Happy Friday! The Battle continues! I was thinking I would be done with my scene by scene posts by now, but I guess not. Maybe I can do another surge today, and then I can come back for the ending and final summary posts next week. We’ll see. (part 24 here, you can go back from there)
Previously: Everything happened! We got all the way to the final battle, Anushka was captured by Rana and taken back into the city, Prabhas 2 was initially driven back, but Kattappa encourage him to think like his father, and he came up with STUPIDEST IDEA EVER, to use palm trees as catapults and send groups of fighters with linked arms up onto the top of the wall, starting with Prabhas 2 and Kattappa.
Everything begins to be a big confusing in this section. Kattappa and Prabhas 2 split up as more little soldier bullets rain down around them and split up and start fighting too. Kattappa ends up fighting near where Nassar is hiding. Nassar speaks to him, reminds him of his loyal service, puts his hand on his shoulder and directs him to look at Prabhas 2 fighting, his back exposed, Kattappa could end this threat just like he ended the last one, and redeem the honor of his ancestors by obeying orders. Kattappa grabs his sword, and then turns and uses the handle to strike Nassar, declaring that he doesn’t have to follow him, because Ramya had declared Prabhas 2 as heir before she died, now Kattappa can follow Prabhas 2.
Well, this is a fascinating exchange! First of all, of course, NASSAR!!! WHY AREN’T YOU DEAD YET??? This is something I find myself saying every 2 minutes for the rest of the film. He’s just so horrible! I think I want bad things to happen to him even more than to Rana.
(Just die already!!!!)
Secondly, the way Nassar is so sure of Kattappa’s loyalty, it should seem stupid, only we in the audience have that moment of doubt as well. He is standing there listening, Nassar has his hand on his shoulder, in an echo of the way Rana used a hand on Nassar’s shoulder to control him so long ago. And when he turns to look at Prabhas 2, his hand on his sword, for a moment it seems like he really will attack. Kattappa is such a complex character, we can believe that he will feel the chains of slavery tighten again, even in the midst of battle, and be turned.
Golem! That’s who he reminds me of, Golem from Lord of the Rings. You can learn to trust him, he can seem to grow as a person, but always there is that threat lurking below the surface that you can’t be sure about. The characters trust him more than the audience. But that is his redemption, that illogical and foolish faith from others strengthens his goodness, and helps him to throw the bad out.
Which is why Kattappa throws off Nassar’s hand and raises his sword against him, instead of against Prabhas 2. Well, sort of. In the last section, I talked about how, as I saw it, Kattappa was finally “free” after he killed Prabhas 1, free because he had been so broken that he had lost even his strength to obey. He was “chained” again when Ramya gave him something to believe in, gave him back his will. Only after helping her, he was lost, with the will back that kept him alive, but with that came his unrelenting awareness of his duty to serve. For 25 years, that will was slowly weakened, until he found the loosest possible way to use it as an excuse to rescue Anushka, to fight against his bonds. And when Prabhas 2 appeared, he rushed forward to follow him without thought.
It’s only now that Kattappa has to think again. And yes, the more satisfying answer would be for him to throw off Nassar and just say that he won’t kill Prabhas 2 because he doesn’t want to and it would be wrong. But that would mean Kattappa isn’t choosing a new leader, a new person to follow, it is all anarchy. Kind of interesting that the audience at this point in the film has come to crave anarchy, to want everyone to follow their own hearts. But if Kattappa were to do that, it would mean that Prabhas 2 is just another person. He has to re-affirm Prabhas’ authority and the justness of his rule, or else the entire film falls apart, the entire concept of the Prabhases being something slightly different, better, destined to rule. At least, that’s how I think some of the time, other of the time I think “Kattappa! KILL NASSAR!!!!”
Prabhas 2 and Kattappa are having their own individual battles here, but that’s not enough to win, that’s the whole lesson of this section. And so Kattappa reminds Prabhas 2 that have the army is trapped outside the gates. And Prabhas cries out “Grandfather! Send me a hammer!” and then takes off, sliding down the trunk of the huge stone elephant, spinning into the air, and snatching a massive hammer from thin air as Kattappa sends it to him. He lands on the chains holding up the bridge and uses the hammer to start beating on them.
Some interesting stuff. Once again, Prabhas 2 is using a manmade tool. But using it to destroy a manmade object. Even more interesting, he is using his own strength in manual labor. Hitting something with a hammer isn’t the same as stabbing someone with a sword. This is the kind of thing Rana would never do, because it is beneath his dignity. And that Prabhas 1 was constantly doing, because he felt a duty to use his strength however it would help in the world. Oh, and also, pretty sure a lot of it is because they saw the Thor movies and thought it was cool how he would leap into the air and grab the hammer.
There’s also the idea that Prabhas 2 is serving his army, not the other way around. Rana cuts them down with his lawnmower chariot, Prabhas 2 risks his life to help them enter the city. No wonder we have a glimpse of some king’s guard people fighting for Prabhas 2 by the end of the battle.
(this guys, the ones with whips and orange-ish clothing)
And there is the fact that Prabhas 2 knows he needs to be reunited with his soldiers. I could almost see Prabhas 1 just fighting solo, not wanting to ask for help or acknowledge he needs help. Heck, that’s kind of what he did in the Pindari battle! And he only went back to rally the troops in the Kalakeya battle because they were tired and losing, not because he wanted them to come help him. But Prabhas 2 has no problem deciding that he needs more people to fight on his side, and doing what needs to be done to get them to him.
Everything moves very fast after this, we see Tamanna riding in at the head of the reinforcements, somehow they seem to just sweep through the city and end up in the central square, where two soldiers are trying to chain up Anushka again while Rana watches. For the choreography of this next section, it has to be like this, that Anushka and Rana are in slightly different areas. But it’s also interesting for Rana’s obsession. He doesn’t need her to be close, he doesn’t even need to touch her, he just needs for her to be under his control. His men holding her back are the same as his chains tying her down.
The other reason it has to be like this is so Prabhas 2 can quickly free Anushka and set her on her way before his big battle with Rana starts. He knocks off her chains, and then orders “Tamanah! Light the fire!” and Tamannah lights the pot of coals. It’s placed on Anushka’s head, and Prabhas 2 further calls out for the staff, and Kattappa pops up from under the water with a staff that is tossed to Anushka. And finally, Prabhas 2 orders her “Mother, start your journey” and she begins to walk around the courtyard, just as Ramya did 26 years earlier.
This is one of those moments that resolves a whole bunch of things very quickly. First, hey! Someone remembered Tamannah! I wish SO MUCH that she had gotten more scenes. But they did manage to break it down to the very bedrock of what the audience needs to see from her and put that in. She is in the battle scenes, leading the troops even. So she is still a warrior who can fight for and with Prabhas 2, their love scene didn’t permanently weaken her. And here, she is being asked to light the sacred fire, which is a pretty clear sign that she is part of the family now. And as Anushka does her circumambulation, Tamannah will be in charge of the group guarding her, again showing both her high level as a warrior and her position in the family. Sure, dialogue would have been nice too, like, anything besides “Shivu!” and “Stay close, guard the princess!”, but they did give us the bare minimum to resolve her character.
(She’s dirty and bruised and angry looking, so yay! Back to her old self, sex didn’t change everything)
Secondly, the staff in the water. It’s not just that Anushka and Ramya weren’t around so this ceremony was forgotten. The ceremonial staff had been tossed into the pond. Either Rana, in a fit of pique, had dumped it there because he wanted to get rid of any indication of female power, even ceremonial spiritual power. Or someone else (Kattappa?) had hidden it there for safe keeping hoping that this day would come. Either way it is an indication that the feminine has been under the surface, hidden, for 26 years. And finally, now, is bursting forth. Oh, and also various elements and water symbolism which I will get into in some big round up post at some point because there is so much of it, you can keep it to just one scene.
And then Nassar is STILL ALIVE!!! But I can see why they needed him alive for this sequence. Rana and Prabhas 2 are the active ones, fighting it out, but the forces that are driving them are Nassar and Anushka, their parents. Nassar is the epitome of all that is bad, and Anushka of all that is good. But they would never be matched in a straight-forward fight, because part of what is bad about Nassar is his unwillingness to do anything for himself, the way he lets others take charge and work for him while he cowardly sniffles and complains in the background. Anushka is the opposite of that, if it were a true battle, she would be on the frontlines while he hid in the background.
But it is not a true battle, a physical battle, it is a spiritual and mental one, and that is where Anushka and Nassar really meet. If Anushka finishes her 3 rounds, the priest warns Nassar that Prabhas 2 will never meet defeat. And so Nassar, from the background, sends his men forward to try to stop her.
Also, Priests! What’s up with that? This movie seems to have a strong sense that a priest is only as good as the person they serve. They are neutral, essentially, like a sword or any other tool. While Ramya and Anushka are spiritual forces for good during this ceremony, and Prabhas 2 gains much of his power from his direct connection to Shiva, the priests are more sort of there to facilitate the connection, not to guide it or use it in any way themselves. Basically, this film has a firm line of Kshatriya>Brahmin.
While Anushka and Nassar have their battle on the spiritual plain, with a priest to help Nassar, and Kattappa and Tamannah to help Anushka, Prabhas 2 and Rana finally confront each other. But that is too big of a thing to get into in this post, next post!
I was also hoping that Nassar would finally die by this point. The scene where nassar confronted kattapa I almost began to think that kattapa would behead Nassar. But then it was such a disappointment that he just simply slapped him and left him without so much as binding him. I think by this time I had gotten fed up with kattapa and nassar and also rana. Kind of like die soon. I want to see a happy ending.
Then when anushka was slapped by the guard who was chaining her Rana gave this super creepy expression kind of like he was sniffing happiness by watching her in pain. She’s like his personal drug and whenever she’s in pain he’s in ecstacy.
And then when prabhas 2 asks anushka to start her journey he says this dialogue, ” yes go anushka. I will present you with your son’s head by the time you finish your three rounds.” Imagine him thinking,”You were happy holding my son’s head so I’m guessing you have a fascination with people’s head. Ergo I’d like to present you with your son’s head too.” And people call him a tyrant King without understanding his generosity. He’s just seriously under appreciated.
You are right, poor Rana! He just wants to make people happy in the only way he knows how 🙂
I think that slap moment must have been what made me notice that he wasn’t even near her while she was being chained, but he didn’t need to be. It’s not about the actual contact, it’s about someone at his order doing something, that’s all he needs, to know he is causing her pain, even second hand.
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 8:23 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
I wonder how no one ever realized how seriously disturbed he was.
Rana or Nassar? With Rana, I could believe it was because part of his disturbance was how secret he kept it. He liked controlling himself too, never really letting the madness out.
With Nassar, I think it’s because he was so gosh-darn irritating everyone had learned to just kind of tune him out.
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 9:44 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
After you description I hate Bhalla even more. What kind of addiction is this? Feeding of someone’s pain?
Bijjaladeva lost wife, son and grandson and has to live a lonely life. On top of it he had to handover crown to Devasena/Mahendra Bahubali. Wasn’t this punishment better than death?
Punishment, yes, but I also have a feeling of “no! Evil will work its way back!” so long as he is alive. If they keep him as a family prisoner, in one of the palace suites or something, he could still manage to influence one of their kids, or some of the guards, or something. Just cut it off at the root!
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 8:31 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
In the book Rise of Sivagami (Bahubali Before the Beginning), Bijjaladeva is shown to be a womaniser who even rapes Sivagami’s best friend (he doesnt know Sivagami at that point).
The point is what if Bijjaladeva had some other illegitimate sons? He wouldnt think twice about using them against Mahendra. This Bijjaladeva is pure poison and needs to be weeded out (unlike Dhritarashtra).
Fanfic scheduled for tomorrow! Stay tuned! (if you just started reading these, I’ve been doing fanfic posts every Sunday for several months, and with Bahubali, I’ve already had a couple of alternate versions. Tomorrow’s fanfic is based on this exact thing!)
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 9:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Sure….will stay tuned.
About Kshatriya > brahmin. There are a lot of stances in history when it happened. The best example is our very own bimbisara, Nanda dynasty before mourya dynasty did this all the time. It is what triggered Alexander invasion, triggered chanakya/Vishnu Sharma to insults and decline of Nanda dynasty and rise of mourya dynasty of which Asoka was a grand son. In these times kshatriya were topper. It keeps changing with time. Only after Muslims came to India did this flexibility of valuing changed. Not only does it change with time, it changes with place too. In coastal areas vyshyas were topper than Kshatriyas and Brahmins. Some places, like in NE India kshudras were above vyshyas. It only became rigid later on.
You forget to mention that dialogue war between Rana and prabhas2 that really kick starts the power struggle.
I cared less about that staff. I don’t think they seemed similar, but we need to watch out for them.
It is unethical to attack a person who doesn’t weild a sword. There was just on scene, killing subbaraju, where bijjala had weapon with the intent of attack in his hand. Also, he is crippled. So it’s immoral to attack crippled ones if they are not ready to fight. Often Bijjala getsby that law a lot through out the film.
I have no memory of the Rana-Prabhas 2 dialogue! Remind me. I just remember fight-fight-fight, and then the ripping the heart out moment.
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 1:24 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Rana first looks into Prabhas face and Prabhas does the same. Then Prabhas says ” mom take this ritual thing going. While you finish three rounds I will finish this one and keep him ready inside funeral pyre”. Then Rana replies ” Don’t worry devasena. Go for your trips and by the time you return I will have your son’s head ready, like mine, to be lit on funeral pyre. Common go”
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 9:57 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
– All I’m going to say about Kattappa is that I love everything you pointed out (especially the paradox of Kattappa being untrustworthy thanks to his superhuman loyalty) but I still need to work my way through more Kattappa thoughts. I kind of love how he initially comes off as such a cliche of the loyal servitor, but the more you dig down, the more layers and complexity you discover.
– I think we all just have to accept that Nasser is the human equivalent of a cockroach and will never die. Mahishmati could be hit by a nuclear missile, and Nasser would be the one to crawl out of the wreckage, there to torment yet another generation with his terribleness.
– But you know, I think part of his immortality is also because of what he represents. If you think about it, Nasser in and of himself is 100% passive in his malice – he never actually hurts anyone himself (and, in-universe, technically could argue that he wasn’t guilty of any crimes as per the letter of the law). But like Iago in Othello (I know I read this comparison somewhere on the internet, I just can’t remember if it was here, and if so, sorry for the lack of attribution for your brilliant point, mystery commentator!), Nasser instead symbolizes that nasty voice in the back of everyone’s minds, bringing up their worst insecurities: reminding Prabhas 1 that he’s technically an orphan and just adopted into Ramya’s family, reminding Rana about how much he’s been pushed aside and neglected, reminding Ramya about how she can’t really trust Prabhas, reminding Kattappa about how he’s not following his forefather’s oath….Only Anushka (the one time he talks to her that I remember, when she’s imprisoned, we never see her face or see her react) or Prabhas 2 are immune to him, because they are both so certain of themselves that they lack the insecurities that everyone else has. And of course, you can’t kill or destroy that voice in the back of your head, you just have to learn to ignore it. Fortunately Mahishmati’s new leadership already has.
– I loved seeing Tamannah! And even though I wanted more, I agree, I was mostly glad that she was back to her baseline fighter self rather than still having to sit the fight out because of her ankle or whatever. Also, involving her in the fire ritual is a good shorthand to include her in the lineage of daughters-in-law of Mahishmati if they didn’t have time to add anything else.
– You know what Kattappa popping up with the staff reminded me of? Prabhas 1’s first scene as a grown up, when his sword gets mechanically thrown up to him from that pond (is it the same pond, so that’s what Kattappa used to propel himself up? Must check!) before he does his little display. It’s interesting that the mirror goes to Anushka, not Prabhas 2, though. But I agree about the water symbolism that pops up throughout the movie, too.
– Ramya wasn’t walking through the courtyard in exactly the same way, was she? As I recall, the essential was the same: carry the fire on your head, then destroy the demon, but Ramya had to carry it from the palace to a temple out in the country somewhere (Saahore Baahubali looks like it starts away from the main palace we see) and Anushka is instead doing a separate-but-related ritual to circling the Shiva temple three times for victory, right? That was what I took away from it, but then they pointed out the 26 year thing, and I was never sure which it technically was.
-I can understand Kattappa, but I am also still leaning on the side of “maybe don’t let him babysit the kids?” kind of thing. Like, it seems as though if his loyalty commanded him to through your children in boiling oil, even if you just told him “don’t throw the kids in boiling oil” and he said “don’t worry, I won’t throw the kids in boiling oil”, he might still do it.
-I’m now picturing a comic book series, “Adventures of Nassar”: Nassar survives Pompeii, Nassar survives the burning of Rome, Nassar survives the siege of Troy. Every time you think he is finally dead, there he is again! Still in silk robes, with his golden wine glass.
-That was me!!! ME!!! Except, I think I might have been comparing Iago and Rana? So, totally different point than you, you get all the originality bonuses. I was saying that Rana is like Iago in that he seems so harmless, everyone ignores him and never blames him because it’s just Rana. I like your idea of Nassar being the ever-present doubt and weakness in all our minds much better. Especially if you consider that he functioned that way even for the “heroes”, working on Subbaraju’s doubts and weaknesses to turn him.
-Yeah, really just seeing her in the final battle, taking command, is all we needed to finish her character arch.
-ooo, good point! In general, Prabhas 1 seems to be fire more than water, while Prabhas 2 is water more than fire. Which I also think is a sign of the times they live in. Anushka bringing together fire and water in this moment has all kinds of meanings.
-Yes, that’s what I remembered too. I think the description was to travel around to the temple with the fire and staff and then destroy the demon. So they changed it up a little, saying that this is the new temple, and Rana is the new demon. I saw it as more a general all purpose simplified version of the ceremony, which Prabhas 2 came up with on the fly, and then for narrative purposes we had the useless priest confirm to Nassar that this version would actually work, so the audience knew to make the connection. Anushka had been planning for it all along with her fire pit for Rana, so maybe she told PRabhas 2 that they had to do it like this in one of those scenes we didn’t get to see?
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 4:21 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
– HA, I knew it was here! All the brilliant points I remember come from here! Well, I am so so sorry for forgetting it was you, but yay for getting to keep some originality points for remembering wrong 😉 And yes, Subbaraju! I knew I’d forgotten someone, but yeah, it works exactly the same way, getting Subbaraju to think he’s not doing enough to help Prabhas and Anushka and leading him down the road to disaster.
– Skipping down to the ceremony part, yes, that’s what I thought too, that it wasnt exactly the way the ritual was supposed to be performed, but that they were improvising once they got inside? Or maybe it wasn’t part of Anushka’s plan from the start, but then when Kattappa started his story and they realized it had been around 26 years, they decided to just throw it in?
-All the brilliant things ever always come from this blog! Life lessons, movie interpretations, brilliantly sexy photos, all of it!
-Or maybe Kattappa completely made it up just because it suddenly occurred to him as something that could kind of work? I mean, no one else from that time is around, right?
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 4:52 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
To me it was clear it was the same ceremony, because of the “once in 26 years” thing at the beginning. Most of these kinds of rituals in Hinduism are highly adaptable to changing circumstance. They focused on the key points — the daughter-in-law of the house undertaking a difficult ordeal at the temple to vanquish the evil present in the kingdom.
On Fri, May 26, 2017 at 9:02 PM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Kind of skipping ahead, but when the Rana statue’s head rolled away, I thought Nasser would be crushed under it, but no, he just hid behind a pillar. I get that Anushka and Prabhas2 are immune to his machinations, but he can still influence the next generation. They would have to ensure that their children don’t get affected by him, just too much work. It would have been so much simpler just to kill him.😑
We don’t even see him tied up, do we? If you can’t bring yourself to kill a non-combatant, then at least throw him in a cell deep deep under the palace where he can’t do any harm.
On Sat, May 27, 2017 at 1:40 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Definitely a dungeon would have been the second-best place for him after Hell.☺
Maybe he is usually in a dungeon, but they brought him out for the coronation because they knew there would be no greater punishment than watching Anushka crown Prabhas 2?
On Sat, May 27, 2017 at 11:08 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:
Isn’t the priset spared as well? I can’t remember if the rest of Rana/Nasser’s posse is spared as well?
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