Bahubali-The Beginning Indian film simultaneously filmed in the Tamil and Telugu languages. English sub-titles 2 ½ hours. Directed by S S Rajamouli. Streaming Online
An Indian friend of the Telugu minority absolutely raved about this movie. I’m a sucker for a good rave so I figured I’d see it. Even if I lacked the regional fervor my friend has for the first Bollywood movie made in his language, I still enjoyed it.
In order to like this film, you have to love spectacle, myth, and larger than life warrior heroes. You also have to like musicals, because there is an abundant of song in this movie. And an occasional dance or two. But it’s not really oppressive, so never fear.
This film begins the tale of Bahubali, a great and noble prince. I will try not to tell you too much about the title character because I only spoil movies accidentally. Sufficeth to say there is a kingdom that is being ruled by an evil prince. The evil prince has chained a Queen, Princess Devasena, in the marketplace because of some offense to his great person. There is a lost child who is as strong as Samson and Hercules combined who is fated to find his destiny. There is a noble warrior/slave called Kattappa who is faithful to the chained Queen. And there is a kickass swordswoman named Avanthika who...well.. gives up all that pesky warrior girl stuff when she finds love. And that’s only in the framing story that takes place before we are plunged bach 50 years.
I love stories about fated heroes whose times have come. Because one just knows these destined ones are going to enter the world with aplomb. The introduction of our hero utterly fulfills the requirements. So much so that one wonders if the movie will be able to sustain all that wonderful gloriousness. I’ll just say it pretty much does.
The cinematography is just amazing! The grandeur and majesty of the country of Mahishmati makes the cities of Elfland pale by comparison. True, the citizenry is oppressed but the montage showing the beauty of the city and the oppression is so soaring that one is almost tempted to say, “Dang! Those oppressive kings knew how to live!” Despots back in mythical days had style...and I’m not speaking only of the Nebuchadnezzaresque golden statue he erects for his birthday.
So yes, this is a film for lovers of myth, warriors, and romance.
I especially found the little C.G.I. notice on the bottom of the left comforting. It popped up whenever some animal was being destroyed -- usually because of machismo king. The one problem with the film is that the titles/captions lag behind a bit so one has to play catch-up and “match the words to the right speaker” but after a while one gets a hang of it. So, yeah, I enjoyed it. I’ll probably watch Bahubali -- The Conclusion when it comes out in 2016.. Recommended.