Why Kattappa Killed Bahubali? Now that’s what we call an intriguing hook. A hook that has kept us interested for two years now and possibly it’s a hook that will go on to make Bahubali 2 the greatest Indian Blockbuster of all times within months. But is this film really that good? Has it been able to surpass its predecessor? Is it as audacious as its predecessor? And above all, was the reason why Kattappa killed Bahubali worth the wait? Throughout the course of this review that’s exactly what I will try to decipher. There may be some major spoilers here and there and hence if you haven’t seen the film and are the kind who doesn’t like it spoilt, you should stop reading this review right here.
The film picks up from exactly where the previous installment left off. Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas) is about to be crowned the king of Mahishmati. During this period he is sent by his mother Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) along with Kattappa (Sathyaraj) to travel through the stretches of the empire to understand his subjects better. Bahubali meets the fiery princess of Kuntal Devasena (Anushka Shetty) and tries to woo her pretending to be a dimwit. Meanwhile, in Mahishmati, Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) and his father Bijjaladeva (Nassar), dismayed by the queen’s decision to crown Bahubali as the king, hatch an elaborate plan to turn Sivagami against Bahubali and make her banish him from the throne and ultimately murder him. The plan eventually works as we all know. And now we have Bahubali’s son Mahendra Bahubali who takes up the mantle of his parent’s revenge and goes head on against his uncle.
The film starts off with promise with an action sequence that introduces Bahubali with much fanfare and then goes into a slumber that lasts for almost half an hour or more. The romantic angle between Prabhas and Anushka just doesn’t work. There is absolutely no feel for the characters. They seem aloof and Prabhas’s antic soon start feeling repetitive and boring. It was exactly the case with his and Tamannah’s character in the first installment. It’s safe to say that S S Rajamouli is not the man to extract romance through his stories or his characters. The fun starts when Devasena’s kingdom is attacked by the Pindari and we have the first glimpse of an elaborate battle. This battle sequence is the most fun in the whole film. It remains fairly believable and the action choreography is top notch. The scene where Devasena and Bahubali fight as a team is the most intimate moment that they have onscreen.
Post that scene the film again slips into a slumber yet again as the conspiracy in Mahishmati is gradually built up after Bahubali returns with his newly wed wife Devasena. There are a few twists and turns but those you can predict from a mile away. As the story unfolds, we wait with bated breath for the moment when we come to know why Kattappa killed Bahubali and finally the big revelation is made and alas! it’s pathetically lame. After all this wait, all they could come up with was that Kattappa did it because he was a slave to the crown and the queen told him to do it else she would do it herself. Come on! That explanation is worse than some of the WhatsApp jokes that are doing the rounds. Once the flashback ends and we swoosh back to the present time where Shiva aka Mahendra Bahubali roars for revenge. Without any planning or shred of preparation he hurriedly calls upon simpletons to wield whatever they can and prepare for war against the Kingdom of Mahishmati. That was another big ho! ho! for me. This part feels hurried and that’s obvious as it has just about half an hour dedicated to it.
The people arrive and then starts the battle which has some of the most tackily done CGI in the whole film. Not only does the script hurry through to get to the climactic battle between Bahubali and Bhallaladeva leaving everything aside, it also kicks reason and logic and for that matter gravity and mortality in the nuts to show some sequences that wouldn’t even work in a Fast And Furious film. I was laughing my guts out in the scene where Kattappa and Bahubali and a few others propel themselves using trees to land on siege towers. That was a hilarious scene. Sequence after sequence of underdone tacky CGI presents itself and it undoes all the good work that its predecessor had done. I loved the first installment of Bahubali. It was well made. It was patiently built and it had quality. But in this case, it felt more like an assembly line product than a passion’s child that it should have been. We have been treated to some of the best CGI from world over and in these times you cannot make bad CGI and then try to defend it with statements like “we didn’t have enough budget” or “this is the best CGI that Indian film Industry has seen”. Films like Ra.One, Fan and even Bahubali :The Beginning had better VFX. Rajamouli gets brownie points for envisioning but not execution.
Coming to the performances, Prabhas is brilliant. Sans the romantic scenes, he looks supremely in command of his character and you take him for an indestructible man. He is better as Amarendra Bahubali then he is as Mahendra Bahubali. But it has to be agreed that the man has a swagger that found a taker in the character. If it was not for him, this would have been a much lesser film. Sathyaraj as Kattappa has a much longer role this time and that’s one of the follies of the director. He is made into a buffoon in the first half which doesn’t suit his physicality. I loved the brooding and somber Kattappa from the first installment. This one, not so much. Rana Daggubati is great even though he has a smallish role. Ramya Krishnan is commanding as Sivagami but the problem is that her character is not likable. She is sort of an ass-hole who goes to the extent of killing off her own son which was really pushing it too far. Anushka is an equally dislikeable character. She is proud, she is mean and she has no control on her tongue. No one likes a girl like that. We love Bahubali and that’s why we tolerated her since Bahubali loved her. Tamannah is barely there. She is there for say about 2 minutes. Could be less.
Overall, Bahubali 2 is a huge let down for me. Don’t believe those who are comparing it with Lord of the Rings (LOTR). It neither has the content nor the visuals to match up to even Kingdom of Heaven let alone the LOTR trilogy. Yes, the film does have a few flashes of brilliance here and there but they are far apart and too short to take our attention away from the gaping holes in the script and the lethargic special effects that this film brings to the table. Even if it had half the heart of the original, it would have been a winner.
Rating : 2.5/5 (2.5 out of 5 Stars)