I could have written this piece earlier. But held it back as I did not wish to stick out like a sore thumb. And to be be frank, despite some disappointment with the film, I am elated that the movie is doing great business and has given fantastic exposure to Telugu cinema at national level. It opened up markets for Telugu cinema both nationally and internationally. It has done incredible business in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Its Hindi dubbed version is going at around 85 crs as we speak which is an all time record by miles for any dubbed movie. Its oversees collections are on par with Bollywood biggies. Telugu cinema could not have asked for more. It has indeed given an opportunity to ambitious Telugu film makers to dream really big.
All this is great news for Telugu film fans. But when you look at the film closely, there are many things that just do not add up. Things not adding up is not the hallmark of good cinema. Rajamouli is a great film maker, no doubt. He can squeeze the best of a scene. But for the part -2, he needs to be much more careful with the writing. Lest he not forget that the scrutiny will be multifold next time, now that he made people take note of him.
Here are a few things that just did not add up. ( After accounting for cinematic liberties)
- The tunnel which connects the land under the falls to the one above. Why did the tribal lady ( de facto mother of Prabhas) ask it to be closed in the first scene? Is it only to be conveniently opened in the climax so that everyone can meet ?
- The romantic track between Prabhas and Tamanna. How did the tough-as-nails lady succumb so easily to the unknown man ? Is it simply because, Prabhas needs to carry the story forward from then onwards ? Also, the scenes between them raise a lot of moral questions. Read Anna Vetticad’s article in Business Line titled ” The rape of Avanthika in Bahubali “
- The landscape in the film is so inconsistent. You have giant waterfalls and forests right up. That is OK. But where did the snow clad mountains of Bulgaria come from? The avalanche scene looks so out of place. Did the producer say – “I have some more money. So Rajamouli, go ahead and spend”
- Anushka is supposed to have been exposed to both sun and rain for 25 long years. Mind you, she was not imprisoned in closed walls but outside, right under the sun. Too much to believe that she survived 25 years.
- The war with the black gang comes in rather abruptly. There are no scenes which build up the story to that effect. The whole thing is done as if it is time for some war scenes. That’s it. Just like “it is time to have a song, so lets have it.”
- Manohari song — The whole song, like some Arabian nights dance drama looks so out of place. The costumes are totally out of sync with the rest of the movie.
- Coming to war scenes – There is no clear strategy on the part of both Prabhas and Rana to win the war against a much bigger enemy.
- Neither did the enemy, the black army, do anything sensible to win the war. They were supposed to have been unbeatable. But they just did not look like that. Except for the antics of an alien language, they were bestowed with nothing better.
- And how was Ramya Krishna watching the whole battle which was taking place miles away? Dhrutarashtra had a Sanjaya in Mahabharat to see the war with divine eyes. Obviously Ramya Krishna had none.
- And finally a movie which had gobbled up Rs 200-250 crores in the making, ought to have a story that would be much more multi layered like the Mahabharata. True, apart from the two warring brothers, there were other characters who made their presence felt. But they just did not produce the kind of drama that would leave you spell bound.
Rajamouli has indeed succeeded in making a movie with world class special effects. That gives the confidence that he can aim for much more. But he has not succeeded equally in creating an engaging drama. The film indeed has visuals that leave you speachless. But as you leave the theatre, your heart is not completely satisfied. It could have been so much better. And how I wish that part-2 indeed comes out better. Till then I too, will continue to celebrate its dream run at the box-office like any other average Andhrite !!
(PS: For people who ask questions like how many stars for the movie, these are my ratings for Rajamouli’s recent films. Bahubali – 3.5, Magadheera – 4.0 and Eega -4.5)