West had a revival of fantasy with the Lord of the Rings films and the Harry Potter franchise. We didn’t need it because fantasy never left our hearts. Not just the epics that we grew up on; fantasy has been part of our folk stories. Our love for the fantasy is proved by the enduring love for Amar Chitra Katha. Even our films continue the tradition. We know what to take seriously and what not to. (Brothers donating blood to a mother they don’t know is heartwarming, their blood being mixed and transfused in real time, well, that’s just Manmohan Desai) We didn’t need a revival of fantasy, but we did need a reinvigoration. Our fantasy is too small scale for the age of Avengers.
Enter Rajamouli. Enter Bahubali. Bahubali was not an instant success outside of South. It picked slowly and then so rapidly that Mumbai was left wondering what hit it. It appealed to audiences all across the nation and no one cared if the lips were moving out of sync or if they didn’t know any of the actors. Mahishmati became a symbol of glory lost. For a nation yearning for positive stories rooted in its past, it hit the spot.
Read detailed review of Bahubali here: The Most Honest Bahubali 2 review is here
Bahubali 2 is more of the same. It takes the epic canvas and expands it. At places it fills in details, and at another it shines a light on the areas so far unexplored. This is not a film to watch for its intricate plot or scintillating dialogue. This is not meant to be an intellectual feat, but a feast. This is a film made to awe and to charm, and it does that well enough.
There are times it seems to drag, as is traditional, post interval. Since then, however it has earned enough goodwill to earn forgiveness.
Forgiveness, generosity, innocence, love, duty, family, triumph of good over evil. These are the basic, human virtues this film is about. In the form of Katappa, it also shows the evil of slavery. It talks about a woman’s right to choose, in contrast to the first one. This time, the film doesn’t want to change the leading lady, but celebrates her as she is. It’s about the sweet relationship between Bahubali and Katappa that sets up its conclusion. It’s also about bloody vengeance. The violence may at times feel jarring in a film so gentle, but this is, for good or for bad, also a part of the fantasy staple.
More than the mystery of Katappa killing Bahubali, more than the court intrigue, more than what this movie does, it’s worth is determined by how it does it. And even more so, how it makes us feel.
Bahubali 2 made me feel like a boy reading an Amar Chitra Katha comic. That part of me was back again.
A familiar canvas with a simple story on a mythic scale. With exaggerated action, basic emotion, and loads of splendor.
Bonus – Find out which Bahubali character are you?