Just How Much Do I Love Bahubali?

A LOT!  That’s how  much I Love Bahubali.  (Is it Baahubali or Bahubali??)  It is one of my favorite films of all time, not just of Indian films.

My next door neighbor Nish two years ago asked if I’d want to go to this South Indian film her coworkers had said was really good.  Sure.  I’m in.  Then we go and the price was $20!  Twice the normal movie ticket price.  “This better be worth 20 bucks!”

Oh. My. Gosh.  It SO was.  I unabashedly fell in love with the film, and I ended up seeing it 4 times in the theater alone.  I can’t even count how many times I’ve seen the film since it became available on Youtube.  I own the Hindi dub on Blu-ray, but I can’t really stand to watch it without my beloved Prabhas’ own voice.  (For the love of all that is holy Rajamouli, make the Telugu available on Blu-Ray!!)

prabhas-shivudu-role-in-baahubali-movie_143140913210

This image was my Ipad lock screen for two years, until I replaced it with a new image from Bahubali 2.  I fell in love with Prabhas from this movie, and now own several of his films on DVD.

bahubali-wide

I was captivated, jaw hanging open from the opening sequence with that huge waterfall and the kick-ass queen fighting two soldiers with an arrow sticking out of her back — while holding a newborn!

The visuals in this film just knocked my socks off.  I don’t know how many times I watched the Dhivara video!   I explain this film to people who don’t watch Indian film as The Lord of the Rings of Indian Cinema.  It’s mythic and grand in scale with fantastic CGI world building.  S. S. Rajamouli is quite simply a genius filmmaker.  He has a huge vision, and he’s one up on Peter Jackson because he wrote the damn story himself, instead of just adapting a series of books.

After I saw Bahubali, I sought out Rajamouli’s other films, and I was even more gobsmacked.  Who else but the master, S. S. Rajamouli would reincarnate his hero as a FLY?

Even his early film Chatrapathi with Prabhas showed crazy imagination.  Prabhas introduction scene has him fighting a SHARK!

 

Bahubali has amazingly compelling characters.  Prabhas even gets to play two!  Shivu and his father Bahubali in the flashback second half. My personal favorite is the queen Sivagami, who raises both her own son Bhalla and Bhahubali:

bahubali-mamta-759

This scene after she squashes a rebellion, knifes an attacker while holding a newborn (!!) and then nurses both infants after mounting the throne is my favorite!  I love her!

Rajamouli has made a film with strong women characters even though the main thrust of the narrative is Prabhas’s story, both as Shivu and Bahubali.  Yes, there is that problematic scene that some call a rape, but my first take was the same as Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood’s.  Tamannah’s warrior is living a harsh life devoid of beauty and joy, and Shivu delights in showing her beauty and love.  And that sexy nibble of her jewelry on her belly gets me every. single. time.

 

I love all the music of the original Bahubali film, and tortured my family by listening to the soundtrack non-stop for weeks and watching the videos over and over.  Especially Manohari.

 

The film does have a few flaws.  For my birthday last summer, I sat down my two younger sons and had them watch the film with me -the only Indian film they’ve ever seen.  (Mother’s Day this year will be all three of my sons going to the theater to see Bahubali 2.  I’ve warned them this is my present!)  My son Zach really liked the Avantika character, but then was upset that she just gets that hurt ankle, and as he put it, “Then, nothing!”  I’m holding out some hope she will have a strong part in the Bahubali 2, but the trailer seems to mostly emphasize the romance with Anushka from Bahuabli’s past.

kalakeya1

And then there’s the racism.  Really, Rajamouli?  Actual blackface on the villain Kalakeya tribe?  Ugh.

The battle scene in the second half also goes on for a very, very long time.  Yes, it’s super cool, but frankly, I’m more interested in these characters than watching Gladiator movie style battles go on and on.

Watching Bahubali set me on a journey of watching more Telugu films, starting first with the older films of Prabhas and Rajamouli.  I’ve learned about comedy uncles, and machete fight ratings, and on.  I kind of like all the violence and the machismo and larger than life Telugu star heroes.  The comedy uncles I could mostly do without, to be honest.

I even dragged Margaret of Don’t Call It Bollywood to her first showing of Bahubali (No, you HAVE to see this one!) and then she surpassed me by seeing it what, SEVEN times in the theater alone?

The first Bahubali movie was such a phenomenon.  All over India, and all over the world.  It’s been a long wait, but tomorrow I will finally learn #WKKB – Why Kattappa Killed Bahubali!  I have my $40 IMAX ticket purchased already to the first day, first matinee show of Bahubali 2 at my local theater.  I am beyond excited that it is releasing on IMAX!

 

star_rating_5_of_5

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Just How Much Do I Love Bahubali?

  1. bballamudi April 27, 2017 / 11:31 pm

    Amazing write up! I look forward for your no-spoiler review on the part2.

    Like

  2. Apu May 13, 2017 / 6:00 pm

    Helloo! Love your posts 🙂 I came here (and went everywhere else, really!!) especially for Baahubali.

    I don’t know if you feel any different about the depiction of the Kalakeyas or if somebody else has mentioned this elsewhere and you’ve read it but I am doing this now in the hope that if this is the ‘one thing’ that’s bugging you about Baahubali1, you’ll rest slightly easy after you read this. The Kalakeyas are said to be savages – literally and figuratively. I believe that their look is intentional not due to the whole ‘black vs white’ thing to represent good vs bad or royalty vs non-royalty etc but as a means to show us that they don’t believe in something as basic as hygiene. Which is why they ‘appear’ to be dark because it is just a result of not washing and keeping themselves clean and all the crusty, yucky stuff on their skin. Also, the exposure to all that harsh climate causes their skin to darken. I grew up reading and listening to stories where the ‘demons’ are always depicted as being dark, unkempt and scary looking with wild matted hair and using animal parts (sometimes even human) as accessories. I hope this settles your mind about the whole ‘racism’ issue. 🙂

    Like

    • moviemavengal May 15, 2017 / 8:45 pm

      Apu, thank you so much for commenting and the compliment! I take your point about Indian demons being depicted as being black or dark skinned. But this army didn’t seem to be supernatural — although to be honest, they reminded me mightily of the Orc army in the Lord of the RIngs movies! If they’d been demons, I guess I would have not been as bothered by the skin painting.

      Like

      • Apu May 16, 2017 / 1:40 am

        Oh, no no. The Kalakeyas are not supernatural. I meant that the ‘bad guys’ in all the stories are depicted in a similar fashion and since SSRajamouli drew a lot of inspiration from them, it makes sense that he would have gone with a similar representation. It is only to show their savage nature that they are depicted the way they are. Interestingly, I never once saw it as a racist thing (and, a lot of people I know who loved the movie) and simply took it for granted as this is a depiction we are used to. It never once struck me as a ‘colour’ thing till I read reviews that said so. The minute I saw the Kalakeyas and Saketh describing them as being savages, their look totally made sense.

        Like

  3. sheshankjoshi May 27, 2017 / 5:43 pm

    Or we can simply say, in India skin colour isn’t what is made fun of. Prabhas himself is not so white. Rajinikanth is blacker than any actor I know. Ileana D’Cruz is black. Only that they put a lot of make up we don’t realise. Though most Indians aren’t coal black we just take skin colour as a witty humour that just pops up, like turtle necks or something.
    However there is some other kind of racism here : the caste. That is shown plenty in these movies. Hope you are noticing them all the time.

    Like

    • moviemavengal May 27, 2017 / 5:46 pm

      I am still learning, and don’t get all the subtleties about caste. For instance, Margaret of Don’tCallItBollywood pointed out to me the caste issues in Dabangg. For a “silly” action movie, it actually has a very progressive message. I don’t get all the nuances — someone’s last name signifying their caste, for instance is not obvious to me.

      Like

      • sheshankjoshi May 27, 2017 / 5:54 pm

        Search for a name called “Karolina Goswami” on YouTube. She has some 14 videos explaining many realities of India. They are amazing. Check it out. She takes a dog on caste too. So, that might help you.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s