Arka Mediaworks’ Bahubali 2: The Conclusion (dubbed from the Telugu film of the same name; UA) is the second and final part in the Bahubali series. In the first part, Shiva (Prabhas) had been raised by commoners right from the day of his birth, as his grandmother, Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan), had left him right after he was born, to be tended by others while laying down her own life in the process of saving him from the clutches of his uncle, Bhalaladev (Rana Daggubati). Even as a child, Shiva had al ways yearned to know what was on the other side of the mountain and as a grown-up, he had crossed over to the other side and landed in Mahishmati kingdom. Not only had he found his love there but had also saved his own mother, Devasena (Anushka Shetty), from the clutches of Bhalaladev who had held her captive for 25 long years. Shiva had then realised that he belonged to the royal family of Mahishmati; that his father, Amarendra Bahubali (Prabhas), had been killed by Katappa (Sathyaraj), the trusted lieutenant of the royal family. Why had the ever-so-loyal Katappa killed Amarendra Bahubali?
The second film in the series sets out to answer why Katappa had killed Bahubali. It, therefore, tells the story of Shiva’s father, Amarendra Bahubali. In a sense, the second film in the series is a prequel to the first one as a major part of the second film deals with the flashback about Amarendra Bahubali. However, the last part of the second film is actually a sequel as the last portion takes off from where the first part had gotten over, once the flashback is over.
In the present film, it is shown that Amarendra Bahubali has been brought up by Sivagami along with her own son, Bhalaladev. In fact, the principled Sivagami has decided to make Amarendra Bahubali the king of Mahishmati kingdom, much to the shock of her husband (Nasser) and son, Bhalaladev (Rana Daggubati). However, on the day of the coronation, Sivagami makes Bhalaladev the king because Amarendra Bahubali wants to marry Devasena against Sivagami’s wishes. Sivagami has, a few days back, promised her son that she would get him married to Devasena but, unaware of his mother’s promise to Bhalaladev, Amarendra Bahubali has promised Devasena that he would marry her and look after her all his life. Even Devasena is keen to wed Amarendra Bahubali as she has fallen in love with him.
Unhappy with Amarendra Bahubali’s stand, Sivagami appoints Bhalaladev as the king, and Amarendra Bahubali as merely his lieutenant. Although Bahubali marries Devasena, the couple does not have the blessings of Sivagami. Soon, Devasena gets pregnant with Amarendra Bahubali’s child. Before she can deliver the child, Amarendra Bahubali and Devasena are thrown out of the palace by Sivagami due to the machinations of Bhalaladev and his father. As if this were not bad enough, Katappa kills Amarendra Bahubali on the very day Devasena gives birth to their child. Why Katappa had murdered Bahubali is revealed by him (Katappa) to Shiva who has realised that he is actually Amarendra’s 25-year-old son, Mahendra Bahubali.
It is now the turn of Shiva alias Mahendra Bahubali to avenge his father’s murder and his mother, Devasena’s captivity by Bhalaladev for 25 long years.
What happens then? Who eliminates whom? And who lives happily thereafter? Who rules Mahishmati kingdom?
Vijayendra Prasad’s story is superb and has a number of twists and turns. It has emotions, romance, drama, melodrama, action, music, mythology, comedy and everything else a viewer wants to see in a commercial entertainer. The drama is so logical that the audience remains completely enthralled and captivated while it unfolds. Prasad’s story and S.S. Rajamouli’s screenplay move at such a fantastic pace and pack in so much that the viewers would not want to even blink their eyes for fear of missing out on a point or two. To the credit of the two writers, it must be said that they have packed the film with great entertainment for the audiences of all age groups and all classes. There is plenty of masala for the young and the old, for boys and girls, for men and women, for the rich and the poor, for the classes and the masses, for the families and non-family viewers, for the multiplex audience and the single-screen cinema audience. There are a number of scenes worthy of loud rounds of applause. For example, the scene in which Amarendra Bahubali offers his arms and shoulders for Devasena to walk over when the wooden plank leading to the boat gives way is heart-warming and clapworthy. Also clapworthy is the scene in which Amarendra Bahubali appears from nowhere and makes it possible for his mother, Sivagami, to complete her agni march. There will also be a huge round of applause when Mahendra Bahubali makes it possible for his own mother, Devasena, to complete her agni march 25 years later. The scene in which Sivagami declares a day-old tiny tot, Mahendra Bahubali, as the king of Mahishmati has a hair-raising impact and will make the weak-hearted cry tears of joy. Like clap-traps, there are many hair-raising sequences and several emotional scenes to activate the tear ducts. The scene in which Amarendra Bahubali tells his wife, Devasena, that she was wrong in cutting the fingers of the lieutenant is superb mainly for what he tells her and does thereafter. Another extraordinary scene is the one in which Amarendra Bahubali supports Devasena rather than his own mother when she asks him to let Bhalaladev marry Devasena. The scene in which Katappa raises his voice against Sivagami is also superb. The entire climax is hair-raising and supremely exciting.
Manoj Muntashir’s dialogues in pure Hindi (there is no use of Urdu at all), are extraordinary and several of them will evoke applause.
Prabhas looks handsome as ever and plays Amarendra Bahubali and Shiva alias Mahendra Bahubali to perfection. He has a physique which makes his mighty, larger-than-life and powerful character believable. His walk is majestic. His acting is terrific. He is outstanding in action and stunts. The actor can easily be accepted as the hero of a Hindi film. Anushka Shetty looks pretty and acts with effortless ease as Devasena. Rana Daggubati does a swell job as Bhalaladev. His physique, visible in the climax when he takes off his shirt, is fantastic. Ramya Krishnan shines in the role of Sivagami. Her facial expressions and her eyes speak volumes. She looks regal. Sathyaraj is splendid as Katappa. His acting is as natural as natural can be. Nasser is very effective as Sivagami’s frustrated husband and Bhalaladev’s manipulative father. Tamannah gets very limited scope as Avantika but she does well. Others lend terrific support.
S.S. Rajamouli’s direction is remarkable. He has made a film which has plenty of masala for every section of the audience. Undoubtedly, he is one of the best directors Indian cinema can boast of. His narrative style is so outstanding that there is not a single dull moment in it. With audience tastes being so varied in different regions and among different age groups and classes, it is not a mean task to make a film which can captivate every single viewer – and S.S. Rajamouli has achieved just that. M.M. Kreem’s music is good but there is no hit number for the Hindi-speaking audience. Yet, the songs are appealing in the film. The ‘Tana’ song is very nice; the ‘Surya’ song has a hair-raising quality about it. Manoj Muntashir’s lyrics are wonderful, making the songs sound more appealing. Song picturisations are lovely. K.K. Senthil Kumar’s cinematography is par excellence. Visual effects and computer graphics are of Hollywood standard. Sabu Cyril’s production designing is grand. The sets are superb. Stunts (by King Solomon, Lee Whittaker and Kecha Khamphakdee) are breathtaking. They will draw huge rounds of applause from the masses and youngsters. Editing (by Kotagiri Venkateswara Rao and Thammi Raju) is razor-sharp. Dubbing is truly terrific.
On the whole, Bahubali 2: The Conclusion is not just a movie, it is a phenomenon. It will set new benchmarks for a dubbed film and will emerge as one of the biggest Hindi blockbusters of all time. Why, it may also turn out to be the biggest ever blockbuster in Hindi in spite of being a dubbed fare. If the business of all the versions (Telugu, Tamil, Hindi dubbed and Malayalam dubbed) is considered, it will prove to be the BIGGEST BLOCKBUSTER EVER, no questions asked. Its business in big as well as in small centres, and in multiplexes as well as in single-screen cinemas will be huge. This one has tremendous repeat value. This one is destined to smash almost all (if not all) box-office records. This one is destined to write new box-office history.