Have you seen Baahubali 1 and 2

Bahubali - The Beginning Review

Rating: 5/5

A "short" preface ^^
The following review was the hardest one to write for me. A real chunk of thought even how to best summarize the film as compactly and informatively as possible in reciting words because of all the tricky events and the characters taking part. Actually, I wanted to get down to the review shortly after the first viewing of the film at the end of May or beginning of June, but then I kept putting it off until I finally saw the film in the different versions often enough to get close to the text to trust.

The plot
The first film of the planned Bahubali two-part spectacle (part 2 comes in 2017) is divided into two large storylines, which actually could have been two separate films, maybe even had to, and then in reverse order. First of all, the first storyline is about Queen Sivagami, fleeing the Indian kingdom of Mahishmati, with her grandson Amarendra in her luggage. While fleeing, she immediately kills her pursuers at a waterfall and then sacrifices herself to save her grandson's life. Amarendra is found the next day by villagers living by the waterfall and is henceforth called Shivudu. Sanga, the village leader's wife, has no children of her own and the two look after him for decades as if it were their own son.

Trailer for Bahubali - The Beginning

The second storyline is about the ancestors of Shivudu and the great battle against the outnumbered tribe of the Kalakeya barbarians. Shivudu's biological father Mahendra Bahubali and his stepbrother Bhallala Deva are introduced. Both of them had enormous powers as babies and are therefore the pride of the Mahishmati Kingdom, children, so to speak, conceived by the gods. As the birth mother of both children, the incumbent Queen Sivagami has considerable problems in the course of time deciding which of the two children should become the new king, since both are always equally good at everything they do, just in different ways. Bhallala Deva also shows that he is normally fundamentally angry, only makes a good face for the evil game and would like to kill his stepbrother, whom everyone just calls Bahubali. This is shown later in the battle against the Kalakeya barabars in a particularly brutal way as he then walks over corpses to prove to himself that he is better than his secretly hated stepbrother.

Important characters
Here the whole thing is perhaps quite confusing for those who are not familiar with the film who have not seen it at least two times to keep an overview, but I still try to give it the best possible:

Amarendra Bahubali / Shivudu / Shiva - The main actor in the film is actually called Amarendra Bahubali, the son of the great, kind-hearted fighter Mahendra Bahubali and thus the grandson of the king who died of illness, his grandfather. The name Shiva falls on him several times in the film because the only way people can explain his tremendous power is that he has the power of the war deity Shiva. In the end, when he reveals the full extent of his superhuman strength to the people, he is even called Bahubali and then of course he wants to know who that is supposed to be. For a long time he runs (and climbs ^^) but only under his apotive child name Shivudu through the area.

Avanthika - A warrior of the rebel clan against the tyranny of the ruler Bhallala Deva, with the aim of freeing the rightful heir to the throne and princess Maharani Devasena. She is Shivudu's great love pretty early on in the film and, besides a few intense brutal fights, is mainly responsible for Bollywood dance interludes (because honestly, which Indian film can do without such dances? ^^). Among other things, she is undressed by Shivudu while dancing, redesigned, re-dressed and nibbled according to her status, as befits a hero. Do you think that's exaggerated? Oh well ... it is also tattooed by him. Twice even and in a very funny way and without her noticing (huh?)! You have to see it! ^^

Maharani Devasena - the birth mother of Shivudu alias Shiva alias Amarendra Bahubali. She has been held chained to a poule by Bhallala Deva in the kingdom of Mahishmati for over 20 years, mocked and tortured anew every day.
Sivagami - Was the former queen and wife of Shivudu's grandfather who died of illness. She is also the birth mother of Shivudu's father Mahendra Bahubali and his vicious stepbrother Bhallala Deva. In order to enforce her rule against possible traitors and to defend herself against her persecutors at the beginning of the film, she sometimes grabs a dagger and then kills her in an extremely brutal way to make a fatal statement. ^^

Katappa - Fiery fighting nature even in old age and proud slave who, because of his sometimes strange-looking code of honor, serves the reigning royal family whether he wants to or not. He would really like to be on Princess Devasena's side, but his slave honor forbids that. He plays a major, even tragic role in the fate of the Bahubali family. During the course of the film he has to decide once and for all what is more important to him. His hypocritical code of honor or family. Only in this way can he finally make peace with himself.

Mahendra Bahubali - Consort of Princess Devasena and legendary father of Amarendra who is known today as Shivudu. As a kind-hearted person he was of course the complete internal opposite of his stepbrother Bhallala Deva and had to die for it in a cruel and devious way. How that can happen with such a strong man is all clarified in the film.

Bhallala Deva - rules iron, animal despising and cruel over the kingdom Mahishmati with his equally evil son Bhadra, who has not a hint of respect for his aunt Devasena and his scheming father Bijjala Deva as a trio. The three are sometimes simply called "the kings" in the film. The driving and commanding force is and remains only Bhallala Deva himself. He is, so to speak, the worst of the three bad ones. ^^ He also makes daily fun of tormenting and humiliating his sister-in-law Devasena, who is imprisoned on the street. In the great war against the Kalakeya barbarians, he also fought side by side with his secretly hated step-brother and partner Mahendra Bahubali, who was more equal in strength.

Bijjala Deva - The father of the cruel ruler Bhallala Deva and grandfather of the equally vicious grandson Bhadra whose role in the film is more like cannon fodder for Amarendra Bahubali and he therefore only appears worth mentioning as the grandson of the bad boys. He secretly resented the queen for not relinquishing the throne to him when her husband died, as he is the brother of her deceased husband. So he sucked himself in and rather quietly fathered her own son who was to take over the kingdom of Mahishmati.

King of the Kalakeya barbarians - Not mentioned by name any further, he is the leader of a ruler of Indian barbarians who attack kingdoms in absolute majority like a swarm of locusts and plunder them. Mahishmati's queen at the time of the war is Sivagami and she decides which of her two sons will kill the king of the Kalakeya and will finally become the new king of Mahishmati. That this is anything but enthusiastic about this decision and immediately paves the attack should be clear. ^^

The special effects
For an Indian film, an unusually large amount of CGI is used here, albeit in an impressive way, for the comparatively low budget of only 18 million dollars compared to Hollywood films. That is how long some American "actors" take. The waterfall at the beginning of the film is huge and reaches up above the clouds. CGI also comes into its own in a spectacular way in one of the Bollywood dances in the form of blue butterflies. There are large-scale landscape shots as well as extensive tracking shots of the magnificent and huge royal city of Mahishmati. There really every detail is recorded so that you get a perfect impression of the kingdom and the whole world around the film. Even a Prince of Persia Jump and Run Cameo insert can be admired when Shivudu breaks into the palace, as he hops and jumps through the palace walls, taken from the side, like in the first 2D offshoots of the video game. ^^

The main point of the special effects is of course the huge battle against the Kalakeya barbarians to which the film devotes a full 35 minutes. Have you ever played a part of the martial arts video game series Dynasty Warriors? There where individual characters in the middle of the turmoil take on whole hordes of opponents using brutal special attacks. The battle itself is really a very good mix of Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings and Dynasty Warriors and, above all, relentlessly bloody and brutal. Heads and body parts fly around en masse. Not for the faint of heart. It starts with the fact that during Bahubali in the traditional way with swords, spear and shield, his stepbrother prefers to fight on a monstrous, extendable morning star and a chariot with a spiral spiral in front of the horses, which hordes of enemies literally chopped up at full speed. For me, the battle is definitely one of the highlights of the film. You know people, I love action and this battle is pure action and uncensored gore! FSK 18 usually says hello, the film is "only" approved for ages 16+. ^^

The Bollywood factor
The typical element for Indian films, dancing until the joints crack, should not be missing in such a battle epic, as Bahubali - The Beginning certainly wants to be one. There are plenty of dances that are very well done koreographically, but only in the 159-minute Indian long version of the film. The international version of 138 minutes saves a few dances completely and others are there in slightly shortened versions.

Hey, what should I look at? The Indian long version or do you prefer the shorter international version?
It all depends on how much you can get excited about Indian film culture. If you like Bollywood films anyway, the dances are simply part of it without ifs and buts. The Indian long version also offers a complete episode-like storyline about the "still friendly" relationship between the two stepbrothers Mahendra Bahubali and Bhallala Deva. Nothing earth-shattering, but interesting and additional for fans or as an actor humorously says after one of the additional dance interludes: "Yes, we can do a lot more than just drink alcohol!" In the Indian long version, you often have to live with a CGI reference in the lower left corner of the picture. These three letters are simply faded in permanently during the artificially made scenes. Does the vulture know why? ^^ It is important to know who is more interested in the shorter international version, as the entire fight scenes of the film remain untouched. The battle remains brutal and the duels intense. Then only a few dances and the additional story about Mahendra Bahubali and Bhallala Deva are missing. Still, I'm glad to have the Indian long version (only available in the film's mediabook), because I'm a fan of the whole Bollywood culture anyway and I just like the humor in dancing.

My opinion on the film
Bahubali The Beginning primarily offers an epic adventure story about the life of a superhumanly strong royal family, which culminates in the huge 35 minute, action-packed and effective battle for the kingdom of Mahishmati, in the course of which so many characters appear that even important characters like Devasena sometimes appear a little bit too short with their playing time. Sometimes you just want to find out more, but the second film is coming in 2017 ... The distribution of superhuman powers like the plot about the two very strong stepbrothers and the even stronger son as successor fascinate me also in the way that I am always very fascinated enjoy watching the Dragon Ball Z anime series. Similarities to the local fighting force Hirachie are unmistakable. The film always entertains through situations that arise and twists and turns that one would not have expected. Something always happens in the film, be it just funny, visually powerful and adventurous or action-packed.

My conclusion
The otherwise serious and brutal plot of the film is often loosened up considerably by the typically slightly exaggerated Bollywood humor and the skilfully coreographed dancing around and you don't want to miss that anymore. Without that, the film would be a little too serious. As an Indian film, Bahubali remains very true to the stylistic devices used, is also breaking new ground because of this unprecedented epic feeling that is reminiscent of western films and is therefore the best Bollywood film I have seen in my entire life so far full marks. Even in spite of the fact that the film with a shocking cliffhanger ending on the second part leaves the Bollywood fantasy world only once until 2017. Part 2 will be an absolute must for me.

Bahubali - The Beginning Review