Baahubali – Quick Thoughts

Edit: Added a sentence on Tammanah’s character.

 

This is not a review. I repeat. This is not a review. Just some thoughts on the movie neatly put into a bulleted list. If this was in a PPT, the slide title would have been… you guessed it, NOT A REVIEW.

  • I was very curious about the quality of VFX. Mainly I wanted to see if it was ‘great’ or ‘great by Indian standards’ because let’s face it, the Indian standard for VFX does not match up even to American VFX on TV. (Please refer Exhibit A: Game of Thrones, and Exhibit B: The Walking Dead)
  • The movie opened with the now famous scene of saving a baby. Ramya Krishnan stands under a massive waterfall that would makes the Niagara seem like an overflowing overhead tank in comparison. This was my first test of the CGI. The waterfall by itself was fantastically recreated, but a glaring omission dampened the effect for me. There was not a hint of a mist and spray which should have covered the entire area.  I could only imagine her standing in front a Green Screen once I realized that.
  • Another irritation was a water marked ‘CGI’ lettering that comes up on the lower left. Since I noticed this only in sequences which had animals, this is presumably to placate animal rights activists (and hobby protesters). In any case, I can empathize with why the director chose to do this, but it (and the on-screen alcohol and cigarette warnings) irritate me.
  • My verdict on the VFX: Inconsistent.  Some sequences are truly world class (not just by Indian standards), while others aren’t. But I have to say there have been Hollywood movies with FX that don’t match up to this.
  • The battle sequences were amazing, and I was happy that they didn’t rip-off the LoTR (No! A scene showing a large army cannot be copyrighted by Peter Jackson).
  • Speaking of the battle, if you are forming a ‘defense’ with your shield, and you are shocked that the enemy thinks of using a battering ram to break into the ‘wall’, I don’t know how you made your ranks up the army.

 

  • I read that this movie was originally supposed to be in 1 part, but was split into 2 since the scale and scope demanded it. This meant one of 2 things, either the director made the right decision since the story indeed is too long to be told in one stretch (case in point, Kill Bill volumes 1 and 2), or would be padded up with fluff to stretch it out (cough! Hobbit! cough!)
  • This to me was the best part of the movie. Running 10 minutes short of 3 hours, I was pleasantly surprised at the pace. Except for the ‘item number’ (which I used for a toilet break) the movie didn’t slacken even for a moment. The director obviously made the right choice in splitting the movie.

 

  • With an array of actors, would the presence of each character be justified, or would it be token presence like say Hey Ram! (Fun fact: Hema Malini was in that movie)
  • Of course, Prabhas and Rana hog much of the screentime, but all characters had their fair share (and more). Tammanah gets to do more in her first 10 minutes of screen time here than the rest of her career (beyond the 10 minutes though, her role is decorative).  Her character is caught in a net in a sequence which reminded me of this hilarious scene from Kung Pow ( See here and here) Also her character is almost raped by the hero which of course makes her fall completely in love with him and hand over the reins to her lifelong goal to the rapist she met 10 minutes ago. Expect a panel of 22 people to shout about this with Arnab soon.
  • Anushka has a lucky mole or charm with her I am sure. She has consistently managed to get women oriented roles, and even in a star studded movie like this, her character stands on her own. I was also surprised that she got a better ‘entry’ than Prabhas, and just as many whistles.

Ooh! And a special shout out for the ending. What a hook. Pity we have to wait a whole year.