After brooding over my choice to watch the Baahubali films (BB) for years I finally garnered the motivation to catch up on the series yesterday, both flicks back-to-back. Frankly, I have become sceptical to watch mythological/historical period films with the current spate of drab historical Bollywood offerings not providing any entertainment value per se. And then BB fell into the category of ‘dubbed’ Hindi cinema, the ones made in the South but rarely given its due production importance for its Northern masses. It does remind me of the LOTR series but being made in India on such a grand scale (the CGI, et al) made this series that much more compelling to watch. Here’s the funny part – back then I couldn’t wrap my head around the whimsical Internet memes on “Katappa Ne Baahubali Ko Kyun Maara?” (Why did Katappa kill Baahubali?), but after watching ‘The Beginning’ that question came to haunt me too as it did millions of fans in 2015. Luckily, I didn’t have to wait for a year for the sequel (‘The Conclusion’) to get my answer.
What a fantasy adventure it has been! Each movie having a perfect blend of over-the-top action sequences, emotional drama, interlaced with comedy and gigantic battle sequences. Not to leave out an aesthetic representation of fantasy romance through melodious songs and the colouristic costumes — if you have read the Amar Chitra Katha or Chandamama stories, that’s exactly what I’m referring to. There wasn’t a moment during the movie that made me feel unduly restless, or even bored.
Baahubali became the highest-grossing film in India, third highest-grossing Indian film worldwide, and the highest-grossing South Indian film, at the time of its release, and to me, this has paved the course for Bollywood to make fantasy period dramas moving away from the historical action flicks and its related controversies. In that, I would say, Baahubali has all the ingredients of a franchise and a hungry audience if the producers are encouraged by its commercial success to make stand-alone movies on the characters (Katappa, Sivagami, or even Avanthika?). Chances are that you have already watched Bahubali, but in case you are one the late-comers to the party just like me, go for it! You won’t regret.