by Aditi Rathore
Within just two weeks after its release, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” grossed over $230 million worldwide, becoming the highest grossing Indian film of all time. Although initially filmed in both Telugu and Tamil, dubbed versions of the film were released in six other languages, including Hindi, Malayalam, English, French, Japanese, and German. With a combination of modern and traditional elements, the film outperforms any Marvel movie or “Game of Thrones” episode and takes the audience on a legendary adventure that is enjoyable to fans of all ages.
“Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” is the much-awaited sequel to “Baahubali: The Beginning,” which begins the tale of Mahendra Baahubali (Prabhas), the long-lost rightful heir to the kingdom of Mahishmati. Mahendra Baahubali eventually learns of his true identity and vows to rescue the former queen of Mahishmati, Devasena (Anushka Shetty), who is currently held captive in the kingdom. The sequel delves into the past of Mahendra Baahubali’s father, Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas), and narrates the events leading up to Mahendra Baahubali’s birth.
Packed with romance, action, comedy, and drama, “Baahubali: The Conclusion” keeps the audience rooting for Amarendra Baahubali as he grows up to become a beloved warrior and falls in love with Devasena. However, jealousy and royal family politics keeps Amarendra Baahubali from the throne and ultimately leads to his death. The story then fast forwards to the present, where Mahendra Baahubali must rescue his mother and fight the current king of Mahishmati in order to regain the throne.
Although the film tells the tale of legendary war heroes with superhuman strength and nationalistic pride, the movie shows that even the most virtuous characters can be manipulated and deceived. This is particularly true of Amarendra Baahubali’s brother, Bhallaldeva (Rana Dagubatti), who is coerced into despising his brother’s success and plotting his downfall. In the case of Kattappa (Sathyaraj), his blinding loyalty and sense of duty towards the royal family leads him to commit crimes against his will.
Despite its many traditional elements, the film challenges many traditional gender roles and provides a refreshing twist on a classic plot. Before Amarendra Baahubali and Bhallaldeva are old enough to assume the throne, Queen Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) wields sole political power instead of her husband. Lovingly called “Raj Mata” (Queen Mother) by all, Queen Sivagami is both a fair ruler and a nurturing mother; however, she too ultimately falls victim to her own hubris and constantly clashes with her daughter-in-law Devasena. With a tongue as sharp as her archery skills, Devasena steals every scene with her confidence and unapologetic attitude.
The intense plotline and character development were complemented by gravity-defying action scenes and the use of CGI. Although the gore and animations were a bit excessive at times, they added elements of suspense when appropriate. The soundtrack, beautifully composed by M. M. Keeravani, utilizes traditional drum beats to produce intense musical interludes that leave the audience at the edge of their seats.
Although the film could have easily relied on its breathtaking graphics, “Baahubali 2: The Conclusion” goes above and beyond the prequel to produce a captivating plot that lives up to its commercial success.