Indeed a grand finale to the suspense drama.
Prabhas is regal as Baahubali and as the son Shivudu, his confident demeanor lending realism to fight sequences that would otherwise seem far-fetched. Rana Daggubati’s Bhallala Deva is powerful as the antagonist, though his potential is shadowed in the director’s intent to exalt Baahubali’s strengths. In a nod to Daggubati’s hours invested in the gym, the film has liberal portions of Bhallala Deva flexing his muscles.
The sequel has thankfully omitted the female objectification in the first film, where Tamannaah’s Avantika, though initially assertive, is soon reduced to a showpiece at the altar of love. The Conclusion, however, has Sivagami (Ramya Krishna) and Devasena (Anushka Shetty) in all their formidable poise. The duo shine in their confrontational scenes where Devasena fearlessly questions the Queen’s diktats and refuses to adhere to decisions taken without her consent. Avantika, who led Baahubali to the turning point in the first part, is rarely seen in the sequel. The narrative really hinges on Sathyaraj’s Kattappa who is central to unfolding the suspense built up in the prequel. Kattappa’s character is more layered in this film, showcasing loyalty, affection and even humour.
The USP of Baahubali is the minutely co-ordinated battle sequences. While violent visuals in any other film would have the audience flinch in discomfort, the war filmed in Baahubali leaves the viewer awestruck. The VFX effects are half-baked in places, failing to live up to the more realistic visuals in the prequel. However, the riveting visuals are a commendation of cinematographer KK Senthil Kumar’s expertise blending in sync with the directorial vision.
The romantic relationship between Baahubali and Devasena develops when they brave the rough and tumble of battle, placing them on an equal footing as they tackle the enemy together.
Sivagami is a show-stealer in the costumes department with her resplendent sarees. An emaciated Devasena of the prequel is seen in a completely different avatar in Baahubali 2. The clothes donned by the characters serve as a subtle reminder of their position in the social hierarchy of Baahubali’s world.
Dubbed films often tend to be unintentionally funny because of poorly written dialogues. Baahubali’s Hindi version stands apart with nothing lost in translation. MM Keeravani’s music brings a euphoric aura to the film.
The celebration of Kshatriya pride and the poetic portrayal of violence that is the premise of the film is inconsistent with our social reality. Yet, Rajamouli’s narration has the audience rooting for the central characters, as they break statues bare-handed or break bread with the common folk. The saga of Baahubali will occupy pride of place in the annals of Indian cinema. For unlike most mass entertainers churned out by the country’s film industry, Baahubali has a story to tell.