Film of the Decade: Bahubali or Not Bahubali?

Really, there’s only one contender here. It’s Bahubali, or Other. And if it’s Other, you better be ready to defend your choice.

Popularity, influence, pure artistic achievement, take your pick! By one or all of those measures, what would be your Film of the Decade?

Bahubali. Epic, record breaking box office, amazing originality, astonishing achievement. Obvious choice.

Dabangg. Salman’s biggest hit that marked him as the most reliable box office star of the Khans. Plus, it’s GREAT! And brought in a new era of action film in Hindi cinema.

Dangal. Aamir Khans biggest box office ever, ground breaking as a sports film and bringing in the idea of strong non-romantic female leads as box office viable.

Jab Harry Met Sejal. Because we love it.

Pick one! And tell me why!

Or, at the very least, pick a runner up to Bahubali.

19 thoughts on “Film of the Decade: Bahubali or Not Bahubali?

  1. Obviously Bahubali is number 1 but for my runner up I would pick Band Baaja Baraat because it started the new wave of small, family oriented, independent-esq films set in other regions of India that are not Mumbai.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I like this argument! Badhai Ho, Dream Girl, even Stree in a way, all come from BBB.

      On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 3:00 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • I have personal arguments about why they mean so much to me. I only got into Bollywood a couple years ago, so most of my all time favorites are from this decade.
        Chennai Express (first Bollywood movie I ever saw, lots of positive memories associated with it)
        SOTY (I watched it when I was starting my teaching career and was under an insane amount of stress, the escapism of it really helped)
        HSKD (one of the best romcoms I’ve seen in any language, Humpty is such a good character)
        Ram-Leela (the first SLB movie I thoroughly enjoyed, also Deepver)


        • I agree with all of these, except that I have Ram-Leela. And you have inspired me! I clearly need to do a “favorite movies of this decade” post so we can all share out stories.

          On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 5:08 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



  2. Am I the only person who didn’t love Bahubali? It was okay. I was mostly entertained but there were plenty of boring parts and a lot of the narrative didn’t make much sense (how old is Kattappa supposed to be anyway?). The fight scenes were incredible, I’ll give the movie that. The director has a strong sense of the mise en scene, where all the elements were in the frame and how they related to each other, which I find often gets lost in big films with lots of CGI. But the characters were wafer thin.


    • You are the only person! But seriously, it’s possible if you come back to it in a different way, you might enjoy it. Bahubali is so clearly having a conversation with the Mahabharata, it is less about creating characters that can stand on their own and more about taking an established set of characters and conflicts that would be familiar to the audience and placing them in a way that creates new moral conundrums. It’s a different goal than other kinds of films. The Mahabharata is less of a story and more of a teaching tool for ethical and philosophical questions, and Bahubali expands on that. Forget if Katappa is a realistic character, think about what he says related to obedience and order versus deeper morality. He’s based on Drona from the Mahabharata and those questions would be familiar to the audience. Even his age is something the audience would ignore because, like Drona and Bhishma in the Mahabharata, there would be an assumption that part of his great mastery of weaponry included the ability to live far beyond the normal span. That’s another deeper metaphorical meaning from the Mahabharata, Drona and Bhishma were from the oldest generation, they were watching a conflict happening between children they raised and those children’s children. Loyalty shifts across generations, the right person in the past is the wrong person now, but the older generation is trapped in those old allegiances.

      Anyway, if Bahubali is no go for you, what would be your pick for movie of the decade.

      On Tue, Dec 31, 2019 at 7:24 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



    • Count me in the list. Agree with your comment completely. It’s just another movie for me. I am in Hyderabad, have seen all the craziness that is natural and unique (other than Tamils) to Telugus when it comes to movies – whether it is buying a 200INR ticket for 2000 or in US for $50, and proud that a Telugu movie made it large nationally and internationally – still, feel the movies (both parts) are hyped and had lot of boring parts and weak plots swept away by the marketing hype and Prabhas-Anushka.


    • No, I´m 100% there with you. Especially the first one is racist and boring. Yeah, I said it. Second one is just boring.

      The problem is a lack of characterisation and character and relationship based drama, which should be the backbone of any Indian drama. You can make up for that with the plot, or with aesthetics, but the plots weren´t great and the aesthetics weren´t special either aside from the staging of some of the action, so to me it´s just okay.

      Compare that to Padmaavat, which was stupid as balls but it did give youa few very competently drawn characters and relatioship based drama among the cast around the villain, and also had really coherent and interesting aesthetics.

      Who IS Prabhas´s character in Baahubali? What is he like as a person? What is his emotional life? I don´t know, and he isn´t taking his shirt off enough to compensate.


    • I also didn’t love it, but I thought maybe it was because I was watching it on a small screen. Perhaps if I saw it in a theater with a lot of other people who were loving it I would feel different. Actually, I didn’t finish it.


  3. I’m assuming that you mean both parts of Baahubali and I totally agree. But if you want some movies I would consider contenders, I would include Eega and Enthiran for the impact that they had as well.


    • Ooo, Enthiran is interesting, considering it was the first non-Hindi film to be the top money maker in India. Bahubali broke all its records, btu it was the first.

      On Thu, Jan 16, 2020 at 11:39 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:



      • Yup! I don’t think Eega broke records like Enthiran but it was also very highly hyped and it was able to get dubbed into Hindi and released in the market and that really helped market Baahubali in Hindi.


  4. I think it’s Dangal. I do believe BAHUBALI (esp. 2) was the more epic and personally like the film better. But I’m also Chinese American. I think 3 Idiots kicked the Chinese market open because of its subject, Dangal allow the Chinese audience to embrace something more Indian. While I agree BAHUBALI is more groundbreaking and more pan-India, I can’t deny the more international following of Aamir Khan (and Bollywood). Additionally, on a global level, BAHUBALI will be judged for its action, CGI, and other technical elements. Whereas Dangal offers a more, common emotional punch. I can see a small American audience going to see Dangal (because America is very America-centric) but likely not going to see BAHUBALI I’m the cinemas because the latter will be viewed as on par with the Iron Man, Batman, and the other huge epics as Lord of the Ring. And simply put, I don’t think India has the mass appeal Hollywood offers even though quality may be comparable at times.


    • Thank you for the comment!!!! Really interesting points, makes total sense.

      I hope you comment on other posts, there’s lots to talk about here!


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