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Film / Baahubali

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India's Biggest Motion Picture

Baahubali is a duology of Indian Telugu/Tamil High Fantasy Epic Movies by S. S. Rajamouli, consisting of 2015's Baahubali: The Beginning and 2017's Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. The franchise also consists of two prequel television series and novels.

Shiva / Shivudu is a young man who was found as an infant by his adopted parents. He lives a carefree life until he finds a band of rebels who reveal his destiny. You see, Shivudu is really Mahendra Baahubali, the son of the former king of Mahishmati, who was usurped by the tyrant who killed him. Mahendra then goes on a quest to both avenge his father and take his rightful throne. Interposed throughout the films are extended flashbacks to the tragedy of the king's fall.

The movies are famous for their extravagant special effects, historical influences from Hindu myth, and their notable length. The movies were originally intended to be one single film, but the Indian film board refused to screen a movie that would end up being four and a half hours long, so it ended up being cut into two.

Its soundtrack, of course, mainly comprises Filmi Music.Has nothing to do with the first tirthankara of Jainism.

Baahubali provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Both Baahubali Sr and Jr, Mahendra being a Generation Xerox of his father despite having never met him.
  • All Amazons Want Hercules: The awed and smitten expression on Devasena's face when Amarendra shows just how much of a One-Man Army he is against the raid on her kingdom says it all.
  • Always Chaotic Evil: The Kalakeyas are a race of warmongers who are depicted as so horrifying that they're Ambiguously Human.
  • Amazon Chaser: Amarendra falls for Devasena after seeing her kill some bandits.
  • Arranged Marriage: Amarendra's mother sends Devasena gifts to woo her into marrying Bhallaladeva. However, Devasena finds this insulting and rejects him. She eventually ends up marrying Amarendra.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Bhallaladeva is first seen fighting and killing a bull to show off his strength. Also, in the flashback, Amarendra and Bhallaladeva have to sacrifice a cattle each to the Goddess before battle. Bhallaladeva kills his cattle without any qualms or hesitation. Amarendra, on the other hand, refuses to kill his cattle, acknowledging it as an innocent animal, and instead cuts his hand to give his own blood to the Goddess. This trope is tossed out the window in the next film when Amarenda hunts hogs and also lights bulls' horns on fire.
  • Battle Amongst the Flames: Amarendra battles a bunch of assassins sent by Bhallaladeva while a forest fire rages around them. He holds his own against them until Kattappa is forced to stab him in the back.
  • Big Bad: Emperor Bhallaladeva, The Usurper to Mahishmati's throne.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Bijjaladeva, Bhallaladeva's father, comes up with the idea to put him on the throne, but Bhallaladeva actually implements the plan and is significantly more dangerous.
  • Blood Knight: Bhallaladeva loves fighting so much that he regularly fights wild bison unarmed and wins.
  • Book Ends: Baahubali:The Conclusion starts with the flashback of the Devil Immolation Ceremony. This occurs once every 26 years. Sivagami, as the daughter-in-law of the royal family, walked barefoot to the temple of Lord Shiva with a trident in one hand and an urn of burning coal on her head, which is then used to set the effigy of a demon on fire. She completed the walk without breaking her stride when a rampaging elephant is on the loose. The movie ended with Devasena performing a similar walk, also without breaking her stride despite obstacles, and finishing it by setting Bhallaladeva on fire.
  • Cain and Abel: Bhallaladeva and Amarendra are adoptive brothers and rivals for the throne. Bhallaladeva is the Cain, as he does a coup and kills his brother.
  • Chaste Hero: Kattappa is so aromantic that he asks Amarendra what love is because he doesn't understand it, and when he uses a couple songbirds as a metaphor, Kattappa is immediately distracted by thoughts of roasted bird.
  • The Chessmaster: Bhallaladeva. He subtly exploits his mother's fatal flaw, and watches her as she gradually turns against Amarendra. After inheriting the throne, Bhallaladeva slowly whittles away Amarendra's royal authority. He kills Devasena's cousin and frames him for attempting regicide, which convinces Sivagami to take action against Amarendra. Amarendra didn't even suspect Bhallaladeva's intentions and died without learning the truth. By the time Sivagami comes to her senses, Bhallaladeva has consolidated his royal power and shoots an arrow in her back, leaving her for dead. Mahendra's fortunate survival was the only thing Bhallaldeva didn't see coming.
  • Conlang: Kiliki, the language spoken by the Kalakeyas, was developed to have at least 750 words and over 40 grammar rules.
  • Consolation Prize: While Bhallaladeva loses the throne due to being to willing to sacrifice his men's lives, he is made head of the military. However, this isn't enough for him, so he does The Coup.
  • Demoted to Extra: Avanthika in the first film is a driving figure for Mahendra and gets two songs. In the second film she is, at best, a face in the crowd during action scenes.
  • Disk-One Final Boss: The Beginning is notable for having two, one for each major storyline. Baahubali Jr's storyline has Kattapa as the final opponent faced before the end of the movie, though the fight doesn't last too long since Kattapa surrenders upon seeing Jr's face. Baahubali Sr's flashback has the Kaalakeya chieftain Inkoshi, who leads the army against the Mahishmati and acts as the main villain during the climax. Both of these villains are subdued, clearing the way for Bhallaladeva to take center stage in The Conclusion.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: Baahubali dresses as a guard to infiltrate Bhallaladeva's throne room so he can set it on fire to distract him while he rescues Devasena.
  • Epic Movie: The first part is 2 hours and 38 minutes. The second is 2 hours and 48.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Almost every character will have a very badass one of these.
    • Mahendra lifts up an extremely heavy statue over which his adoptive mother has to pour water repeatedly to fulfill a vow, and plants it under a waterfall.
    • Avanthika is being chased through the forest by sinister soldiers, seemingly helpless, then turns around, springs an ambush on them, and kills many of them herself in hand-to-hand combat.
    • Bhallaladeva wrestles a wild bison and wins, then kills it when it breaks free from its keepers and attacks him from behind.
    • Amarendra as a child picks up a scorpion that’s about to attack his adoptive mother and holds it away from her during an important ceremony. The first time we see him as an adult, he is using his sword to deflect arrows being shot at him from every side.
  • Evil Cripple: Bijjaladeva, Bhallaladeva's father, is a cruel man willing to do anything for the throne because he was passed up for it in his youth due to his arm being deformed. It's implied by Kattapa that the "passed over because of deformity" is Bijjaladeva self-justification, and that in truth he was passed over because of his cruel personality.
  • Evil Overlord: Bhallaladeva is a cruel emperor who regularly has prisoners executed by public flogging and has slaves erect giant golden statues in his honor regardless of how many die in the process.
  • Evil Uncle: Bhallaladeva is Baahubali's half-uncle, but nothing is really made of it.
  • The Exile: Amarendra and Devasena are exiled due to Bhallaladeva's manipulations.
  • Face–Heel Turn: Queen Mother Sivagami starts off as a kindly queen protecting her people and her sons, but evolves into a cruel and capricious woman due to Bhallaladeva's manipulations and her hatred of Amarendra's wife Devasena. She does have a Heel Realization after having Amarendra killed, and sacrifices herself to save his son.
  • Fatal Flaw: Anger, bloodlust, arrogance and jealousy for Ballaladeva. He is a just as intelligent and capable of strategy as his brother Amarendra while being just as strong and skilled in combat, only when he can keep his above flaws in check. When he lets them get the better of him, which is easy while in the heat of battle, things go bad for him.
    • Hubris for Sivagami and Devasena. Sivagami is so used to having her authority unchallenged, that Bhallaladeva doesn't have to do much to trick her into taking bad decisions. Devasena is intelligent, but her insolence towards Sivagami cost her and her family dearly.
  • Final Solution: Bhallaladeva completely annihilates Devasena's kingdom in an attempt to break her. All that's left by the start of the film is the former queen and a small band of warriors.
  • Flaming Arrows: Amarendra's strategy for defeating the Kalakeyas is to have giant tarps launched on top of the armies, then set aflame by flaming arrows.
  • Forced into Evil: Kattappa, the personal slave of the Emperor, is forced into evil when Bhallaladeva takes the throne, up to and including killing Amarendra Baahubli himself. He pulls a Heel–Face Turn as soon as the rightful heir returns.
  • God in Human Form: It's heavily implied that Baahubali is an avatar of Shiva.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: The first half of The Beginning deals with Shiva/Baahubali Jr. growing up, getting involved with La Résistance, and eventually rescuing his mother. At pretty much the exact one hour and thirty minutes mark, the movie becomes an extended flashback, detailing the birth and rise of Baahubali Sr, until his eventual crowning as king at the end of the film.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • Shivagami does a fatal one in the beginning, giving up her life to ensure Mahendra's survival because she gave the order to have his father killed.
    • Non-fatal example; before going to war with the Kalakeyas, Bhallaladeva and Amarendra's armies participate in a ritual to have Kali protect them, which involves an animal sacrifice. Amarendra dislikes this, and decides a better sacrifice would be his own blood, cut from his hand and flung onto the altar.
  • Heroic Willpower: Queen Devasena spends the 25 years after Bhallaladeva's coup being locked in a cage and tortured until she agrees to marry him. She hasn't budged, and has been preparing his funeral pyre the whole time.
  • The Horde: Amarendra and Bhallaladeva battle an invading horde in their youth, right before the former becomes king.
  • Identical Grandson: Mahendra and Amarendra are played by the same actor with no real changes in appearance.
  • If I Can't Have You…: Bhallaladeva kidnaps Baahubali's mom and has her chained until she'll submit to marrying him. She hasn't given in in 25 years. Nearing the end of the second movie he admits that he has neither romantic or sexual attraction towards her, and was doing so to spite her husband's memory and because he loved torturing her.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Devasena denounces Sivagami's lack of judgement before the vast royal court. That said, Devasena did make a valid point that Sivagami had no right to fix her marriage with Bhallaladeva without her consent. Heck, when Sivagami had dispatched an emissary to Devasena regarding this matter, she didn't even bother to specify which prince Devasena was supposed to marry. Worse, the emissary delivered the message in a presumptuous and condescending manner to Devasena, as if the Mahishmati royal family was doing her a big favour by letting her marry one of its members.
  • Kangaroo Court: Bhallaladeva institutes this as the default policy of Mahishmati, as he declares all brought to trial to be guilty until proven innocent.
  • Like a Son to Me: Shivagami is actually Amarendra's aunt, that too by marriage, but they are closer than she is with Bhallaladeva, her own son until the latter's machinations take effect. She has been a model mother while he's very much a devoted Momma's Boy. Applies to Katappa's relationship with Amarendra as well, since the latter treats him as a Honorary Uncle
  • Loophole Abuse: When Baahubali's dad was young, he wanted Katappa to share some of his lunch with him. When Katappa protested due to his lower caste, the young prince simply made it a royal order to resolve the issue.
  • Made of Iron: Baahubali can fall hundreds of feet down a waterfall and come out unharmed.
  • Magnetic Hero: As a charmer, Nice Guy, Wise Prince and Warrior Prince par excellence, Amarendra has no difficulty making allies and friends and enjoys massive popularity in the kingdom.
  • Man on Fire: Devasena spends her 25 years in captivity collecting sticks so that when her son comes back, he'll burn Bhallaladeva alive. He obliges.
  • Matchmaker Crush: Comically invoked by Amarenda, who courts Devasena by pretending to be a simple-minded servant to her incompetent, cowardly cousin (and prospective husband) and helping him achieve feats so extraordinary and impossible that it's obvious to her (and just about everyone else) who's really responsible.
  • Moses in the Bulrushes: Baahubali was rescued by some villagers after his grandmother held him above the water while she was drowning and the soldiers sent to kill him were killed in what is heavily implied to be divine intervention.
  • The Musical: Like most Indian films, this has several musical numbers throughout.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: It is strongly implied that both of the Baahubali men have the same soul, and may in fact be an incarnation of the Hindu god Shiva. Baahubali Jr. is born right when his father dies, is named Shiva by the village that adopts him, and the film opens with Shivagami openly praying to the god Shiva that her grandson must live, even if she may die. He seemingly obliges, allowing Shivagami to drown while her body props up her grandson. The duology ends with Bhallaladeva's golden statue head crashing down to the site of Amburi village right in front of the Shiva statue, implying that the god may have had a hand in the film's events and arranged Bhallaladeva's downfall.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Shivagami's horrified and remorseful reaction when Katappa informs her of Bhallaladeva's manipulations that made her demand Amarendra's death. Leads to her whisking away Mahendra at the cost of her own life.
  • National Anthem: The Mahishmati national anthem is sung by a choir during Bhallaladeva's coronation ceremony. When it was first sung in the first movie, its lyrics (which mention about a prosperous and happy people) were used alongside the ironic, miserable condition of Mahishmati's people under Bhallaladeva's cruelty.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Amarendra pretends to be a moron kicked out of his home for being unable to work so he can enter Devasena's court and get her to fall for him. Unusually, the fact that it's a Paper-Thin Disguise for someone who's clearly incredibly competent is the whole point, and it doesn't take long for her to be in on the joke.
  • One-Steve Limit: Purposefully averted - both Mahendra and Amarendra are referred to primarily by their last name Baahubali, which (along with their Significant Double Casting) emphasises that one is a Generation Xerox of the other.
  • Parental Marriage Veto: Amarendra's mother arranged for his brother Bhallaladeva to marry Devasena, but she falls for Amarendra instead. Amarendra likes her back and wants to marry her, but has to give up the throne to do so.
  • Precursor Hero: Both films have extended flashback sequences depicting the heroism of the main character's father Amarendra, who saved his and Devasena's kingdoms from invasion prior to Bhallaladeva's coup.
  • Predecessor Villain: Mahendra's father battled the Kalakeya tribe before Bhallaladeva's coup.
  • Protagonist Title
  • Rank Scales with Asskicking: Bhallaladeva is the king of Mahishmati and, despite his middle-age, he is a formidable warrior, capable of subduing a massive Indian bison with his bare hands.
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Vilified: Baahubali avenges his father's murder by starting a peasant revolt against the usurper who killed him.
  • Rightful King Returns: Baahubali was the crown prince of Mahishmati before Bhallaladeva killed his father and took the throne. Thought dead for the next 25 years while being raised in an isolated village, he has come to take back the crown from the cruel Emperor.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Bhallaladeva and Amarendra were initially adoptive brothers/cousins and friends competing for the throne. However, Bhallaladeva's ruthlessness leads to him killing Amarendra and taking over as a cruel emperor.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: A deposed prince goes after the tyrant who overthrew his parents.
  • Salt the Earth: The Kalakeya Empire's default war strategy is to take a city, rape its women, slaughter its entire population, take what they can and burn the rest.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: When Baahubali and Avanthika first meet, they end up getting in a sword fight, which ends with them having sex.
  • The Stoic: The Kunthala warrior oath states that "There is no time for tears or laughter; there is no time for affection or pain," and they wear emotionless wooden masks to symbolize this.
  • Super-Strength: Baahubali can lift 100-foot statues of solid gold without breaking a sweat. His uncle is equally strong, and that too well into middle age.
  • The Time of Myths: The duology is in the Hindu Mythology canon and set in the ancient city of Mahishmati and features the Kalakeyas, a cruel and warlike tribe descended from a demigod. Krishna exists, and it's strongly implied that The Hero is an avatar of Shiva.
  • Tree Buchet: In the second film, an entire army uses trees to fling themselves into enemy territory. Six men per tree, forming an impromptu cannonball using their shields in midair.
  • Troubled Backstory Flashback: A good chunk of both films' runtime is spent narrated by Kattappa and recounting the fall of the Baahubali dynasty and Bhallaladeva's rise to power.
  • Undying Loyalty: Kattappa is eternally loyal to the throne of Mahishmati, despite the fact that he's only a slave to them by the oaths of long-dead ancestors. However, he's loyal to the throne, not necessarily the man who sits it, and tries to mitigate Bhallaladeva's cruelties whenever he can and eventually joining Baahubali when it's proven that he's a good man and the rightful heir.
  • Universally Beloved Leader: During the event where Bhallaladeva has a statue of his likeness raised, gold and several stories high, he gloats that the former king Baahubali has been forgotten. But all it takes is one man seeing Mahendra's face, who looks like his father, for all the workers to begin calling out his name. Even the various musicians and dancers' performance picks up and becomes livelier.
  • The Usurper: The main antagonists are a conspiracy to usurp the government of Mahishmati for the sake of one of the rival princes. They succeed and become the acting government.
  • We Have Reserves: While Amarendra deliberately avoids sacrificing his men unnecessarily, Bhallaladeva will kill them himself if it helps him win. This ends up being what decides their rivalry for the throne in the former's favour.
  • Wham Line: When Kattapa asks Devasena why she has spent so much time collecting sticks, she obliges him an answer.
    Devasena: Do you think I am crazy to collect this trash of sticks, Kattappa? I am arranging a funeral-pyre for that Bhallaladeva. My son will come. He will kill Bhallaladeva.
    • At the end of the first movie, Baahubali Jr. asks Kottapa for the identity of the man who killed his father. Kottapa tearfully responds with the following line, before immediately cutting to another scene to show that he isn't lying;
    Kattappa: That traitor... is none other than me! *The scene cuts to Bahubali Sr. being stabbed in the back by Kattappa on a battlefield.*
  • Wretched Hive: Bhallaladeva and Amarendra are sent to one of these to pursue a spy who went there to sell secrets he stole.