Prabhas, Rana Daggubati, Tamannaah, Anushka Shetty, Nasser, Sathyaraj
Over the past decade, Telugu film director SS Rajamouli has established himself as a man who can deliver CGI-heavy cinematic spectacle.
His latest is reportedly India’s most expensive film ever. Bahubali opens with a bang — we’re plunged into an otherworldly medieval landscape, withgigantic waterfalls, towering mountains and forests. A woman (Ramya Krishnan)descends from a mountain top into a river valley, carrying a baby in her arms.
Forest dwellers rescue the boy as she floats away to her death. What follows is the story of an orphan boy discovering his true identity, and an expository tale of a heroic king backstabbed by a trusted friend.
As the protagonist (Prabhas) tails a fairylike creature (Tamannah) over waterfalls, and giant armies clash swords, Bahubali begins to feel very much like The Lord of the Rings. Some of the aesthetics are clearly borrowed from this epic series and Zack Snyder’s 300, but there’s enough startlingly original design to call it inspiration.
What really makes the film work is that it is, at its heart, a fast-paced adventure, fuelled by themes of questing and redemption.
Prabhas is exceptional as the lead, hulking yet charming. Rana Daggubati is perfectly cast as the villain, his performance layered with subtlety and nuance. The final scene of Bahubali reminds you that the tale will be concluded in next year’s sequel. By the time the credits roll, you’re left wishing it would come sooner.
(Bahubali is a Telugu film also showing dubbed in Hindi)