royalty, it is the source of judgement and control and everything Prabhas 1 evoked.  Prabhas 2 has now taken his father’s place in making sure and implacable judgments.

And then there are the differences.  Prabhas 1, taught by years in court to control himself, fights down his temper and resists the urge to break Anushka’s chains immediately.  And waits for full evidence before making his judgement.  Prabhas 2 sees no need for such control.  With him, to feel is to act.  In the same way he saw Tamanna’s vision and immediately began climbing the waterfall.  Or rushed in to battle to save her when she was captured by the guards.  And then vowed to take up her goals as his own and rescue Anushka for her.

And this is not a bad thing.  Normally “impulsive” is seen as a criticism.  But Prabhas 1’s fatal flaw could be seen as him not being impulsive enough.  He has been taught by Ramya to wait and wait and wait.  To wait on her primarily, wait for her to make a decision as to what his future will be.  The moments when he follows his own internal guide are the moments when he makes the most noble decisions.  To vow to serve Anushka all his days, to then defend her in court.  To issue his own vow of service at the coronation, one which (Marees and Avani in the comments) pointed out vowed service to the people of Mahishmati, not to the throne.  And did so with Sivagami as a witness, not God.  And now to issue his own judgement, rather than accepting the flawed creaking judgement of the old-fashioned Mahishmati court.

Of course, all his impulsive actions backfired.  You could say that if he was “wiser”, like Rana, he would have had a happier end, as would his kingdom.  But it would not have been a “right” ending.  That is Prabhas 1’s whole argument in the scene when he gives up the throne.  To give in at that moment would have been against Dharma.  Which would have poisoned his entire rule, ultimately turning him to “the Dark side” (to put it in Star Wars terms).  Prabhas 1 never goes against Dharma, but there are moments when he could have made a choice to more fully, or more impulsively, support it.  In that moment in court, he could have declared that Ramya’s rule was against Dharma, as shown through her incorrect judgement, and therefore he was taking the throne from her.  He could have done the same when Rana took away his position at the baby shower, as Anushka urged him to do.  Even now could have been that moment, he came very close, instinctively seeing that the justice of the court was improper and issuing his own judgement.  He could have taken that a step further, said that the proper punishment for Ramya supporting wrong judgement was death, or dishonor, or simply losing her position.  But he did not.

And now we are back to the Mahabharata.  I guess one way of looking at this film is that Prabhas 1 is working through the greater issue of the Mahabharata, when is it more right to break the rules than to accept them, while Anushka is working through the issues of the Ramayana, holding fast to faith and righteousness against all odds and trusting that your very faith will have a power to defeat your enemies.

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99 thoughts on “Bahubali 2 Scene By Scene Summary Part 14: The Urge to Chop Off Heads Must Be Genetic

  1. OK, this is certainly the best post title yet! Not that there haven’t been other good ones, but this one made me giggle out loud. 😀

    – I …think you might be a little off with the sequence of events? Correct me if I’m wrong, anyone, but Prabhas storms in, we get the reaction shot of him looking at Anushka’s chains, then he immediately paces behind Sethupathy, who stammers his way through an explaination. Rana tells Prabhas he is intimidating the witness, Prabhas points out there’s no point in just asking the accuser to say what happened, then Ramya jumps in and tells him he is disrespecting the court, which is when Prabhas shoots back about a pregnant woman being tied up. It’s Rana who replies to that with “the law is the same for everyone” and then Prabhas walks over, stands still facing Anushka and asks her what happened.

    And I think it’s important, that it’s Rana who makes those two points! Because in a way he’s right! I talked about “the law should be the same for everyone” in the last post, and how it’s undercut by Rana’s actual behavior, but as for the other point (puts on devil’s advocate hat): even assuming Sethupathy wasn’t guilty/at fault, I think anyone would be nervous at the husband of the accused, aka the best warrior in the kingdom, prowling angrily behind him and brandishing his sword. On the other hand Anushka could be argued to have nothing to fear as Prabhas’ beloved wife and mother of his child, so what bothers me about this scene is that his logic in determining doesn’t make sense to me. (I roll with it because I can see what the point was meant to be narratively, about rejecting Mahishmati’s equally terrible justice system. And because the actual event took place in front of multiple witnesses, who had told Prabhas the story already. But because Mahishmati’s justice system apparently doesn’t involve anyone but accuser and accused, since it is terrible, that was the argument he was forced to make.) I dunno- does anyone else have any other thoughts on this?

    – Re: Anushka’s delivery: to me she sounded clipped and angry, almost like she was defying Prabhas to turn on her, too. I actually wonder if this wasn’t a constant source of tension in their marriage up until their exile. But, as a counterpoint to Ramya, when Prabhas tells her she is wrong, she doesn’t completely lose it, just looks a little confused. To me that’s an echo of the movements in the baby shower scene, where Prabhas and Anushka can disagree with each other and still stand united in a way Ramya really can’t tolerate disagreement in her relationships with anyone.

    – I just want to say I really love your last point and as someone growing up with Hindu culture/mythology, shows me why this plot feels both familiar and innovative at the same time: basically it’s a thought experiment about what would happen if you stuck Ram in the plot of the Mahabharata and Draupadi in the plot of the Ramayan. And Krishna was their son.

    (I have to run, so I will cut this short and come back to add more thoughts later!)

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    • -No! Disrespecting my version of events? BLASPHEMY! And yes, I think you are probably right. And it’s only going to get worse form here, because this is the part that I found super stressful and was just sort of gritting my teeth to get through, and trying NOT to remember. I do better with the big themes, those I can see from a distance, but I don’t like looking at the details.

      Excellent and interesting point about Rana. What I like about both those comments is that he is abdicating responsibility. Rana is supposed to be running this kingdom, but instead he is all “the law says this, the law says that”. Whereas, as you point out, Prabhas is the reverse, being way way over the line in terms of what the law allows. But answering to a higher law, we know him and know that he is capable of being completely fair, even if this is his wife and a man he can’t stand. And further, that he can’t actually intimidate an innocent witness. We have seen him striding around, armed, around women and children, and no one has so much as quivered. Most of them smile and move closer to him. This pacing is terrifying, but only for a guilty conscience.

      -I love this idea of Anushka’s delivery! I think why it sounded off to me is because it wasn’t clipped enough. It was this odd mixture of neutral with the slightest hint of being off. I think that “off” is what you have identified as resentment and irritation, only I would have preferred it to be more obviously like that. And I like your point that Anushka and Prabhas know they may not always agree, but also know that they will always be loyal to each other. I think Anushka could be sure that Prabhas was going to break her chains, but couldn’t be sure if he would do it, and then offer to be prisoner in her place, or to join her in prison, or what else. That is, he would maintain his promise to protect her above all, but he would be able to draw a line between that and what he saw as his duty, and she could not necessarily predict where that duty would lead him.

      -Yes! That’s it exactly!!!! Which even has a mythological basis, isn’t Krishna a later incarnation of Vishnu than Ram? So in a way they are the same person, reborn in a different place and a different generation, just like the characters here.

      On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 8:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • – There is an exact point at which Prabhas1 looks up just before he starts to stride. As if he heard something in particular that made him realise that he needed to move/pace. I can’t remember what it is (mostly because I think the subtitles might be written as a general explanation as opposed to the actual meaning). And then, he addresses Rana as Maharaja and Ramya as Amma – which I found interesting. He was told that he had lost the right to call Ramya Amma and yet, he still calls her that. What I found even more interesting was that he calls her Amma right when he’s declaring that the court was disrespected the moment a pregnant woman was brought in chains – like he is subtly reminding her that she is both a woman and a mother (just like Anushka).
        – To me Anushka looked quite confident that Prabhas1 would get her, as she is reciting the events. I think she smiles her “Yeah, let’s see how you like this now!” smile as Prabhas1 is walking in which makes me think that she felt glad (for lack of a better word) at the thought that he was there – not as in “Oh, I will be saved now” way but a “Oh good, finally somebody who’ll make sense out of this” way.

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        • I remember that he calls Ramya “Amma” (I love your explaination for it!) but not that he calls Rana “Maharaj” where Rana calls him “Baahu,” I think? I feel like it’s a sign that Prabhas, by this point, really is aware that Rana has it out for him, hence his distancing himself here?

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          • Yes, that’s what I think so too. He knows that the familial relations have broken down and its just the royalty now – which is why the fact that he still calls Ramya Amma is even more interesting. Goes to show that he still hasn’t given up on her.
            Also, I am curious about his swords. What does the one with the horse handle represent? He uses the other one in this scene which he doesn’t have with him when he dies.

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          • I think the horse one is more his ceremonial sword, not his everyday one. It’s also the one that he uses to serve himself, not the kingdom. In the final battle (if I ever get there!), I will talk about how in the battle at the end of the first film, Rana and Prabhas were both wearing the rising sun symbol of Mahishmati. But in the final one, Rana is wearing his lion armor, while Prabhas 2 has a horse head on the front. The horse head represents Prabhas 1’s shadow rule, brought into the light by Prabhas 2 who is fighting for his father’s kingdom, a new kingdom, not the existing Mahishmati. And that moment right before his death is what consecrates it as his “real” sword, and symbol of his rule.

            Also, I suspect there were stunt coordination and special effects issues that might have had an effect on which sword is used when. So I’m not worrying too much about all the times when the horse sword is not used, and more focusing on those times when they wanted to make sure it was used.

            On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 11:00 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I think the horse head one is the “official” Mahishmati one? because the knife that he uses as commander-in-chief also has a horse head on it and so does his armor. And I figure it belonged to his dad, because a google images search shows Prabhas 0 with a similar horsehead sword. The other one, with a loopy handle, might be the one Ramya gives him in Mamatalla Talli? (I can’t check right now- maybe it is?) That’s why he gives that one back to her, but keeps “his” sword, the one from his dad?

            Either way he definitely prefers the horsehead; the only times we see him use the other sword is when he is defending Anushka in both court scenes.

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          • I cannot figure out what the Mahishmati spirit sign is! There’s the sun, there’s the lion, there’s the horse, make up your mind, Graphic Designers of Mahishmati!

            On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 11:17 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I just remembered something about this Sethupathy fellow. He was the one who looked shocked when Rana asked the soldiers to plough over the Mahismathi citizens during the war with the Kalakeyas. Seems to me he’s realised that Rana will do whatever it takes to win.

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          • About the changing emblems.

            http://alajadi.com/twist-mahishmati-emblem-part-2/

            “One of the Baahubali fans tweeted,

            @BaahubaliMovie Who do these two emblems belong to? I understand it’s of Mahishmathi, but the two horses one? #Baahubali2 @Shobu_ pic.twitter.com/YC0tkkGCG9

            — Hemanth Kumar C R (@crhemanth) 27 March 2017

            Immediately, Karthikeya took to Twitter and responded as

            @crhemanth @BaahubaliMovie @Shobu_ the one with 2 horses is the symbol of Mahishmathi and one without horses is Bhallaladevas

            — S.S.Karthikeya (@ssk1122) 27 March 2017”

            It’s an Easter egg. The horse-head and the rising sun are definitely symbols of Mahishmati. Since the horse-head was associated with Mashishmati, Bhallala has it removed? He knows his claim to the throne is illegal.

            The different emblems are an indicator of status. Amarendra’s horse-head within flaming sun in the Kalakeya battle indicates his prince status. The Rising Sun, throne with two horse-heads emblem on his armour at Kuntala is the official emblem of Mahishmati (also seen in Bhallala’s chambers when he hears about Bahubali in Kuntala and on the soldier’s armours when he comes back with Devasena)

            The horse-head sword is his main battle sword. He uses it in the training montage in Saahore and he has it with him in Kuntala. He curved handle sword is his part of his court outfit like the jewels. I dont know if it’s his rajtalwar though since in the first court scene Bhallala also carries his curved handle sword (which was sent to Devasena for the Kshatriya vivah). His personal battle weapon is the mace with the retractable head so maybe the horse-head sword is Bahubali’s personal weapon too.

            Interestingly, Kattappa’s emblem is a horse-head in a full sun before the coronation. However, at the baby shower, he wears the rising sun, two horses and throne emblem. He wears it for the rest of his role. It indicates that he was loyal to whoever held “the crown” when there was no king, and then to whoever held the throne. Maybe he’s been elevated to kingsguard.

            The two horses and sun emblem is show above the throne as well.

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          • This is the kind of thing that makes me see why it took so long to prepare the films. It’s not just that they said to some graphic designer “come up with a symbol for Mahishmati”. Clearly the director and writer and design team and maybe others all sat down and hashed out exactly how many different emblems they needed, how they should be related, and when they should be used. and then went back to the set and costume designers and gave them specific parameters for which outfits/sets needed to be created. and then during filming made sure that the exact right thing was used scene by scene. It’s just an incredible amount of prep work and detail.

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        • -Fascinating with the different names! You could also see it as Prabhas, with his clarity of vision, knowing that Ramya has no real rightful place. She is here because she is “Amma”, his and Rana’s. While Rana has a position he must respect above brother. The proper address is Maharaja.

          -Poor Anushka! It really is a kind of culture shock for her, you know I suddenly remembered a war bride from England who was in my church growing up. She was a delightfully crotchety old woman, but she also was still complaining, 50 years later, about how her husband told her “oh yes, marry me and move to the Midwest, it’s just like England!” And it really really wasn’t!

          On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 10:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • In the Kalakeya battle, Prabhas is wearing horsehead armor and Rana has lion armor on, though. And I don’t know, it really does seem like the horsehead sword is the default! (Also i just rewatched Mamatalla Thalli on YouTube and as best as I can tell, the loopy/hand grip sword is the one Ramya gives him and Rana when they are kids.)

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          • Maybe it’s his training wheel sword and the horsehead one is for when he is a grown-up 🙂

            Okay, that started as a joke, but I think it makes sense in some ways. The Horsehead sword is the one he has to grow into, the other sword is the one he just always has around for everyday.

            Do you think maybe the lion head was more Rana’s symbol, and after he became king it became more prevelant?

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          • The horse is Prabhas’ personal sigil while the lion is Rana’s, as far as I can tell. The Mahismathi one is the hierarchical throne with outward facing horseheads in either side. Which makes me think that the horse head was inherited from Prabhas1’s father as Katappa is wearing it on his armour till Rana becomes king.

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          • Princes usually have personal sigils till they take over the throne and then, they adopt the kingdom’s one. Which is why I was of the idea that Katappa was the head of the personal guards as ideally, it is Prabhas1’s line thats ruling

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          • I like that idea, that the loopy sword is more a sentimental one that he trained on but has since moved on to the horse head one for battle (but that he keeps the “training” sword for places like court where he doesn’t need the strength of his battle sword.

            – but also it’s neat that he only uses the sword Ramya gives him to defy her. Going back to our discussion about swords=dharma, it fits right in with what he says, that the fact that the very dharma that Ramya teaches him is what forces him to go against her.

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      • Hahaha, now in keeping with Mahishmati law, clearly I must be EXILED for my HORRIBLE HORRIBLE CRIME. 😉

        – Ooh thanks for reminding me that we do see Prabhas armed around innocents and totally not intimidating at all. That is a really good point, one that Sethupathy should have seen himself.

        – Re: Rana not doing enough and Prabhas kind of overstepping his bounds: yes yes yes, I feel like that is what would have eventually happened even without Anushka being the catalyst. Prabhas would not have been able to tolerate seeing Rana’s complacent attitude towards justice and would have jumped in. And while I feel like we are supposed to see Prabhas accepting his exile as him being saintlike, I actually feel like it’s partly because he knows he is guilty here of trying to take over Rana’s authority to carry out justice (because Rana is so bad at it) and partly because he is fed up with palace intrigue. But that’s stepping on next post’s topic, so I will save it for then!

        – That makes sense, that it needed to be brought out a bit more! And I agree too that she definitely trusts that he will get her out of chains somehow (she quiets down! If Prabhas is around and defending her, she actually tends to stand back instead of shouting/getting upset) but yeah, she doesn’t look satisfied until he does behead Sethupathy and symbolically take back the authority of a king.

        – *nods* Yes, exactly! And one more interesting thing about the setup of the flashback, it is essentially the Mahabharata without a Krishna, to advocate a higher good over the law, and so it ends with evil triumphant. It’s not until the Krishna equivalent enters that good can win.

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        • -Yes! And that lack of intimidation is in fact one of the problems that Rana and Ramya and Nassar have with him as a king, that he appears too gentle and close to the people. Little knowing that he was just completely aware of the correct approach for any situation and person.

          -Yes! Save it for next post, I have a whole theory of social structure.

          -I think in general, Anushka is not a naturally confrontational person, she is willing to step back and wait for someone else to do the job. She’s not pushy, I guess I would say. If her brother or her husband or her cousin or her sister-in-law is around and doing the thing that clearly needs to be done, she is fine letting them do it. And again, a similarity with Prabhas. He also does not speak until he absolutely must.

          -Excellent point! Especially considering how Prabhas 1 is turned into his own Krishna while in Kuntala. But once he returns to Mahishmati, he loses that “Krishna” sense of things. Which goes to the general Krishna theme of a wiser ruler being one who is raised away from the palace.

          On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 10:45 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • “the law is the same for everyone”

      That’s the best bit, because the law for “rajkutumbh” is perhaps different than it is for commoners. Sivagami specifically asks for punishments if the crimes (committed by Devasena and Bahubali) are committed by rajkutumbh.

      “his logic in determining doesn’t make sense to me.”

      Very true. We see Bahubali faltering in his judgement here. (Just like mommy, might i add!) We see him remembering his mother’s teachings about what Kshatriya dharma is when he stands by Devasena after she arrives from Kuntala. That sort of gives an insight into why he went against Sivagami then. He objects to his mother objectifying a human being for her word. And we see in the little flashback that he quotes Sivagami in his head for his logic.

      In the Devasena in chains scene, Amarendra is in the wrong on so many counts.
      1) He acts as judge, jury and executioner. He delivers the verdict without waiting for the trial to be over. We know Amarendra knows the law too well. If there were technicalities that would have let Sethupathy walk (highly improbable. there was public testimony against him), those technicalities continued to exist after his execution. For the general public, this trial changed nothing. He isn’t aiming for reform of the law (a lasting result), he just wants punishment for the man that tried to touch his wife. It’s such a personal decision that he cannot use dharma, greater good etc. as a defence for his action. He ended the criminal, not the crime.

      2) He condones Devasena’s violence. By chopping off Sethupathy’s fingers, Devasena isn’t aiming at ending the life of a molester, she’s effectively ending the career of a soldier. This happens after the baby shower so we know she’s pissed about that guy getting her husband’s job. In my theory, where Devasena is one of the villains, this was a deliberate move from her. A dick move too. She knows how her husband would react and her smugness when he decapitates Sethupathy says it all. She planned for that to happen. She doesn’t respond to the accusations against her. She questions everything except the accusations till her husband arrives. And then she gets what she wanted all along. Maybe that’s why her dialogue delivery seems not quite right. She’s playing her husband.

      There is a flaw in Devasena’s own logic for Kshatriya dharma too. She could see Sethupathy palming the women while she ascends the stairs. She raises no objections and saves not a single woman from the harassment. She waits till a whole bunch of women get molested to take action. She’s waiting to build her case for meting out vigilante justice. What kind of Kshatriya dharma waits and watches praja get molested just so there’s a strong enough case for killing the perp without trial? Imagine this logic and just replace molestation with rape. Let’s say Devasena saw Sethupathy rape women and make a threat to her that she’s next. Would she wait to have a whole lot of women get raped just so she can maim the guy herself later?

      There’s a difference between dharma and anarchy. And Devasena represents anarchy not dharma.

      3) We know Amarendra is very patient and thinks out of the box. This scene is completely out of character for him. Would he be this impulsive if he were king? If yes, he would be a ruler exactly like his mother was. His behaviour here mirrors Sivagami’s. If they’re the same and make the same kind of decisions, he cant be better than her, can he?

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  2. Ahh the chains. So there is a third symbol in this story after the Sword and the Crown. Rana says later on that all the while he was coveting the Crown & power, it never made him happy but only when Anushka is freed from the Chains, he realises what he misses. It is the Chains which make him happy. He is 100% a control-fetisisht ! It makes him happy to have control over other people.

    And it is the same chains (which bound Anushka) that Prabas2 uses to beat&subjugate him in the end. So prabas2’s born destiny is to liberate the people of Mahishmati from their chains and unshackle justice (symbolised by Devasena)

    Also no masala movie in Telugu is complete without the hero using chains to fight but this(climax fightscene) is taking it to another level.

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    • Interesting point! I was thinking the same while watching Baahubali1. Also, its like he’s liberated the (chained) spirits of both his parents when he sets Rana up on the pyre to be burnt – he uses his mother’s chains to get him there and his father’s sword to pin him down.

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      • Or, you could say that his parents are the ones finally defeating Rana. Both through their son, the incarnation of both of them, and through the tools they have given him. But really, either way works!

        (and, of course, there is the against the grain gay reading with the whole penetrating sword thing. That can just be an inside joke between you and me)

        On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 11:11 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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    • How about this: the crown is neutral, a symbol of rule and power which can be good or bad. The sword is good, those who wield the sword are good (isn’t Prabhas 1’s introduction in B1 the blade of his sword turning to reveal his eyes? And of course Anushka’s intro here is similar). The chains are bad, those who use chains are bad. Ramya, I believe, is first shown using them in this scene. Rana supports his power, the crown, through the use of chains. While Prabhas 2 takes the power back through his sword.

      And then there’s fire in there too, but I am happy keeping that to a simple “cleansing power” metaphor.

      On Tue, May 16, 2017 at 10:47 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • – Fire (& Rain) are used heavily to set the scene in Baahubali. In B1 baby Mahendra is carried over water by Sivagami but in B2 he is lifted against a backdrop of fire. Also when Kattappa recognises Mahendra Rain is involved. B1 starts with climbing the waterfall, B2 starts with burning the cutout monster. & Fire is used as background for fights/conflicts & water for love, but…

        – …I think the 4th symbol after the Sword, Crown & Chain is the Arrow. (It seems to indicate the connectedness of people & events but also because of the distance between the sender & receiver sort of acts as an equaliser)
        B1 starts of with an arrow behind Ramya’s back that indicates the baggage that she comes with and also in B2 it connects her back to her sin of ordering to kill Amarendra. When towards end of flashback, Ramya orders court martial of Rana & co, he says that he is already prepared for her and then we see one aide ceremonially offer him a bow, while another offers him an arrow. So the arrow is retribution for Ramya ordering the hitjob on B1.
        The arrow also serves as a courtship ritual between Amarendra & Devasena
        & In B1 prabas2 uses an arrow to haul himself up the waterfall. Here the arrow seems to give a glimpse of his future behind the waterfall.

        – is it my imagination or am I seeing similarities between the 4 symbols & the 4 varnas of caste system?
        Sword – dharma (Brahmins)
        Crown – leadership (Kshatriyas)
        Chain – oppression & control (Shudras)
        Arrow – connectdness of all (Vaishyas)

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        • The arrow has been left behind a bit, but becomes hugely significant at the end of the film. Remember way back at the beginning when Ramya is trying to buy off Rana with presents? One of the things she gives him is a bow that can accurately shoot 50 feet. It is that same bow which he uses to kill her and, again, 25 years later, to shoot down Prabhas 2 when he attempts to enter the kingdom.

          Not sure yet what that means, but I know it means something!

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          • It is not the same bow. The bow Ramya gifts to him had white detailings on it while the bow he uses to shoot her is black and has no detailings. I watched the movie thrice to be sure if this point. And also he rejected the gifts given by Ramya to him so he couldn’t have used the same bow.

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          • Thank you! I’ve run out of money/time, so I can’t see it again until it is on DVD. Or make more money or time. Follow up question, do you know if it is the same bow in the end battle scene as in this scene?

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          • I’m not sure about the bow in the end battle scene. By that time I was shamelessly ogling older rana’s body 😅. Seriously though does anyone else think that older Rana is hotter than his younger version?

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          • Oh, definitely! I mean, I don’t know if I would agree, but I can see the difference. More confident, more defined features, more of a presence.

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          • I know right. I think the makers wanted to show a difference between young Rana and old Rana. Young Rana is not as kingly as prabhas 1. But the old Rana seems more majestic than prabhas 2 who was not bought up as a prince but as one of the forest people.

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          • Yes! and old Rana just has this air of, I don’t know, knowing stuff. Like, he’s not just stronger and bigger, but more experienced too.

            On Mon, May 22, 2017 at 10:29 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I just remembered something about the beheading scene – Prabahs1 walks in to the tune of his Heyssaa Rudrassa theme showing his contained fury. When he chops of the sethupathy’s ehad however, the Mahismathi anthem plays – showing us what his idea of what the kingdom should stand for is.

            ps: Margaret, I commented without logging in and it sort of disappeared before I could log in and submit it. If it turns up on your ‘to approve’ feed, please delete 🙂

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          • Brilliant! Also, I love the Heyssaa Rudrassa theme, partly because the English subtitles are hilarious. I can’t remember them exactly know, but it’s something like “one who drives out evil’ or something. Like 5 words to describe something in two syllables.

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          • The English subtitles are so..weird in a lot of places. Its quite difficult to translate the nuances (although I have seen it happen when people take the effort to do it well). Heyssa means “Hail to” and Rudrassa means “Mighty one”. Rudra signifies extreme power and is another name for Lord Shiva, who Prabhas1 is being compared to. Rudra is known for his no-nonsense attitude, relaxed demenour and contained emotions except when he sees injustice and unrighteousness, when he goes into extreme rage and fury which is signified by the opening of his 3rd eye.

            In the Saahore song, it also says “Heyssarabhadra Samudrassa”. This means (I think) “Hail to the protector of oceans”. This also refers to Lord Shiva who drank the poison that came out of whole churning of the oceans incident (thereby protecting the oceans). He was then called Neelakantan due to his blue throat from where the poison was contained (Neela – ‘blue’, Kantan – ‘whose throat’).

            Sorry about the digression.🙂 I just love that I’m taken back to my many, many, many readings of Amar Chitra Katha and my fascination with mythology.

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          • Not related to anything else, but did you know they no longer sell the big ACK compendiums? I have a huge Gods and Goddesses one, and a smaller Heroes of the Mahabharata one, but I put the big big Mahabharata and Ramayana ones on my Chennai shopping list and my sister was told that they are out of print!!!! I am HORRIFIED!!! How are visual learners supposed to understand the myths now? I don’t want to read the academic versions with no pictures!

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          • What?! Really?! That is so sad!!! Is this a recent thing? We got the the Gita and Mahabharata about 2 years ago from Kerala. But I think I remember reading something about how they are going back in print now – was it on the ACK twitter page recently? My whole childhood was all about them!!!!

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          • I KNOW!!!! There is a local store near me that has the complete Mahabharata in some dusty old packs, and I am sooooooooooooo tempted. But it’s $69 and I was hoping to get it for cheaper from India. Well, plus excess baggage fees, but my sister can pay that.

            They are all super available on Kindle, but that’s not the same thing at all.

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          • No no!!! ACK on e-devices is just blasphemy!!!! I’ll have to go back and check the stores in Kerala for all their books!

            Can I digress some more? My name is Aparna and I can distinctly remember the first time I saw my name in one the ACKs on Shiva. Parvathi is fasting to get Shiva to notice her and marry her and the sages who see this are so impressed by her dedication to the fast that they name her ‘Aparna – lady of the unbroken fast’. I felt 1o feet tall. 🙂

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          • did it also make you really really hungry? Because it would have made me really really hungry. My name means “Pearl” or “Daisy”, which is nice I guess, but it isn’t really epic. Cute on a baby though.

            On Wed, May 24, 2017 at 12:10 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • Hehehehe I look NOTHING like a perpetual faster. :)))

            I think Margaret sounds very powerful. When someone says ‘Margaret’, I’d want to sit up straight. I did not know that it had those meanings, though.

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          • It’s a really old-fashioned name in America, the equivalent of maybe “Durga” in India. One of those names that was really popular about 60 years ago, so you hear it and picture an old lady. I’ve only met like 2 people anywhere close to my age named Margaret in my entire life. But sometimes it’s nice, because I can sign letters and stuff and people assume I’m some 60-something scary old lady, not a 30-year-old young person.

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          • It reminds me more of British royalty and that is what I associate it with. Which is why I immediately think of power. 🙂

            I love the old-fashioned names, though. There is so much history about them which in itself lends so much character to a person. I see a lot of people nowadays going through name books and choosing names that have history as opposed to just choosing something random. I think it is important to name the baby for who you want them to grow up to be as opposed how cute the name sounds on them now. Which fits in nicely with Mahendra as the name for Prabhas2. It is a synonym for Shiva and he grows up to be that person. Its also iconic that his foster mother thought up a different version of the same name. Looks like he was destined to be who he is. 🙂

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          • You know, Margaret, I thought you were older when I first started reading your blog 🙂 That was until I started interacting with you. But it’s probably really nice to have a name that’s not common among people of the same age.

            My full name is Nikhita and I know so many girls who are around my age who have the same name. Though they spell their names differently, most of them even seem to have the same nickname as me!

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          • My sister is like that, very common name, always had at least 1, sometimes as many as 3 others in her class with the same name. Always kind of jealous of me.

            But Nikhita’s cool, you have a famous French action movie named after yourself! I just have a terrible overwrought famous flop of an American film 😦

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          • But the way I spell my name is different than the usual spelling so that has been kind of unique.

            Oh yeah, it’s closest to Nikita which ends up being a male Russian name. Remember Nikita Khrushchev and the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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          • I am going to assume you don’t have a habit of taking off your shoe and pounding the table with it.

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  3. That smirk. Devasena’s smirk. Hated it as she seemed to be taking glee in her power trip. Another inconsistent flaw inher character. The entire frame should have been re-shot as I lost all sympathy for her (even as a pregger woman).

    This was a scene where I felt all of the other characters got their looks so, so perfect, so in sync with the moment, the shock, the slashing. But, it’s also the scene where Devasena failed me the most.

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    • Interesting. I can see what you are saying, Prabhas seems almost possessed, outside of himself, like he really is the spirit of justice. Ramya seems terrified, like she doesn’t think she knows Prabhas any more. Rana is more just surprised, but not actually afraid. But Devasena is the only one who smiles.

      What reaction do you think would work better for her? I wouldn’t want her to be afraid or shocked, because it would put her too much out of synch with Prabhas, and they are supposed to be closer than that. I can see that there might have been a better character choice, but I don’t know if I am inventive enough to figure out what it should be.

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    • See, I think it has to do with the fact that Prabhas by cutting off the guys head is absolutely vindicating her own actions. This isn’t a question of “well, she was wrong, but we should free her because she is pregnant” but instead “she was totally right to judge this guy unworthy of his position, and if anything, too soft on him” It’s a powerful statement of support, not only for her as his wife, but her wisdom and judgment. And takes her from her previous position of helplessness, alone before the court, to having Prabhas in her corner 100%. (And also, as we mentioned above, Prabhas is kind of taking over royal authority here, just like she wanted him to earlier. So I wonder if she’s not a little smug here because he sees it’s inevitable, just as she did way before.)

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      • mredlich21 | I felt she should have had a regal, dharmic face. One that was kept true to her regal background. You don’t smile in vindication as a royal! You view as the punishment as your dharma. It’s what I found off about her role – she was never part of any ‘we’ conversation with Amarendra. It was always 1) my fight (her entrance), 2) my insult from Bhallal’s proposal, 3) my need to know who you are (when Amarendra kicks ass during the midnight raid), 4) my pseudo-apology to Sivagami and subsequently my stance on the feminist right of a kshatriya to choose her man (and I choose Bahu), 5) my wish at the baby shower, and 6), my virtues in court when chained. When did she ever show an equal footing to Amarendra?! I think this creepy smile was the lynchpin of her self-absorbed persona. Take a second look at when Bijjala Deva mentions how Amarendra was raised as Sivagami’s own son. Devasena doesn’t even flinch. No empathy for hearing those scathing words, words which are a definite insult to any adopted child. Even here, she shows no emotion. While I didn’t want her character to mush out like a a Telegu K3G knock off, I just felt she never truly demonstrated herself as one unit with her man. Had she kept more of a stoic face, I would have accepted her royal upbringing and reaction far more comfortably.

        avani | I see her being smug, but for all the wrong reasons. But, your definition is far more plausible as he definitely exhibits far more royal traits in a dharmic fashion than she ever did. Come to think of it, I can’t think of a single moment when she was truly acting in any regal fashion. She seemed like a spoiled brat who always did the opposite of what everyone expected of her. The more I write on her, the more I dislike her scripted part. She was the weakest link for me. Sivagami was the ill-fated, but redeemable female for me.

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        • That’s a really interesting way to look at it! To me, it felt like a good thing she never had a “we” conversation. She took the lead in the correct path, and Prabhas followed her. A refreshing upturning of gender roles, and appropriate since she was positioned as the definer of Dharma. But, if her behavior in general is not seen as defining Dharma, then it just turns into her being a bit spoiled and self-centered.

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          • I understand that Devsena can be interpreted as rash and impulsive but I do believe she lashed out only when her dignity or Amarendra’s was in question. Also I would view her look as one of triumph at justice being carried out rather than her being pompous. It’s more her being proud of Prabhas1.
            But I do agree that her impulsive and hard hitting responses could be a character flaw as well.
            I like to think of her and Prabhas as two sides or the same coin though, one fire and the other water.
            I loooove this blog so much. Can’t wait for your next posts. 😀

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        • DariK

          Having read some of the earlier posts, Devasena actually came across as impulsive and quick to fire her guns – she did it with the marriage proposal and from thereon Bhalla exploited that trait in public to cast aspersion on Bahu’s character and intentions. I agree Sivagami was not being polite but being a king/queen is not just about dharma and righteousness, it is also about diplomacy. When Sivagami starts to tell Bahu she has already promised to marry Devasena to his brother, she had barely finished when Devasena erupts and speaks her mind in anger. Bahu by then was already processing the mess the situation had become following Katappa’s confession that he misunderstood the prospective groom. Bahu had a “Oh no you did not” action there.
          I have wondered, if Devasena had kept her counsel at this point and let Sivagami make her point to Bahu – how would he have reacted. I think the scene to unfold would have been somewhat as follows. Bahu knows now that Devasena likes him, he likes her, he has vowed to be hers and to protect her chastity and respect. They are one in mind, body and soul after the Hamsa Naava song. He would have started by apologizing to his mother for having caused her distress, telling her he wished he had known earlier. However now knowing that the princess likes him / loves him, would it be fair to his brother Bhalla to be married to a woman who carries another man in her heart? Would he be happy with such a woman? Would this erstwhile daughter of Sivagami be happy with him? He may have turned to Bhalla asking him, tell me Oh Brother, knowing you will never have her whole heart, that she does not desire this alliance would you still hold our mother to her vow and force this alliance on Devasena? The same points but stated in a different manner and pushing the ball squarely in Bhalla’s court. Bhalla who wants to be accepted by Sivagami, be seen as noble by the Mahishmati courtiers would have had no choice but to reverse his claim.
          Sivagami’s word has been her honour, the law of the country for years. A conciliatory tone in stating the revolt may have worked better than a confrontational tone. The outcome may have been very different.

          There was another thing I wondered about. When Sivagami sent Bahu on a tour of the country she likened it to the ceremonial procession of a temple deity. That is usually done with a lot of pomp and everyone knows that it is the deity in their midst. Bahu and Katappa were touring incognito. Did Sivagami mean to say that go forth amongst the people as their future king and make sure they know who is in their midst? Is that why she perceives Devasena as vengeful? Becuase knowing Bahu was the crown prince of Mahismati, having just rejected an alliance for Sivagmai’s son what better way to shame Mahishmati than to make a bid for the other son. Create divisiveness among 2 brothers, cause havoc to the kingdom’s peace and stability. Ddevasena’s confused face was an act, she wanted to avenge herself. And who better than all trusting soft Bahu as her bait.

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          • – I agree that Anushka is consistently impulsive and a little too quick to jump to insults, but I think to me it’s mitigated by the fact that her aggressiveness is always in response to what I perceive as panic at all the power of Ramya/Mahishmati being against her (the initial proposal comes with this subtext of Mahishmati’s power being greater than Kuntala, and in both court scenes, Anushka is quiet once she’s assured of Prabhas defending her). To me, not only is she factually correct but it’s also human and understandable that she lashes out in her vulnerability, but everyone’s opinion may vary!

            – I really like that as a response Prabhas would have taken, especially at how it would have been incredibly effective without damaging Ramya’s pride or having him back down, but in the greater context of the movie, I think it’s actually really important that it doesn’t come down to Rana sacrificing his claim. Because what the movie is trying to say is that promising a woman in marriage without taking her consent is just wrong; that the question isn’t what brother is willing to magnanimously give her up, but who the woman wants, and that is how the solution should be reached, and that is why the movie doesn’t go down that road. (But I’m biased after having been embittered by the stupidity of multiple siblings/friends-in-love-with-the-same-person-and-make-everyone-miserable-by-playing-hot-potato-with-who-gets-to-marry-them plots.)

            – Ooh, that’s a brilliant point! Of course Ramya would never travel incognito, or, even if she thought Prabhas would, like Kattappa, she would expect him to reveal himself as soon as he fell in love with Anushka, not hang around her in disguise. Your interpretation, that she saw Anushka as seducing Prabhas out of vengeance makes so much sense – and from her perspective, Prabhas is being incredibly dense not to realize that! (And even later, she probably assumes Anushka is just with him to manipulate him into taking back the throne – it’s not until Kattappa reveals that was never his goal, and by proxy, never Anushka’s, that she realizes Anushka really did love him and acknowledges her mistake?)

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          • Anushaka obviously got off on the wrong foot with Ramya thanks to the marriage proposal. I think she might have been a bit indulged by her brother as he seems to defer to her to make her own decisions and applauds her for them, too. It might have given her a sense of (false) pride and entitlement. However, she wholeheartedly believes Prabhas1 when he asks her to go with him to Mahismathi as a prisoner but is extremely wary thanks to her personal experience with Ramya. Remember that Prabhas1 doesn’t actually witness the proposal scene personally and so, he has no way of knowing how pompous and callous Ramya (her representative) actually was . In the court, once Prabhas1 goes to stand beside his mother and the guards announce their presence etc, Prabhas1 nods at Anushaka to make her statement of apology. This is with the idea that all Anushka needs to do is to apologise for refusing the proposal – not about how she refused it or even why she refused it (they were too busy romancing on the journey over to actually have a conversation!!!). Which makes me wonder if Anushka was ticked off from the beginning but kept her counsel because she trusted Prabhas1 when he said that his mother didn’t mean anything by it. She seemed to be making the apology more for Prabhas1’s sake than for her own and when Ramya accepts it, she seems relieved to have it over and done with. But the next scene seems to have brought all that hidden apprehension and fury back to the fore for Anushka and she lashes out just like how she is used to doing on her home turf. Prabhas 1, on the other hand, seems to be confused and thoughtful – like “What happened? What am I missing?”. He reacts only when Anushka is threatened and that is because of his vow to protect her and his sense of Dharma, which means that he would have done it no matter who it was. I noticed Anushka’s lack of expression here but to me, it seemed that this was because she was still in the throes of her own fury and indignation. She was so ticked off that she doesn’t register anything else that happens afterwards.

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          • I think the same! I’d give anything to be a fly on the wall while these folks were sitting around discussing characters and situations. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

    • I’m at “Devasena is a villain in the story”. She was my #1 favourite after the first viewing. Almost a dozen viewings later, she’s an ignorant, under-educated brat mirroring Bhallala in how she uses the one who made her a sacred vow!

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    • Well, I can do anything because I am the all powerful queen of the blog. But I don’t think regular users can. If there’s anything big you want me to remove or change, just let me know and I will. But that would be the only way.

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  4. Hi,

    I stumbled upon your blog while googling for baahubali review and have immensely enjoyed your thoughts and some of the comments.

    Coming to the scene being discussed, Bahu’s entry with the fire stands alongside reminded me of Sivagami’s entry in B1. Then too the kingdom was in danger from unpatriotic souls and so is the case today. And Bahu was angry when he entered. It gave me the impression that he already knew what happened at the temple. He enters to see Devasena in chains. But he takes a deep breath and stands at ease. Ramya notes that action of his. Then Sethupathy starts to speak and he begins to prowl. Bhalla takes up for his general and scolds Bahu. Just as he says do you know what happened, Bahu turns walks to Devasena and asks her the same question. Impassively like a general reporting to her king, she states the events and what she did. In between in the back ground you can hear Sethupathy trying to deny. Devasena finishes her report and Bahu passes judgement.

    By the time this incident occurs, it would have been at least a month since the baby shower. A month since Bahu has become just another Mahishmati citizen and seen what the current ruler and general are doing in the same of ruling the kingdom. Bahu is sure that Sethupathy is poison for Mahishmati and has to be weeded out.

    One theme on the blog has been that Bahu is too patient. I think just because he does not react does not mean he is patient. He chooses his battles. That is why when he does speak or act, the impact is greater. He is known to not react. I think of him as a volcano. Just because he is dormant does not mean there is no lava within. When circumstances demands and there is a drastic shift, he will erupt. Like he does in this scene. Always in the defence of Mahishmati. Today the laws and foundations were challenged by Devasena and exposed for the farce they had become. Bahu stands up in defence of his beloved kingdom whose sanity to disbuse justice was under question.

    A pre-cursor to this is the pre-war scene in B1 when Bijaladeva says he who does not know to demand for himself what shall he win. Bahu proves him wrong by showing that, with whatever he has he can win because he has the intention to win or rather he has the intent to see that right triumphs. What he has or does not have doesn’t matter. Plus he never runs complaining or is rather mindful not to create situations that pit Sivagami against her husband or son. Don’t mix personal and professional. He is always mindful of his tone with Sivagami as she is elder to him and yes his mother. Even in this scene, he speaks in a raised voice to his peer in age, or his king (rather like a child would voice discontent to its father ) Bhalla who he views as having a duty to the citizens of Mahismati and not to his general which is how the scene was playing out.

    The similarity of chopping the head of he who demeans a woman in both father and son struck me too. What I recalled was how they say the child in the womb listens and learns from the people around, much like Abhimanyu in Mahabharata. If you consider that Sivudu learnt so much from his father then. Devasena and hence Sivudu was with Bahu the entire time of Dandalayya.

    I know you will get to the song eventually but just wanted to say – you mentioned no one fulfils Devasena’s wishes at the baby shower. But they do. Katappa says for the honour you bestowed on me, I will hold your son not in my arms but on my head. He does it soon after the child is born and again when he sees him 25 years later and places his leg on his head. Similarly, she told Bahu that he should be king. Bahu fulfilled her wish. The Dandalayya song (Telugu lyrics) reflect that. The people sing that he is their king, his word their law. The very thing Devasena says in court in this scene. Fame is not from tall imposing buildings and thrones it is from the expanse of affection in people’s hearts for you.

    Also using this post to share a thought I had from Bhalla’s coronation. In her anger, Sivagami took and extreme step and that day her decisions rocked the foundations of the kingdom. People rebelled and indirectly told her that what she did was wrong. First Bahu, then the people and finally Katappa. Also that day the vessel filled with turmeric water for the coronation rolled down the steps. That was an indication of the inauspicious times about to befall the kingdom.

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    • Welcome! and thanks for commenting.

      -Interesting reminder that this is after a month of Prabhas living in “new Mahashmati”. Which might lead to his lack of faith? Impatience? With the systems here. He is no longer “working inside the system” to improve it, he is an outsider now, and has nothing to lose by taking extreme actions.

      -I’ll get into it in my next post, but it felt like this was the moment when Prabhas could have gone all the way and taken back the throne. But should he have? That’s where it feels like a Mahabharata question, at what time is it better to act than not to act. Up until now, he could still wait and trust that his brother and mother would be able to rule the kingdom. Even when Rana fired him, he could have been patient, waited to see if this was an injustice just towards himself or if it would spread. But now he knows it has spread, that there is a sickness in the kingdom, now is the time when he has to decide if it is better to act or not act.

      -Yes! It is a sign of strength that Prabhas never complains or demands more. He knows he can manage with whatever he has. Which I think is part of why Ramya was so horrified and angry when he does speak out against her. And sees it as Anushka’s influence. Not realizing that it is because the situation is different, it’s not a matter of an unfairness towards himself, but true injustice.

      -Oh yeah, I’ll be getting into this more in the next section. There will be a couple sections on Dandaalayya probably, because there is so much to talk about in the visuals.

      -Interesting point! And you can go one further and say that even Ramya fulfilled her promise. She gave a pretty disinterested blessing, of the heir of Mahishmati. And then in the end, she truly made that baby into the ruler, and she dedicated her life to saving it.

      -I hadn’t thought before of Kattappa as being the ultimate judgement on Ramya. But you are right, her horror at the end is not just at what she has done, but that what she has done is so terrible, even Kattappa blames her for it.

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      • The point you raised about whether Bahu should have gone ahead and claimed the throne, in my view it is moot. He never needed the throne to do the right thing. Case in point the current scene. He was not on the throne, he was a citizen yet he did right. He would always uphold dharma – be it as future king, general to king, a member of the royalty with no post or as a person in exile among common people. During the song there is a dialogue which says says “As long as he is alive, irrespective of where he is and his circumstances, he will always be king.” Maybe some of it stemmed from seeing his mother. She never ascended the throne but did her duty despite it. The throne or the title of king is a means to an end for Bahu – to serve the people of Mahishmati. His strength comes from them.

        During the coronation, when Sivagami refuses to meet his eye while crowning him the general, there is a moment he is emotional, then he collects himself and begins to speak. Immediately there is an uproar and you can see the steel seeping into his eyes and stance. When he next speaks his voice is confident and authoritative. Similarly, when he leaves the court, he is heartbroken. He walks out and sees all those yearning faces and bows his head (perhaps chastising himself for letting them all down) when one of the populace speaks and says when God comes out of the temple to live with us, it is not an occasion to mourn rather an occasion to celebrate – and he quickly looks up and smiles – a quick lesson there that the perspective you choose to view the situation colours it positive or negative.

        I understand when you say for the greater good he should have gone for the throne but from his view “What use was the throne to Bhalla? when the people did not believe in him. It became just another seat albeit made of gold and precious thrones.” I cannot wait for you to write up the Dandalayya song.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Part of writing about “Dandaalayya” (not the part I will be getting into today) is going to be talking about what sort of community might Prabhas have ended up founding if he had lived. And I think your point about the throne is perfect. He doesn’t need or want a throne. If he had continued on the path he had set, it would have been more like a representative democracy. He is there to lead the people, but not control them. Mahishmati, as it was at the time, is not the kingdom he could or wanted to rule. Because the whole throne/crown/laws system wouldn’t work for him.

          Which might be why you could say it was the noble and wise thing to do nothing, since Prabhas 1 would have had to destroy completely before he could recreate. But Prabhas 2 was in a different situation. Mahishmati had already essentially been destroyed and was ready to be rebuilt as a different sort of place. So it was time for him to come in and start off this new civilization.

          On Wed, May 17, 2017 at 9:12 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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        • I really love this interpretation – that he’s not bothered about the throne, because he has watched his mother rule without “officially” being crowned, and therefore knows it’s possible! And this line of yours is perfect: “The throne or the title of king is a means to an end for Bahu – to serve the people of Mahishmati.” As I watch, there is a trend of him and Anushka looking downhearted every time he gets more power taken away, but both looking happier once he proves that he can still serve the people regardless (like when he takes an oath worthy of a king despite being army commander, or ?maybe here when he proves he will still argue for dharma/justice, or when he breaks away and serves the people as one of them.) And I love love love your point that he does do what Anushka asks at the baby shower, that it was never about specifically getting the throne from her perspective, but more her questioning how he was going to do his dharma/serve the people now; I never thought about it that way before, but for both of them, acting as a king-in-all-but-name in Dandalayya would satisfy her request. (So I excuse him! But not Kattappa, he was supposed to hold the baby before anyone else, for the baby’s long life! Though I guess you’re right, he technically only promises to put Prabhas 2 on his head, which he does. So if Prabhas fulfills the spirit of her wish but not the letter of it; Kattappa does exactly what he says he’ll do but not what she really wants him to do*)

          *Yes, as we get closer and closer to That Scene, I’m afraid I’m going to get grouchier and grouchier about Kattappa. You guys have all been warned 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Kattappa just really needs to grow a spine.

            On Wed, May 17, 2017 at 11:53 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I don’t think its about growing a spine – its about self-awareness. We see it all around us with people who seem to be locked in their own little world and cannot see the big picture clear enough to want to think outside the bubble. With Katappa, he has the added disadvantage of being ‘groomed’ for it all his life. One could argue that he and Rana are quite similar – they are both serving the legacies of their fathers. He knows in his heart that it isn’t all sunshine and roses but doesn’t know what exactly is wrong and, what to do about it. Whenever Ramya, Prabhas1 and Katappa (why do we never use his actor name?) are in a scene together, he seems to acknowledge Prabhas1 as an extension of Ramya (kind of like he is happy that Ramya approves of Prabhas1). Which makes it so clear that he is a follower and not a leader (as if we needed any further proof). He always seems comfortable (not necessarily happy) conceding to someone else because that is all he knows how to do. The only time he openly confronts Ramya’s decision is when he seems to be overpowered by an emotion stronger than that of his servitude. Even then, he automatically returns to the role of servant by assisting Ramya to escape than actually confronting the culprits. And later, he wants an excuse to pacify the guilt that rises within him when Nasser confronts him and points out that he’s going against who he fundamentally is and he gets it in the form of Ramya’s declaration that Prabhas2 is the new king.

            Of the lot, I personally think that he is the most dangerous. Ignorance is bliss and an ignorant man can do unbearable damage.

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          • Your closing is perfect. I was thinking of “innocence”, like Salman in Bajrangi Bhaijaan. Which is true, Kattappa is an innocent, not even capable of an evil thought. But that is combined with ignorance, and it is the ignorance that makes it dangerous. Salman in Bajrangi was simple, but not unable to learn and grow. He was lead by his heart, but when his heart and head came into conflict, he was able to think it through and work out the solution. Kattappa doesn’t do that, he lets others guide him, even when they go against what is in his heart, because he does not wish to bother his head.

            Oh, and I personally use his character name in my reviews as a massive compliment to the actor. Because his character and the way he disappears into it is so extreme, I feel he is more recognizable as “Kattappa” than as Sathyaraj. In general, I prefer to use actor names, both because we usually are more familiar with the actor than with whatever random name they are given in the film (“Raj”, “Rahul”, “Rohit”, it’s all the same). And because they don’t disappear so completely. In this film, really everyone has earned the honor of their characters name. But I think, subconsciously, I chose to only use Kattappa as a mark of respect to the truly remarkable achievement by Sathyaraj and how he is the heart of the film. And also because I really want more people to learn the names “Prabhas”, “Rana”, “Ramya”, etc., because those actors deserve to be famous and offered more parts.

            And then a bunch of the commentators followed my lead, because it is just easier to communicate if we all use the same names. Personally, I am awfully proud of the invention of “Prabhas 0”, “Prabhas 1”, and “Prabhas 2” as terminology, because otherwise that family tree is impossible!

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          • Interesting tidbit about Katappa’s bindi/tilak – apparently it represents servitude. There are two part to it; when you are looking at his face, the left side represents the master and the right side represents someone one bowing down in servitude.

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          • Fascinating! I know there is a message in everybody’s bindi/tilak, and I don’t know what it is. Besides Prabhas 2, with the Shiva symbol. But the others I just see and appreciate and use to tell who is who.

            That’s a Mahabharata thing, isn’t it? Each son wears the bindi/tilak that represents their biological father in most representations? Or am I wrong?

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          • I know I know this from all my childhood reading and fascination with mythology and culture but now, I forget. I am sure this will be answered by someone else here, though 🙂

            Anushka’s bindi represents gender equality apparently – its a mix between the symbols for male (the arrow) and female (the mirror). She has this is different forms throughout the movie.

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          • I know! I mean, Rana and Nasser are just plain evil, and as much as I complain about her, I honestly think Ramya was manipulated and misguided (and so still sympathetic to me), but Kattappa? Kattappa knew what he was doing was wrong from the start, unlike the other two – I can see Ramya believing that Prabhas could commit treason, but there is no way Kattappa could have. Forget being forced into doing it so Ramya wouldn’t sully her hands, the “Sivagami, you are wrong” conversation should have happened at the point the order to assassinate was even given.

            Sorry, in fairness, I have to concede that this is all due to his internalized slavery – but then that makes me even angrier at the narrative for never addressing it further, for almost (in a superficial reading) glorifying his bondage as loyalty, as something to be aspired to: it’s not! It’s a toxic tragic burden that makes an old man destroy the only person he ever considered his own.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Beyond that, you could argue that kind of blind loyalty and obedience is bad for society in general, if more “Kattappa’s” feel they have the right to speak up and disobey orders and generally think for themselves, than fewer tragedies will happen. What I’m saying is, slavery is bad (I know, it’s a radical statement).

            On Wed, May 17, 2017 at 12:08 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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            Liked by 1 person

          • *nods* Yeah, exactly. And it’s there in the text, that Prabhas 1 wouldn’t have died if it weren’t for the bad effects of slavery, but we get the messages of “groping women/abusing your power for sexual abuse is BAD” and ” women should have the right to determine who to marry” emphasized with a complete lack of subtlety and I think this should be too: whether by Kattappa getting freed in the end, or just telling Nasser the system is stupid instead of that his servitude has switched to a new king now. (And haha, I know, it is a really obvious message. That’s probably why they figured they didn’t have to spell out, except for the grouchy people like me grumbling at them.)

            Liked by 1 person

          • Take away the “slave” label, and this is what soldiers in every army of the world are asked to do. Nobody wants soldiers questioning every order they are given; but they are expected to question and refuse to obey “illegal” orders. How are they supposed to tell the difference? At last Kattappa could confront Sivagami after the fact and tell her she was wrong.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Avani,
            You said it yourself when you said Bahu fulfilled her wish in the spirit it was made while Katappa follows what he said to the letter. Exactly as their characters are. Katappa is told to kill, he kills he does not wonder how to not do it or do it differently to appease his conscience and follow orders.

            Liked by 1 person

    • “I think of him as a volcano.”

      I think we see a hint of it when Devasena hits him with the torch and his tunic burns away exposing his armour. He looks practically angry while Kattappa gives his grand introduction. I think Prabhas (the actor) has done an amazing job vis-a-vis facial acting in the film. I never doubt I’m seeing the emotion he intends us to see in his face. And this moment shows anger just as he raises his eyes. Prabhas co-developed the characterisation with Rajamouli and we know Amarendra is his favourite so I guess the anger/volcano interpretation is totally correct.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I felt that anger too in that moment. I wonder why? My interpretation was that it was a reaction to suddenly being unmasked in this way, both by Anushka and Kattappa’s intro.

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        • It’s the same expression (expression set?) as he has when he palms his sword in the Devasena in chains scene. I’ve noticed very specific expression sets from Prabhas which in my mind indicates nuances. I saw this scene as a rare “How dare you!” to Devasena which is repeated in the court scene for Bhallala and Sivagami.

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  5. Pingback: Bahubali 2 Scene By Scene Part 15: Mahishmati “Justice” and “Dandaalayya” – dontcallitbollywood

  6. On third watching I noticed a particular moment in this scene. I always thought
    “You can’t chop heads like that. You need to have evidences, you need to have all sorts of stuff. But as usual Rajamouli is skipping through a lot of stuff to keep the tempo going.”. I was seriously pissed at how he didn’t bring in other women who were molested by our sethupathy, our bully Boy, as evidences and prove to court.
    Bow I realized that all the huge chunk of people that talk when baahubali is thrown off the palace are actually the ones who he brought with him to question justice. Since there were large group only one I.e. prabhas1 was allowed inside and he delivered his brand of justice making two statements
    ” As long as I am alive in maahishmaati, there is no question of dharma even if it means questioning the king”
    “All the nobles/people need to know that sitting quiet while a pregnant women is subjected law is unacceptable.”
    This way he induced fear into coutiers. But his mother’s backlash is unexpected because crime of nobility’s behaviour isn’t the crime that was originally initiated there. Trial was for alleged molestation and insult to the king. This also stands a testimony, according to prabhas1 to the people present clearly showing how horrible maahishmaati is slowly becoming.

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    • That is a brilliant idea. Prabhas 1 wasn’t passing judgement on Sethupathy, but on the whole system.

      On Thu, May 25, 2017 at 2:57 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • You see one thing here as bright as sun here.
        A normal citizen, or a simple noble with no power in court held captive for insulting king is one thing. But a man in position of power like bully Boy is another crime. It is a more serious crime. Decapitation is a strong message and the right justice to it. Prabhas1 made his point within seconds of his arrival by looking straight into the eyes of bully Boy with all the anger he can muster. Bully Boy stutters with fear. Then he turns to anushka with same anger and she proves her point within seconds. That’s it.
        He proved to court and passed instant judgement. Instant justice was over the top to install fear, while the point he made was already justified satisfactorily by ramya. So she continues on to say
        ” So, if he has committed crime you have no right to give you ishments in front of king. King has to give it. You are perhaps doing it with the intention of getting to be the king because that’s what your wife wanted for her baby shower. For that crime you will be punished”
        So, that is the strongest inference I can get from that scene.

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  7. Pingback: Bahubali Posts Index – dontcallitbollywood

  8. “The fight in the rain in B1 appears to be a moment of uncontrolled fury from our simple forest-raised Prabhas 2.”

    I loved this scene. It was like they were all enveloped in a deluge of emotion.

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  9. “but as a symbol of an egregious misuse of power.”

    Amarendra had voowed to protect Devasena’s honor and person at Kuntala. When he kill Sethupathy, that’s him going “My word is law”. The irony of him appearing as a foil to Sivagami is delicious.

    “There is a power in patience.”

    I don’t think anyone can accuse Devasena of being patient. There isn’t a single instance of her showing an iota of patience in either film. Her imprisonment wasn’t her own choice. And even under imprisonment she’s preparing for a violent attack. Nobody takes her seriously (except Bhallala who has the good sense to put her in chains. The woman knows how to use weapons and she has no qualms killing people!) because they see her as a deranged widow who lost her newborn.

    (Sidenote: I find it amazing that she isn’t put in some kalkothri in the dungeons of the palace. Bhallala clearly wants everyone in the kingdom to know that no one can ever be alone in a room with her. That’s a little Ravan-Sita sort of system of preserving her honour going on which I think is admirable considering Bhallala is a matricidal, fratricidal, nepoticidal dick!)

    “And now we are back to the Mahabharata. ”

    I sincerely hope that you would find the time to watch Dharmkshetra by The Epic Channel.

    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1rLn2U64qGQ) I dont know where you can find the full episodes but I found it to be the most important, finest commentary on the Mahabharat on TV since ever. the most amazing thing about this series is that it questions every character. They’re all on trial. They’re all flawed deeply. The overall message of the series, for me is that there’s nothing like an absolute truth and hence there cannot be an absolutely correct dharma. Please do watch, it’s amazing commentary. Dont go by my review of it!

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    • Going with your “Devasena is wrong” interpretation, could we say that her 25 year imprisonment was a “good” thing? As in, she came out of it with her flaws improved? Impatience and speaking out was always her greatest fault, to put her in a situation where she couldn’t do that for 25 years would change her. Did change her, clearly, since she didn’t even speak to Kattappa for so long. And if her other fault is expecting others to clean up her messes, then performing the fire ceremony all on her own would resolve that flaw.

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      • Devasena is the flattest character in the story. Her incarceration would be a good thing if she realised it was her actions that caused the death of her husband and her mother in law, endangered her child and all the chaos and suffering it caused the public. She never realises it so she can’t be sorry for what she did. Rather, she feels vindicated that her kid came back “for her”.

        Now, had Devasena died when Bhallala came to get her from the rebels, would Mahendra, Kattappa and the Bahubali loyalists drop their mission to reclaim the throne? NO. So Devasena is useless after Mahendra learns who he is. At least till the end of this film. She may get a full role in BB3.

        Her character is tricky. We see her as this champion of truth and good at first. I did. But she’s arrogant, ill-mannered, disrespectful, uneducated and very ambitious and there’s plenty of evidence for that in the film universe.

        She’s the pretty young princess in love with the prince we love. Take Amarendra out of the picture, would she still be as lovely? Would we love her as much had she been Bhallala’s wife saying those things to Amarendra instead of Sivagami though? She doesn’t even acknowledge that she caused the mess. A single dialogue about it like, “Sorry Ma, I was stubborn too and I couldn’t see the rift i was causing between you and Amarendra” when Sivagami apologises would have been enough to give her a proper curve. Maybe it was cut from the film.

        As for the fire ritual, that has nothing to do with expectation of others cleaning up one’s messes or absolution for one’s sins.

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        • I assume, if Devasena had married Bhalla, it would have turned out like Sivagama and Nassar. Lots of eyerolls and tired sighs.

          On Sun, Jun 25, 2017 at 10:35 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • With Devasena’s self-righteousness and ambitiousness?? LOL.. I imagine the scene as something like:

            Devasena: Jis putra ne nisswartha rajgaddi tyaag di, usi ka itna tiraskar??!!! (for some imagined slight towards Bhallaladeva from Maharaj Bahubali)
            Sivagami: Devasena!! Kya tum bhool rahi ho ki Maharaj (Bahubali) ne yuddh mein na keval Kalakeya sena ko parajit kiya tha balki unke dwara bandi banaye gaye Mashimati ke nagriko ki jaan bhi bachayi thi??!!
            Devasena: (arrogant smirk) Parantu Kalakeya Raja ki mrityu ka shreya toh mere pati Bhallaladev ko hi jata hai na, Rajmata!?! Yeh baat aap bhool gayi hain kya? (angry staring) Vriddhavastha mein kya aapki smriti itni kamzor ho gayi hai??
            Bahubali: Devasena! Tum Rajmata se is swar mein baat nahi kar sakti! Yeh Mahishmati ki sankriti ka apmaan hai!
            Devasena: (more arrogant smirking) Jo sanskriti apne rakshakon ke man-samman ka bachav na kar sake, us sanskriti ko aag laga deni chahiye!!

            Hehe.. Maybe there needs to a fanfic where Bhallala’s tragedy is brought forth by the angry Devasena and it leads to an ataryuddh! After all, not all popular public support is always “right”. Hitler was rather popular with the masses too!

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          • Oh, I saw it the other way! Bhalla, ultimately, is much weaker and easier to control than Bahubali. Devasena shows him the slightest amount of courtesy and kindness, and he becomes completely in her thrall. following your “bad Devasena” theory (which, again, I don’t agree with, but I can see the interpretation), I think she would at the first slight order Bhalla to become king and overthrow Sivagami. And unlike Bahubali, Bhalla would not hesitate and consider, but would do it immediately because he is so desperate for approval.

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