Well, it’s the B2 anniversary today. And I truly have NOTHING left to say about it. I’ll be reposting my index of full coverage in case you want a trip through memory lane, but in terms of thematic analysis and so on, I am empty. However, I can always write fanfic!!!! So the best I can do for new content is remix the plot and set it in different eras.
Bahubali in the Independence Fight
B2 is being raised in a adivasi village. There is a missionary schoolteacher who makes the kids learn English and read books and so on. B2 hates it, but his mother makes him go, tells him that this is an opportunity no one else in the history of his family has ever had, and if he hates the British, he should learn to know his enemy in order to fight them better.
One day, while B2 is playing at the foot of a waterfall, a wanted poster flies down and he sees a beautiful face and falls in love. He runs up the waterfall, and at the top sees a small village, and then the beautiful woman dressed in gender neutral clothing, with her hair cut short, running from a group of British soldiers. He chases to rescue her, only to discover she does not need rescuing! She was leading them into an ambush, they are beaten by men and women dressed like her, and then told this is their punishment for beating in the town square an innocent boy just for saying “Jai Hind”.
(This could totally be a wanted poster, right?)
B2 follows Tamannah back to her home, and finds her living with a group of other young people, and one older leader. He overhears a big internal discussion, two members of the group have fallen in love. The leader throws them out, declaring they must either vow to forget their love, to love only India and their fellow group members and not form individual bonds, or leave never to return. Tamannah watches all of this silently, and B2 looks thoughtful.
Later, Tamannah sneaks away from the group to go to a nearby pond and look at her reflection. She fluffs her short hair, and drapes her scarf like a sari. And briefly has a vision of her mother smiling back at her. B2 watches all this, and makes a headpiece out of leaves and stones, and drops it on her. She does not notice until later when she returns to the group, and is angry about it.
Finally, Tamannah is given an important task, to free their leader in exile, the greatest freedom fighter this region has ever known, who is captive in the nearby city. She leaves for her journey, but along the way she finds a piece similar to the one B2 made for her lying on the ground and follows the trail. Eventually, she meets B2 and they come to blows. She chases him, and the end up in an old abandoned Haveli. They fight and he makes her pretty and feminine, and she catches a glimpse of herself in a mirror and suddenly softens. They dress in the old rich clothing left in the Haveli, and have sex in a bedroom. The next morning, Tamannah sneaks out before he is awake. And immediately is captured by a group of British soldiers. She fights them off, but is losing, when suddenly B2 appears!!!!!!! He rescues her, they escape together, but she is shot in the shoulder. She orders him to take her to a healer who is loyal to their cause. And then tries to stand and continue on her mission, but the healer warns that she has lost a lot of blood and leaving and moving could kill her. With no other option, B2 offers to complete the mission for her, saying that he has no life if she dies, so it doesn’t matter if he risks his whole life to complete her task.
Meanwhile, in the city, there is an evil British collaborator ruler Rana. He and his British bullies love to taunt Anushka, who is tied up in the town square as an example of what happens if you go up against British rule. Kattappa, the noble chief of the royal guard (the only Indian military force allowed in this territory), is disgusted but has no other choice but to follow the Raja he has sworn to obey.
(Such a British collaborator type, right? Only cares about maintaining his personal power, not the greater good?)
Until, B2 arrives! He dresses in a royal guard uniform and sneaks into the palace, and then finally rescues Anushka. There is a great chase, the British officers and the royal guard and Rana’s spoiled son all go after them. B2 manages to break free, just as the Adivasi people who raised him appear (lead by his mother) and the rebels lead by a still weak Tamannah. At the last minute, just as Kattappa is about to kill him, he stops and instead kneels before him and hails him as his ruler.
Flashback!!! Years earlier, there was a great Queen Regent of the kingdom. The British were trying to gain a foothold, but she easily turned them back through confident diplomacy. But what she didn’t realize was that her own son Rana was working against her, jealous of his cousin B1, he had befriended a British trader and was secretly plotting to take charge of the kingdom. Not knowing this, she sent B1 away, to Europe, to gain final training and knowledge in order to better rule in a global world, with only Kattappa to accompany him.
In Europe, B1 insists on hiding his wealth and living like a common Indian student. He wants to see the world not as the British try to show it to the royals, but as it really is. And he also meets Anushka, the outspoken female student who is always challenging the teacher. He is told that she is a princess of a small kingdom, and a troublemaker. The British offered her education in hopes of convincing her that their way is the better way, but it only made her stronger in her beliefs. B1 is in love with her immediately, but also begins to fall in love with her politics. He attends political salons hosted by her brother and sister-in-law, learns that perhaps his kingdom’s system of appeasement and holding on to the old ways is not the best way to keep the British out. He begins to plan for a new way once he is ruler, and also flirts shamelessly with Anushka, by pretending to be a foolish uneducated peasant, and then occasionally revealing sudden moments of great political insight and wisdom. He even takes a beating from the police rather than reveal his own status and intelligence. She feels guilty for having set it up, and starts to fall in love with him, increasingly sure that he is more educated and of a higher status than he appears, and that he is also kind and clever. Finally, while she and her brother and sister-in-law are traveling in an open carriage, they are set upon by racist thugs. B1 suddenly appears and rescues them. In gratitude, her brother offers anything he wants. B1 asks for Anushka’s hand in marriage, her brother grants it, and just at this happy moment Kattappa appears, having received a telegram ordering them to return home immediately with Anushka. Kattappa and B1 are thrilled, sure that this is in response to the letter Kattappa sent describing Anushka and B1’s love for her.
(Yes, in many ways this is the plot of Veer)
But, what they don’t know, is that back in India evil Rana stole the letter. And, with the help of his British friends, started working to make his own marriage to Anushka happen. The British put pressure on her, warning that any attempt to marry her heir to the heir of another royal family would be seen as breaking their current treaties. And Rana put pressure from the other side, suggesting that the only hope was for him to marry into another royal family, combining powers in that way. He suggested Anushka, as from a neighboring kingdom and part of a strong family that could help them keep the British at bay. While Anushka and B1 slowly traveled by land and boat back to India, a series of telegrams flitted back and forth between Anushka’s family and the queen, arranging a formal treaty of protection and alliance, Anushka’s family believing that they were arranging a marriage for Anushka with B1 and also believing that B1 was merely the brother and not the heir. By the time they arrived, the marriage was not just a marriage, but an elaborate political pact that was seen as the only possible hope to save their kingdom from becoming a British protectorate.
When the truth is revealed, the Queen is furious and embarrassed, and scared that the British ambassador will immediately take control of their kingdom. Anushka speaks up not just against being forced into marriage with Rana, but against the fear of the British that is driving it, saying that they are strong independent kingdoms and should fight for their independence instead of fearfully letting it be chipped away piece by piece. The end result is suggested by the British ambassador (with Rana’s prodding). The treaties can remain in place and all will be forgotten if Rana is raised to be the heir and B1 is lowered to be merely a member of the royal family who is marrying a member of another royal family.
The people are furious! B1 has already been kind to them, giving to charity, visiting the neighborhoods, just generally treating them like friends more than subjects. But the queen forces them to accept the decision, and the British army offers to “help” maintain control. A British cantonment opens in the city for the first time.
Anushka is furious at this. When she sees a British officer forcing women to make way for him in the marketplace, she confronts him. When he attempts to shove her aside (despite her being pregnant), she stands fast and instead shoves him back and then abuses him in front of everyone in both English and Hindi. She is thrown in jail in the cantonment. B1, when he learns of this, storms the cantonment, beating the soldiers left and right, and then finally rescuing her and carrying her out.
(Anushka has this kind of attitude towards the British, why be scared?)
The Queen is furious as well, and terrified that the British will use this as an excuse to take more control. She throws B1 and Anushka out of her house and out of her city. They settle instead in the unincorporated area on the outskirts. And peasants start coming to join them there. Anushka sets up a school and teaches them English and Hindi, and also political philosophy. B1 teaches them self-defense and tactics, and the history of their noble kingdom. The British are worried that this group will weaken their power, has already weakened their power. And Rana is worried that his power is being weakened as well. So they set a trap. The British speak to Anushka’s cousin, convincing him that they (the British) are worried about Rana as well, he has lost control, they would rather give the kingdom to B1 and let him rule sensibly. But first, they need Rana to be destroyed without the British seeming to be involved. Anushka’s cousin falls for the plan and sneaks into Rana’s chambers, only to discover it is a trap. He is supported by a group of British soldiers in plain clothes, Rana kills them all, the queen finds them there and believes that B1 has made a treasonous deal with the British in order to destroy and the kingdom and give it to them in revenge for throwing him out. She cannot make this public, as the British will use it as an excuse to take control of the kingdom, but she also cannot risk it. And so she orders Kattappa to kill B1.
Kattappa arranges an ambush. A group of British soldiers attacks Kattappa on the outskirts of B1’s village as Anushka is giving birth, B1 comes to save him, and after the British have weakened him with bullets, finally Kattappa stabs him with his own sword. Anushka takes the baby to the royal palace and the Queen finally learns the truth. She takes the child and goes on the run with it, with British soldiers chasing her, taking it all the way to the forest where it will be safe. The Adivasi saw her defeat the last few British soldiers, which is why B2’s mother was always worried about him leaving the village.
Back in the present day, B2 is furious when he hears this story!!! He declares that he will throw out the British who arranged the death of his father and imprisoned his mother, there is no more time to wait. And so the revolutionary squadron lead by Tamannah, and the Adivasis, and Katappa’s royal guard, all join together to attack the British cantonment and drive out Rana. And, finally, raise the Indian flag over the royal palace as B2 declares that from this day forward there are no kingdoms and no kings, there is only India.
(This version, the old-school flag when it was still a spinning wheel and not an Asoka wheel)
Bahubali in Present Day
Very similar to the last option! B2 is raised in an adivasi village, with a dedicated teacher who got a missionary scholarship and then returned to teach. He sees a spark in B2 and encourages him for further studies, wants him to go away to college, but B2’s mother is strangely reluctant and so B2 remains in the village, faithful to his promises to his mother. Until one day he sees a news report of a woman giving a political speech and falls in love with her beautiful face and passion. It is enough for him to leave the village and go in search of her.
He finally finds her being chased through city streets by a group of political thugs. He things he will save her, only to find that she has the support of her own group of political workers who save her. He follows them back to their meeting place, learns they are an honest independent political organization, fighting back against the entrenched political powers who run this town. But they have also all sworn to reject any ties beyond politics, to dedicate their lives entirely to the country.
(Like this group, young and passionate, only with a much stricter leader who refuses to allow them to think about love, or anything else besides politics)
B2 follows Tamannah around, discovers her secret yearning to regain her female identity, she is given an important task of rescuing a political dissident from jail where she is wrongfully imprisoned, she first tries to follow and identify B2, they fight in an old theater, he makes her beautiful, they end up using the theater props and costumes in a love song and then having sex, she leaves the next morning before he is awake and is immediately set upon by thugs from the enemy political group. B2 saves her, but she is sliced along her side and bleeding terribly. He takes her to a clinic and forces them to treat her, she tries to leave and continue her mission but is told it will kill her, B2 begs her to stay since if her life ends so will his. Finally, he agrees to take on her mission.
Meanwhile, the entrenched powers are the historical ruler for the area who has been elected to represent them over and over again, the police follow his orders, he has total control. And he is training his son in the same way. They have kept Anushka in prison for decades with no charges filed or bail thanks to the local police looking the other way, a warning for what happens to their political enemies. Kattappa, the honest police chief, has no choice but to go along with their orders or lose his position.
B2 saves Anushka by thinking outside the box, tearing down the entire back wall of the jail in order to free her. But then he is chased by the police, and Rana’s son who is leading the political thugs that work for their family. On the outskirts of town, he finally frees himself and fights back, just as Tamannah leads her group of political workers to them, and the Adivasi show up just then as well. Just in time for Kattappa to recognize him as he is about to shoot him.
And, FLASHBACK. B1 was a good honest young men who wanted to dismantle the traditional political power structures. His mother was a good woman, but believed that complete power in her hands was the best way to help her city. Rana was seemingly accepting of B1 as the political heir but in reality longed for total power himself. B1 was sent away, to a whole other region of the country, for college. While there, he fell in love with the smartest most outspoken woman in his class, a local girl whose brother was a political leader, but a softer leader, who contested elections honestly and cared about the issues more than maintaining power. B1 hid his intelligence and background because he didn’t want Anushka to judge him as one of the entrenched powers she was against, but eventually it all came out, just as he had successfully saved her from a mob when one of her brother’s speeches was challenged by his political rivals, Kattappa came rushing up because his mother was calling him on his cell phone. Anushka and her brother are worried about her going off somewhere far away to marry into this powerful family, but B1 convinces them she will be safe on his honor.
(Godha! That’s where I just saw this)
However, once they reach home, B1’s mother is FURIOUS. She does not think that the people will accept a leader with a wife from outside. After a pitched battle, B1 finally agrees he will not contest the elections, Rana can stand in his place, he will be happy merely running the family charitable foundation with the woman he loves to support him.
There is a brief happy period, B1 and Anushka turn the charity into a bigger success than ever before, helping everyone who comes to them, he is becoming more and more popular. Rana is jealous and worried, considers that B1 might win the election as a write-in candidate, he had to do something. So he frames B1, makes it appear that the charity is just a front for illegal activity, that Anushka is helping him to import criminals from outside into the city, and that they tried to kill Rana in an effort to stop him from preventing their illegal activities. Heartbroken, B1’s mother talks to Kattappa, her loyal police chief, and orders him to create an “encounter” and kill B1. It happens on the day that Anushka gives birth, she drags herself from her bed to confront B1’s mother and convince her that Anushka was innocent all along, and so was B1. And therefore, the mother takes B2 and flees, with Rana’s thugs in pursuit, to the Adivasi village. B2 is raised there, but his mother always remembered how he had arrived and was afraid to let him leave.
Back in the present, B2 is very angry. And so he declares they will gather together and fight on the greatest battlefield there is….ELECTIONS!!!! Following in the footsteps of his parents, he will choose non-violence unless he is driven to violence, he will give speeches on his positions and what he will do for the town, they will encourage the media to report on Rana’s illegal activities, and Kattappa will lead the police in investigating Rana.
It all comes to a head on election day, the thugs attempt to stop Anushka from going to the polls and giving her speech in support of B2, Tamannah defends her, and meanwhile B2 is going head to head with Rana in an exhibition wrestling match that Rana taunted him into. He wins the match, he wins the election, Rana is arrested, and Anushka is installed as, once again, head of her charitable foundation and moral leader of the town.
(Or maybe she should be the candidate who wins the elections? I don’t know, what do you think?)
If we could only make one of these, which one?
What should be the two regions of the country for the second, B2 is from Bihar and Anushka is from Andhra Pradesh? B2 is from Tamil Nadu and Anushka is from Delhi? Something else? A little Bengali in there maybe?
Should there be a Bhagat Singh cameo or reference in the first one? How about Gandhi?