Baahubali – The Beginning

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I missed attending the premier show because of a preoccupation. By the time I got to watch it on Sunday, 2 days after the release, several people who had watched it earlier bombarded me with trivia and criticism. As is wont to happen, I walked into Inorbit Inox with a head full of preconceived notions and almost ready to dislike Baahubali. Thank God, they were far off the mark and my notions were quashed!

In the next three hours, I was completely captivated by the splendour and magnificence of Rajamouli’s imagination ably conveyed by Prabhas, Rana, Tamannaah, Anushka and the rest of the cast. The ones that held me rooted to my seat whenever they appeared on the screen were Ramya Krishna and Sathyaraj. What power! What impact! Here are two stalwarts of south Indian cinema who have honed their craft to perfection. Brilliant! And the sheer scale of the epic period film is mind boggling.

Baahubali took me back to my childhood when we would read books and visulalize them in our little minds. Those were the days of watching old black and white movies in theatres and later on B & W television screens. I remember vividly watching `Keelu Gurram’ on a Sunday evening on B & W TV, starring Anjali Devi and ANR. The magic horse flies in the sky and helps ANR save his mother’s life. Anjali Devi is a demon whose life is in an insect and ANR succeeds in destroying her. I watched this movie probably 30 years after its release on TV and can still recollect a few scenes even now after 40 years, like the demon queen eating elephants and horses in the nights, ANR flying on the magic horse crooning a tune, to name a few.

And then of course, there was the legendary Pathala Bhairavi permanently etched on my mind with indelible performances by NTR, SV Ranga Rao, Malathi and Girija as the Goddess. What an era! Imagine if they had the support of the Animation technology! Yet, they are such iconic films devoid of any digital touches, whatsoever! So you can imagine what Rajamouli’s story telling powered by the magic of VFX can do! He had already given us glimpses in Magadheera. Now, he has taken it several notches higher. Baahubali is definitely a landmark in Indian cinema and I am not just talking of the box office collections.

For all those who are drawing parallels from Hollywood in a bid to dilute the impact of Baahubali, here’s my poser – So what? Even Moulin Rouge had Chamma Chamma! Big deal! And do we HAVE to compare it to Gladiator or Troy to prove that Indian cinema has arrived? Let’s just rejoice and celebrate what Rajamouli has achieved by elevating south Indian cinema to newer heights… Shall we?

Thank you Shashank for the tickets, Uma & Vasu for the precious company, pizza and popcorn…

Published by Vanaja Banagiri

Author, Editor, Poet, Art Promoter

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