Bahubali 2: The Conclusion ★★★★★
(a spoiler-free review)
I’m going to scrap the usual format I have for my movie reviews and just get straight to it with this one. Bahubali 2: The Conclusion gets a solid five stars on my board. I would give it a million stars if I could because this movie rocked me to my core, and was truly a conclusion worth waiting for. Take Medieval India, historical romance, and an epic fantasy legend executed perfectly through a genius-director – and you get the wonder that is Bahubali.
I watched the first part on a bus journey returning home after my semester exams. I had been sleep-deprived and couldn’t care less what movie was playing on the overhead screen but when the name S.S. Rajamouli popped up, my interest was piqued. I’d remembered watching another film he’d directed called Magadheera and wanted to see if this would be worth my time. Two years later and I find myself sitting at the edge of my seat in the cinema theatre – a mix of excitement, nervousness, and anticipation for what was to come. It did not disappoint.
The jaw-dropping ending of the first film had everyone’s thoughts centring around one particular question: why did Kattappa kill Amarendra Bahubali? The majority of the screen time of Bahubali 2 is spent exploring the course of events leading up to a fulfilling answer. With touches of comedy, emotional arcs (I drowned silently in my tears), literally bloody action and a thrilling climax – I think it’s safe to say the film packed the punch that it had spent two years building.
Most of the people in the crowd went wild when Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas) made his majestic entrance in the film but I lost it when Devasena (Anushka Shetty), epic warrior princess, finally came on screen. I fell head-over-heels in love with the wonderful characterization of Devasena as a strong, brave princess who does not tolerate bull from anyone. The feminist inside me was dying of joy. Plus, the fact that Anushka (a favorite actress of mine) looked absolutely stunning as Devasena was icing on top of the cake. I could not take my eyes off the screen with Devasena on it.
Her love story with the young Mahendra Bahubali’s father was beautifully done. That being said, there’s barely any screen time for Avanthika (Tamannah Bhat) but I feel that’s completely justified considering she was at the forefront of the first film. And personally, as much as I love Avanthika, Devasena is a total boss worth watching. I just couldn’t get enough of her and the love story with Amarendra – which is totally captivating.
We see a more human side to the fearsome Sivagami (played by the talented Ramya Krishnan) as her maternal concerns and doubts are revealed over her divided affections between her son (Rana Daggubati) and her nephew. There’s so much conflict and so much happening in this movie but it’s well-paced and constructed in such a way not to confuse the audience, but rather, pull us into the experience and let us be part of it.
Rana Daggubati’s acting as the villain was outstanding. I remember watching some of his interviews prior to the film and thinking he was rather cute and funny. Then, seeing him on screen as the vile Bhallala Deva and despising him to the core. Very few actors can pull off that kind of reaction from the audience but he did it so well, and I applaud him for that. And of course, how can I talk about the film without mentioning its star Prabhas? I adored him as Amarendra as we see more to his character beyond that of a strong leader, but also as a man very much in love. To be able to play two characters and set a defining and distinguishable impact on both is amazing.
All in all, this film marks a milestone in Indian cinema. The story is actually a pretty conventional one, inspired no doubt by the Mahabharata, but Rajamouli recreates and brings onto the screen a well-scripted, breathtaking fantasy epic. And for those of us that waited two years on the cliff-hanger of the first film, Bahubali 2 grants us the release we desperately need.
So, what are you waiting for? If you haven’t already, book your tickets to the nearest cinema theatre (and make sure it’s a good one cause this film deserves to be watched on a huge screen with awesome sound)! I guarantee you, Bahubali 2 will rock your world and not one minute of the 167 spent watching will be a waste.
Meanwhile, I shall patiently await my copy of The Rise of Sivagami to land on my doorstep. With the Bahubali franchise, there’s really no end to the excitement!