Thursday, May 11, 2017

Musings on Baahubali 2

These are some thing that popped into my head as I was watching the movie and cracked me up.

Technically there are no spoilers and so I am not going to give you a spoiler alert. You can just make up a movie in your head with what you knew about Baahubali 1 and if you had world class graphics, your version of Baahubali 2 will be very close to the actual version. No, I will not be “revealing” why Katappa killed Baahubali if that is what you are worried about.

1) Most of the movie was about What Would Amerendra Baahubali Do? Use levers and slings (gears and pulleys too, but mostly levers and slings).  Tells me that guy must have played a lot of angry birds. Sheryl Sandberg was right then - one should marry the nerds. Rippling muscles are preferable but optional.

2) Strong women characters? Yes, a step forward and everything (as Baradwaj Rangan remarked in a review, in most other masala movies, the only thing the hero teaches the woman is a lesson and not archery). But eventually, women, even wise and able ones like Sivagami, could be manipulated so easily, no?

3) Sivagami with all her glowering eyes could pull off Padayappa - 2 ( a Neelambari spin-off)

4) I was expecting Baahubali to discover granite after he is banished and is working with the masses as I silently sang Vetri Kodi Kattu in my head. Instead, he ends up doing only the Padayappa Panchayat scenes.

5) All the UFC level bashing in the last forty minutes with all kind of heavy-duty iron implements made up for all the super-hero movies that I have watched only on the trailers. Baahubali becomes Thor, Hulk, Flash, Captain America all at once.

6) Every action scene with Baahubali Sr and Jr. that involved sliding with knees, bashing the ground with knees or falling on knees from a great height was a physically painful to watch for a person recovering from knee surgery. Kids, don’t try these stunts at home.

7) Coronation scene was so much like Inauguration day. Insecure king, the person who lost the throne gracefully conceding, the colorful people who were not wearing pantsuits, but were very pantsuit nationesque in their protest. Kattappa was Comey and was all “Oh Lordy, what have I done”.

8) When Nasser (sorry, don’t remember his name in the movie) and Sivagami talk about potential anarchy in the kingdom, and when Sivagami says “Don’t worry, I have a plan”, I half expected it to be electoral college.

9) The most unbelievable thing in the Baahubali franchise is Tamannaah's role as an archer. A size-zero, mostly anorexic physique will work for her next cutie-pie movie, but come on, a warrior, with those spindly arms? Especially, with a title like Baahubali, one would have expected some weight training.

Here is a crazy thought. This movie would have been as big a blockbuster regardless of how it ended. Instead of being so predictable, why could they have not killed both the hero and his nemesis? Why couldn’t Devasena rule the kingdom? Somehow all the female leads that the director wanted us to believe as strong capable women, were only so good to glower and hatch plans, until the boys start bashing each other, with and without the armor. Yeah, yeah, it is a masala movie, but people would have bought this alternate ending and Devasana potentially would have Made Magizhmathi Great Again. Even Tamannaah. But no, the hero will prevail. Only Indian Oscar nominations kill off the hero.

Reminds me to watch Wonder Woman. Claire Underwood (okay, Robin Wright) in an Amazonian suit might just cleanse me off all the testosterone.