I am tongue-tied. Smitten. Totally bowled over. This sentence has made its way after an endless number of backspaces, as I did not know how to begin. I feel like a novice lover who writes and rewrites the same love-letter, without knowing how to begin or end it.
The much-awaited Bahubali: The Conclusion did not disappoint. It delivered, and how! I loved the lead characters, be it my crush (blush!) Amarendra Bahubali, the princess Devasena, or the Queen Mother. For those complaining about the violence – what did you expect? The younger Bahubali, Mahendra, was going to liberate his mother from the clutches of the evil villain Bhalla who has her in chains in his palace courtyard. He cannot do it by taking a bouquet of flowers to Bhalla, can he? Of course there will be bloodshed – it is a war. Yes, there are some tacky fights in the end that I did not care for. There are small glitches that I did not care for. But overall? I would see the movie again. Gladly.
The scenes were captivating, painted as they were like a fine work of art, on the canvas of the big screen. There is the scene where Amarendra saves the Queen Mother from an elephant in musth without harming either the mother or the elephant; at the end of it, he confidently strides up the elephant’s trunk to seat himself on its back.
There is the scene where Amarendra brings Devasena home with him on a ship whose sails turn to wings, turning the ship into a plane. And the scene where Amarendra and Devasena fight in tandem against the Pindaris with bows, showering arrows expertly and quickly on the invaders. He even coaches her on fighting skills – one of the most beautiful, and most romantic scenes of the movie. A scene that would appeal to anyone who doesn’t care for doe-eyed damsels in distress. After Kaurvaki of Ashoka, this is a lead female character that I can admire and appreciate – what a long gap between the two!
I love how women are portrayed. My heart sang seeing Devasena boldly tackling a bunch of bandits, fighting them as a more-than-equal. And Amarendra losing his heart to her, after seeing her fighting skills. Devasena is fiery and she is fiesty. She is beautiful and minces no words. She is confident in her stride and in her convictions. Amarendra is a secure man who, unlike weak men who fall in love at first sight, and can be manipulated by doe-eyed damsels who plead helplessness to get their way – finds Devasena’s feisty nature and fighting skills fascinating. He admires and loves her as an equal, and with that, he has me at hello. Yeah, its a Jerry McGuire reference, but I am too smitten to care! 😉
The Queen Mother sends a proposal to Devasena’s kingdom, which is humiliating in itself. She sends a large amount of gold and silver as presents, and says this is in exchange for Devasena’s hand. Devasena is to immediately marry her son, by symbolically having a wedding ceremony with his sword. Devasena spurns this offer, saying if the son so desires to marry her, she will send her own sword, and he can have a ceremony with it! Bravo Devasena!
When Amarendra gets a missive from the Queen Mother to bring Devasena to Mahishmati as a prisoner, he turns to his beloved, and asks her to cooperate and humor the queen by going with him as a prisoner. Devasena boldly says she will come lovingly and willingly, but never in the humiliating garb of a prisoner. Amarendra swears to protect her honor and dignity and asks her to place her trust in him, and he keeps his promise. All along, Amarendra believes that the Queen Mother had intended for him to marry Devasena.
The Queen Mother had, unbeknownst to Amarendra, promised Devasena’s hand to her other son Bhalla. When Amarendra brings Devasena to court, he finds out about his mother’s promise. The Queen Mother decrees that Devasena should fulfill her promise, whereupon the latter – unlike the simpering damsels of yore – boldly asks on what basis the Queen Mother had made such a promise to Bhalla. I have the right to choose my mate, she says. And I am not bound to keep someone’s promise made without my consent!
Bravo! And here is the clincher for me: when the Queen Mother, aghast at Devasena’s boldness, orders her soldiers to drag her to the front of the court to stand by Bhalla, Amarendra steps forward and says “Anyone who dares to lay a hand on Devasena, know that laying a hand on her is akin to laying a hand on the sword of Bahubali!”
He then confronts the Queen Mother saying and he will always be on the side of the right – no matter who is on that side. He vowed to protect Devasena, and he will stand by that promise come what may. Game, set and match!
A man who stands by his woman, and protects her with his life; a man who is not threatened by a capable warrior queen; a man who has the BIG heart and a chivalrous side to him that makes him stand by and protect his beloved’s honor.
Who would’ve thought? Most men when it comes to real-life warrior queens brand her in unsavory ways, and have nary a thought to protect her. The woman ends up fighting her battles, slaying her dragons and caring for those around her, often without a loving word or a caring touch. Some days she feels like the Queen Mother, brandishing a sword while holding a baby in the other hand. She gets taken for granted, and most men don’t even think to offer her help or protection (men are lazy that way!). But Amarendra my man says “here, capable woman! I am by your side 100%. And my sword will protect you!”.
Amarendra, you stole my heart right at that instance. Every capable, hardworking, fighting woman appreciates a man who stands by her, and is there to lean on in her vulnerable moments. A man with the sensitivity to know that even a brave woman like Devasena has moments when she needs support. A man who will not disappoint her. A man who will not let her down, come what may. (Excuse me while I swoon here)
I will never tire of watching this movie.