Beneath its dazzling veneer, this emperor has no clothes
Watchingis like being in a purportedly romantic relationship with a psychotic person who keeps saying “if you can’t handle me at my worst, you don’t deserve me at my best”. The worst in this case is basically 150 minutes and the best is around 20 minutes. After a fairly decent first part, director S S Rajamouli seems to have gotten a carte blanche from his producers to let his imagination go unfettered in the second part.
He did make a wild and weird movie but it ends up being a distended mess. As suggested at the end of the first part, Baahubali 2 hits the ground running with the back story of Amarendra Baahubali (Prabhas) and how before his coronation as king of the ancient city of Mahishmati he meets the love of his life Deva Sena (Anushka) under the garb of a simpleton. The first 60 minutes of the movie are slow and the comedy track involving Subba Raju as the simple-minded cousin of Deva Sena barely evokes any laughs. Things pick up a little when Deva Sena realises the real person behind the unassuming guy in her midst and goes to his kingdom with him. A tale of mistaken identities leads to Baahubali’s near-real mother Sivagami (Ramya Krishna) have a rage of fit and instead she anoints her other son Bhallaladeva (Rana Daggubati) as the king.
Second half is how righteousness of both Sivagami and Baahubali lets Bhallaladeva unfurl a vortex of tragedies until his nephew (Mahendra Baahubali) returns to avenge for the deaths. For the last 22 months, we always knew that the antagonist is going to die a bad death in the hands of his blood-thirsty nephew. We have been waiting for the journey for a predestined destination but Rajamouli disappoints. He goes offtrack way too often and by the end we are left huffing and puffing that the whole fuss around Kattappa killing Baahubali is fairly predictable. ()