Baahubali 2 review

BB2

A movie with a slow first half. The second half bursts into prominence with the superbly shot war sequences. It also sets the viewer up for what should be a very good and better second part

This is how I ended when I wrote about Baahubali. Now having seen Baahubali 2, I can venture to say though the movie wasn’t bad by any measure, it did not match up to the expectation that I had set on the film. Whose fault is it? Mine or the director’s? It’s a combination of both.

While the first part started with a superb song and a sequence that makes you invest your thought process into the movie, the second part starts off as an exercise to eulogise Amarendra Baahubali.

The titles in this movie roll brilliantly: a sequestered attempt to tell the previous movie story through statues. In this movie, constrained by the need to move the story forward, Rajamouli takes his own time to whip up a frenzy. Like the first part, the first-half lags for quite a bit. If we have to describe it in the form of an anatomy of a wave, it hits a trough straight from the crest. The amplitude was ‘Baahubali’ sized one.

There are scenes that grab your attention in this drab phase too. One of them is where Rana and Nasar keep comparing Satyaraj to a dog. He reads through their scheming minds and says the loyalty of a dog is enough to do it. Another scene is where Anushka struggles to release two arrows from a bow but Prabhas teaches her to shoot three arrows at one go. That scene is also indicative of chemistry between the lead pair.

The drab phase seems drab because of the attempt on the part of Rajamouli to induce forced humour. It was needless. It is at this stage that we are drawn away from the movie. Thankfully, it doesn’t last for a long while.

Anushka’s entry into Mahishmathi and her subsequent showdown with Ramya Krishna are what wet dreams of actors are made of. They both excel. Ramya Krishna more so. She is a delight whenever she is on the screen. She has a presence that can’t be replicated.

Once Rajamouli gets the story moving forward, he doesn’t stop. He goes full-throttle. Rajamouli is let down by Background Music or lack there of. Keeravani does let him down horribly in this movie.

***

Prabhas, much like the movie, meanders along in the first-half of the movie; finding himself as a part of an irrelevant comedy thread, he stutters along before coming into life in the action sequences. The man has screen presence that justifies everything. Even when his visage changes from a commoner to a warrior in an instant, you believe it. His role as Amarendra Baahubali has got more screen time than that of Mahendra Baahubali. He comes into his own after coming back to Mahishmathi.

One of the best scenes of the movie involves his killing at the hands of Satyaraj. Though it does provide the answer to the question ‘Why Kattappa Killed Baahubali?’, Rajamouli isn’t driven by the need to answer the question. He doesn’t get swayed by the need to take cinematic liberties to answer the question.

For a certain length, the movie concentrates on the conflict between Devasena and Sivagami, played by Anushka and Ramya Krishna respectively. That’s the time when Amarendra Baahubali’s unwavering devotion to his mother comes through and Prabhas plays it superbly. Caught between wife and mother, he chooses to follow the right path as taught by his mother. The mother-son relationship is shown brilliantly though it is just an undercurrent. That comes across beautifully well because of Prabhas and Ramya Krishna.

Prabhas can only grow from here. One question though, has Telugu Film Industry lost Prabhas as an actor exclusive to its films? If it has, probably Prabhas might well be on his way to becoming the first pan-Indian superstar.

***

Rana’s role in a way reminds us of Manisha Koirala’s role in Dil Se. He doesn’t have a lot to say in the first half of the movie. His menace really sets in when he starts talking. He says  his rule’s effectiveness was known by how much he tortured Anushka and with her missing from the kingdom, it isn’t known anymore. Aided by dialogues, Rana becomes a different beast altogether. Of all the roles from the first part, his is the one that’s let down most by the director.

***

Anushka’s role in this movie is longer and better. Nobody envisaged the conflict angle between her and Ramya Krishna. Both shine in the respective roles. Her chemistry with Prabhas is worth watching. Before Magadheera, heroines were treated with a bit of contempt in Rajamouli’s movies. Anushka’s role is well-etched and is on par with Prabhas for the length of her role.

***

Ramya Krishna, to borrow from a review for another actress in another movie, has the other actors for breakfast, lunch and dinner whenever she is in the scene. She adds to the role and makes you want to thank Rajamouli for his inspired choice

***

Satyaraj and Nasar being the seasoned actors that they are live in the roles given to them. One has to feel for Subba Raju for accepting the role that he did, but it’s his death that sets the ball rolling for #WKKB. It’s in keeping with what he had said in an interview – I look for what the role does, not the length of the role.

***

Rajamouli leaves nothing untied in the movie. If one has to be critical, it can be said that he could’ve tightened the first-half in both the movies better. While he himself said that he lets the visuals do the talking, here he lets the actors also do the talking. There are good dialogues for everyone in the movie.

The war scenes in the second part don’t match up to the ones in the first part. He takes time in this movie to establish the characters in the movie and rightly so. To reveal the ending of the movie and yet make the movie-goers wait with anticipation for his movie is a feather in his cap

There are a few scenes where he takes the cinematic liberties to the limit. At that stage, one is reminded of a Shankar interview where he said that one cannot limit dreams.

***

Verdict: Though a natural progression to the first part, this movie has you craving for more in bits and parts. When the director gets his bearings right, we are in for a ride

Picture credit: idlebrain.com

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What made me like Chiranjeevi


In an episode of Raghavendra Rao’s Soundaryalahiri, Ravi Teja and Harish Shankar were attending as guests. They were discussing about some mundane scenes and songs. Since both of them weren’t associated with Raghavendra Rao’s movies after they gained their name and fame, they had to resort to praising Raghavendra Rao’s movies.

At a certain point in that interview, Ravi Teja and Harish Shankar were made to talk about Rowdy Alludu.

They were shown a scene from the movie and were asked to talk about it. While the director tried to make the talk centre around himself, Ravi Teja and Harish Shankar were insistent on giving the credit to Chiranjeevi and his last minute improvisations. Raghavendra Rao had to divert the topic to stop the unending discussion on Chiranjeevi

You can watch the bit of the interview here and laugh to your heart’s content


When Chiranjeevi announced that he would be making a comeback, it brought goosebumps to a lot of people. He was away for a period of 9 years, 5 months and 15 days from the turnstiles (Time between two releases, as a hero).

So, when Khaidi no 150 released, it was a pleasure to see the man not losing much of the sheen he had before he went off on an extended sabbatical. It was a delight to see him refer to his previous hits, do the simple steps in a stylised manner and going back to tics.

Somehow, the sum was not equal to the parts in the movie. Yes, he danced well; yes, he did do comedy well; yes, he excelled in the action scenes, but there was something lacking. Was it the fact that he saw his best, many times over, before his sabbatical? Was the age showing on him? Was he trying too hard to impress us? I think it’s a combination of all of these things.

When I saw him matching steps with women aged lesser than half his age or closer to half his age, I marvelled at his agility. I thought how can a 61-year old man dance the way he did. After I came back home from the movie, I was thinking why should a man of his age need to dance the way he did. He could’ve chosen to play his age and nobody would’ve complained. He didn’t. He wanted to satiate the thirst of millions of his fans.


A lot of times, in the present-day movies, you would find the heroes making pointed references to their lineage. A few heroes from his family are also guilty of the crime. This wasn’t the case in 1980’s — the time when Chiranjeevi was rising up the stardom ladder. He had no one to lean back on. He came up the hard way; through his own efforts with no backing whatsoever.

In the hierarchy of superstars in Telugu Film Industry, he can be, at best, called a ‘third generation’ superstar. So, while growing as a star he didn’t have a lot of aggrandising dialogues in his movies. He must be one of the very stars whose moniker changed mid-way in his career — from ‘Supreme Hero’ to ‘Megastar’. The change happened in his 101st movie: Maranamrudangam.

First time Chiranjeevi had the name ‘Megastar’ prefixed was in Maranamrudangam

For a man who attained stardom in 1983 with the movie Khaidhi, he was on a roll till 1995. It was an year in which he saw failure like never before. The repercussions were there for all to see. Before making the jump into politics, 1996 remains the only year where a movie of Chiranjeevi didn’t release.

He came back with Hitler and he started playing his age, nearly, after that. Gone were the loveable rascal sort of roles and this was also the time he began buying into his image as a megastar. The fans were at crossroads as the star that they loved wasn’t portraying the roles that they wanted him to. Credit to Chiranjeevi then that he made them believe in the roles he portrayed.

The year 1996, in addition to being a barren year for Chiranjeevi fans, was also an year where he looked back on the mistakes of 1995 and sort of turned away from the roles that made him a star.

JVAS, Gang Leader, Rowdy Alludu, Gharana Mogudu, Mutta Mestri and Mechanic Alludu were followed by drab movies. The stretch of movies stands him in good stead till date. Mention the cyclone of 1990 to anyone in Krishna District, chances are that they will remember the pain they took to watch Jagadeka Veerudu Athiloka Sundari than the pain the cyclone left in its wake.

So what altered? Combinations altered. Mechanic Alludu was the last movie in which Chiranjeevi and Vijayshanti shared a frame. Their first movie together was Devanthakudu. Their pairing lasted for 9 years. In those 9 years, Chiranjeevi acted in 52 movies with 19 different heroines. After Mechanic Alludu, he acted in 30 movies with 27 different heroines.

So, when he came back in Khaidhi no 150, it must have been a relief for the fans in a way to see him harking back to the pre-Hitler days than the post-Hitler days.