For the first time , India has produced a film that matches Hollywood

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New Delhi, India (CNN)Indian cinema has produced something spectacular. And it's not from Bollywood.

Hundreds of miles from Mumbai, the hub of the nation's Hindi-language movie industry, a South Indian director has attempted a battle epic that critics say has successfully blended local folklore with Hollywood's technological grandeur.

"Baahubali: The Beginning," directed by Telugu-language filmmaker S.S. Rajamouli, is also billed as India's most expensive film ever.

Latest estimates show the budget of the two-part movie neared $40 million, according to movie website IMDb.

That figure may seem small in comparison to many Hollywood productions, but it's unparalleled in India, where costs for its highest-budget movies rarely touch $25 million.

A day after its nationwide release in Telugu and several other Indian languages, "Baahubali" -- meaning "Strong Man" in Hindi -- has attracted rave reviews.

Critics have also generously drawn striking similarities with Hollywood.

"Many films have scale and spectacle. 'Baahubali' also has a story," wrote film expert Shubhra Gupta in The Indian Express.

"You can see S.S. Rajamouli's varied influences in places: James Cameron-like dreamy vistas of hill, waterfall and greenery, Ang Lee's flying-through-the-air-acrobatics, Peter Jackson's stretching-out-for-miles crowded battlefields, J.R.R. Tolkien's plug-ugly trolls who talk in guttural tongues," she wrote.

Special effects-laden "Baahubali" is built on a traditional Indian "good vs. evil" plot -- a lost prince rediscovers his blue-blooded roots and sets himself out to reclaim his kingdom from the usurper.

"Spanning generations, going back and forth between the present and the past, alternating between vastly contrasting landscapes, it's an ambitious work from a visionary filmmaker who skilfully blends a tale of old school palace politics with modern VFX (visual effects) to deliver a consistently watchable blockbuster," wrote Rajeev Masand, the entertainment editor of CNN-IBN, CNN's India affiliate.

"Baahubali" was almost three years in making, according to IMDb; it took 200 days to construct all its sets on a 200-acre lot, the film site says.

The film was shot in locations including the mountains of Bulgaria, the forests of Mahabaleshwar in western India and a sprawling film city in the southern part of the country, according to IMDb.

"Rajamouli has delivered a gigantic masterpiece in technical terms," said another film critic, Bobby Singh.

One of the most successful filmmakers of Telugu cinema, 41-year-old Rajamouli has won national acclaim for many of his movies.

"Rajamouli is indeed a visual storyteller," said Masand in his review of the director's latest film.

The 160-minute Baahubali ends in a cliffhanger, with a sequel expected next year.


http://edition.cnn.com/2015/07/11/as...ia-epic-movie/



I had never heard of this tiil looking at showtimes yesterday. Playing at my favorite theater. I might have to check it out.
__________________
Letterboxd



My Review---

The costliest and biggest film ever to be made in India is finally here....promising special effects that even Hollywood would envy....

And it does live upto it's mighty name....producing an extravaganza of war and legend on celluloid like never before....

A roaring waterfall is beautifully shown falling from a height that is several times that of niagara , with waters which cascade like milk over a slippery mountain that seems to head endlessly upwards...

And for the hero ( played by Prabhas ) who manages to climb the slippery heights of the waterfall to the roof of the world among snowy hills lies the ultimate prize---the kingdom of mahishmati , which is a wonder on earth with mighty bastions and magnificent palaces and superbly crafted temples....

And also waiting for him in the high heights beyond the waterfall is the beautiful Tammanah , a damsel with pink skin and smooth belly with a deep navel that would be dream to explore....

And it is Tammanah who eggs him on to invade Mahishmati alone...

But waiting for him in Mahishmati is another secret---that he is the one who has been chosen by destiny to lead the people of the kingdom towards liberation from the evil clutches of the villain ( played by Rana Daggubati ) ,who has kept many in the chains of slavery and unleashed tyranny upon the rest....

Yes , he is Bahubali---the ultimate warrior and the rightful heir to the throne of the kingdom....for he was whisked away as a child from the kingdom after his father who king was killed by the villain....

And he then hears the story of how his father fought an epic battle to save the kingdom of Mahishmati from a horde of barbarians---a battle that is brought alive on celluloid like no battle has been ever before....

He hears how his father tamed a giant bull---a huge bull with massive size and built , and a scene filmed with such spectacular skill....you really feel that bull's angry snorts as his attack is brought to a grinding halt by the hero's father ( Prabhas in a double role )....

And he sees really tall statue of gold being raised in the city---another superb effort of photography....

But the piece de resistance of the film is the epic battle fought with cruel savages who are crude enough to dream of violating the women of Mahishmati....

Precise battle plans are brought to perfection on the battlefield ; soldiers armed with gleaming pikes and shields form a impenetrable wall of steel....

Giant balls of stone are thrown by gigantic catapults onto the enemy , and a storm of fire is unleashed in the enemy's ranks....

Dramatic cavalry charges are made onto the plains filled with enemy soldiers , and sharp arrows are fired by huge bows....

Shining swords strike enemy bodies drawing red blood from them....

Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are shown cramming the plains of battle like a dark cloud of locusts....

And all of this is filmed with magnificent special effects the kind of which India has never seen before....a literal splurge of money....

The music is pleasant too---all melodious songs and soothing instrumentation that pleases the senses....

Prabhas looks good too---muscled and leader like ; a true Bahubali....
Rana Dagubatti looks strong and beefy ; a strong contender for the throne that he wants....

But at the end of it all comes the real disappointment---that the film has not ended at all ; it has been left incomplete....the second part will complete the film in 2016 , a part named as 'Bahubali the conclusion'....
Some in the audience were swearing to themselves in sheer disappointment....for the first part of the film had raised the bar of entertainment high , but the incomplete ending had left audience feeling high and dry....
Many will return in 2016 however , hoping to watch another epic battle filmed in the second part like never before....
I will return too...

Verdict---spectacular entertainment .
Four stars .



Is there a trailer somewhere?



Why, thanks for posting. I'll look into this internet thing. sounds promising



The effects are on the level of Hollywood, not making Hollywood envy this $40 mil budget spectacle. James Cameron and Peter Jackson are not watching this movie like "Damn, I need to step up by game now. Avatar and LOTR effects are awful next to this."



Review of Bahubali part two---the conclusion ( April 2017 )



The only show in town , or rather the only show in India this weekend---S S Rajamouli's magnum opus 'Bahubali the conclusion ( part second )'....for it had hogged almost all shows and all screens at all multiplexes and theatres in the country....and it seemed all of India was streaming to watch the movie on sunday....for inspite of the enormous number of screens fixed for the film , the seats were packed to full capacity....And the owners of the multiplex were taking full advantage of the situation , for advertisements after advertisements followed each other prolonging the wait for the audience....when the movie finally started , there were whistles even from the uber cool and ultra sophisticated audience with whom I was watching the movie....yes , ashdoc brings you these reviews by watching movies in the best of places and among the best of people....

The movie begins with two onscreen giants ( Amarendra Bahubali played by Prabhas , and Bhallala deva played by Rana Daggubati ) locked in eternal rivalry over the throne of the magnificent kingdom of Mahishmati....and they soon become rivals for the affection of the princess ( Devasena played by Anushka Shetty ) of the kingdom of Kuntala too . And like always , it is the nice guys who are at the receiving end of injustice....for Bhallala Deva and his father ( Nassar playing Bijjaladeva ) hatch a plot to not only remove Amarendra from the seat of power but also finish him off....

Presiding over this mayhem is the queen ( Maharani Sivagami played by Ramya Krishnan ) , and taking part in all this not from the sidelines but right in the centre of it all is Kattappa ( played by Sathyaraj )....after all , he is the one who kills Bahubali---an unsolved mystery from the last film and a subject of countless jokes on whatsapp ; it would not be a exaggeration to say that many people had come to see the film to know why Kattappa killed Bahubali....

But behold the justice of providence....Amarendra Bahubali's son has been born and saved from the cruel fate planned for him by the villains , looks exactly like his father and has been named as Mahendra Bahubali....he has come to avenge the death of his father and the imprisoning of his mother , and he has come with his future consort ( played by the gorgeous Tammanah ) ; the battle royale is about to be fought....

The first one hour does drag a bit---some incidents and acting during this period is not too convincing and not too serious....but as the interval approached the audience was bombarded with heart thumping music that aroused the senses---the movie had begun to pick up real momentum at this point....

In the second half , the movie does develop into an engaging story . Again as the climax approached , the movie seemed to stretch a little too long and I was waiting for the final battle to begin . As the final battle ended , once more the bombardment of heart pounding music that electrified the senses....if you want to enjoy it fully , see the movie equipped with Dolby atmos sound as I did .

The final battle however is not as well showcased as the battle between the armies of Mahishmati and the armies of barbarians that was shown in the last part . The battle in the first part was truly equal to Hollywood in standards . This time , the final battle was not so great in scale and not photographed with such exquisite skill .

So does S S Rajamouli's effort pay off ? Yes , in the final analysis it does . For the movie is still far grand than anything that has been filmed in India so far . The grandeur of the vast palaces , the perfection of the weapons used for war , the scale of the monuments in the city , the inventiveness shown in filming the individual fighting scenes , the size of the animals like elephants and oxen , the richness of the clothes worn by the royals---all speaks of super extravagance . Acting is decent enough , colours of the film are good , songs and background music are hummable , and the main characters seem like towering figures on the silver screen . 'Bahubali' is truly the pinnacle of extravagant cinematography .

Verdict---Good .

Three and a half stars .