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Film / Magadheera

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A love story 400 years in the making.

Magadheera, or The Great Warrior, is a 2009 Indian Telugu-language fantasy action film directed by S. S. Rajamouli. The biggest Bollywood epic ever made at its time (It has since been surpassed by Baahubali) the movie is granted a 1000-day theatrical release, earning itself the title of the longest running South Indian film. Winning the National Award for Best Choreography and Best Special Effects at the 57th National Film Awards, six Filmfare Awards, nine Nandi Awards and ten CineMAA Awards, the movie made its star Ramcharan Teja a household name for fans of modern Bollywood and Indian cinema.

A forbidden love story from 400 years ago is destined to continue in modern-day India; in 1609, the warrior Kala Bhairava and Princess Mithravinda Devi are lovers, but Bhairava must rightfully earn the approval of King Vikram, while the princess' evil cousin, Ranadev Billa, lusts for the princess as well as the throne. After being defeated and humiliated by Kala Bhairava in a chariot race, Ranadev Billa betrays his entire kingdom allowing the neighboring Shere Khan Empire to invade, resulting in the love story ending in ruins.

400 years later, the story continues with Kala Bhairava reincarnated into a biker, Harsha, who falls for an heiress, Indira, the reincarnation of Princess Devi. While both lovers get off on the wrong foot, she eventually reciprocates his feelings when he saves her from a group of punks, but as fate would have it, Ranadev Billa is reincarnated as Indira's cousin Raghuveer who wants Harsha out of the picture at all costs.

Will the lovers get a second chance after 400 years?

Magadheera includes examples of:

  • Almost Dead Guy: Gora, Bhairava's friend, who managed to flee the palace massacre and warn Bhairava and the princess about Ranadev's betrayal, moments before his death.
  • An Arm and a Leg:
    • In the 100-on-1 fight, Bhairava hacks off a random Shere Khan soldier's leg.
    • For the final confrontation of the movie, Harsha kills Raghuveer by throwing his sword, which successfully severs Raghuveer's arm, causing him to lose balance and fall into the chasm to death.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: Princess Devi's outfits expose her navel in every scene. Justified, as it's an Indian saree.
  • Blood from the Mouth: On Princess Devi, after Ranadev Billa hurls a dagger through her gut.
  • Blood-Splattered Warrior: Ranadev Billa after leading the Shere Khan army to massacre the palace, and Kala Bhairava after he defeats a hundred enemies.
  • Carry a Big Stick: Some of the larger Shere Khan soldiers are seen carrying clubs instead of swords or spears during the 100-on-one fight. And Ranadev Billa's favourite weapon is a spiked mace.
  • Chariot Race: In order to win the hand of Princess Devi, Kala Bhairava and Ranadev Billa must compete in a race across the kingdom, through the palace grouds, fields and a desert before returning to the palace where they started.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: Ranadev Billa tries to sabotage Kala Bhairava from winning the chariot race by sending mercenaries to ambush Kala Bhairava and later trying to drive his opponent into quicksand. He ends up losing and subsequently exiled.
  • Defeat Means Respect: After witnessing Kala Bhairava defeat a hundred of his soldiers, the Shere Khan Emperor is genuinely impressed and as stated by the rules before the challenge, he immediately orders his army to retreat.
  • Disney Death: Kala Bhairava at the end of the flashback as he leaps into a chasm after the fallen princess. In the present day, Raghuveer dies the same way falling into the same chasm Kala Bhairava falls through 400 years ago.
  • Dual Wielding: Kala Bhairava uses twin swords, while Ranadev Billa alternates between using his trusty spiked mace and a dagger in conjunction with a sword.
  • Dutch Angle: Used througout the film to create tension in certain scenes, for instance when Kala Bhairava challenges the Shere Khan army in exchange for the kingdom.
  • Facial Markings: Before the 100-on-one fight, Kala Bhairava slits open his own hand, and smears his blood all over his forehead.
  • Fortune Teller: The tantrik (Hindu medium) Raghuveer consults which leads to him learning of his past life as Ranadev Billa.
  • Good Hair, Evil Hair: Kala Bhairava, Ranadev Billa and the Shere Khan all have rather impressive beards, moustaches and goatees. In the present day scenes, this is carried over to Harsha, Raghuveer and Solomon.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: The Shere Khan Emperor of the Shere Khan Empire, who had plans to invade King Vikram's palace. Subverted in that he's ultimately a Noble Demon who turns out to be quite honorable in his last scene.
  • Hate Sink: Ranadev Billa, the evil cousin of Princess Devi, gains a 0% Approval Rating for being an usurping, double-crossing, cheating scumbag who rightfully earns the hate of the entire kingdom. Even his new boss, the invading Shere Khan Emperor, thinks he's a piece of filth for dishonoring the promise they established that they will rightfully retreat if Kala Bhairava proves himself to be a worthy hero.
  • Hellish Copter: In the final scene, Raghuveer tries to assault Harsha and Indira while on a helicopter. It ultimately crashes thanks to Solomon's intervention.
  • Horns of Barbarism: Ranadev Billa, after revealing himself to be a traitor who had defected to the Shere Khan empire, is shown leading Shere Khan soldiers wearing a horned helmet resembling a ram.
  • Identical Stranger: Kala Bhairava and Harsha, Mithravinda Devi and Indira, Ranadev Billa and Raghuveer, Emperor Sher Khan and Solomon. Justified that the latter are reincarnations of the former after 400 years.
  • I Have You Now, My Pretty: Attempted by Ranadev Billa when he enters Princess Devi's quarters while she is painting a portrait of Kala Bhairava, and forces her to accept him while threatening her with a dagger, but Kala Bhairava barges in and catches him red-handed. Unfortunately, due to lacking of evidence, Ranadev Billa doesn't get any comeuppance. All these ultimately leads to...
  • If I Can't Have You…: Moments before his death, out of pure spite, Ranadev's last actions would be hurling his dagger through Princess Devi's gut and killing her.
  • Kneel Before Frodo: At the end of the 100-soldier fight, Kala Bhairava, emerging victorious, had the Shere Khan Emperor and his entire army kneeling in respect. Well, all of them except Ranadev Billa.
  • Mook Lieutenant: The Shere Khan General who towers over both Bhairava and his soldiers, and is seen commanding his troops around.
  • Off with His Head!: The eventual fate of Ranadev Billa, with Kala Bhairava shoving his sword through Ranadev's head and ripping it off from the neck. It's a Shadow Discretion Shot though.
    • In the penultimate final confrontation, Harsha retrieves the same sword, and Ranadev's skull, horned helmet and all, is still embedded in its blade, after 400 years.
  • Ominous Message from the Future: Constantly from Harsha and Raghuveer throughout the film.
  • One-Hit Polykill: At one point in the 100-fight, two Shere Khan soldiers break off from their army to capture Princess Devi, but Kala Bhairava grabs and hurls a nearby spear, skewering both of them instantly.
  • One-Man Army: Kala Bhairava, literally, when he challenges the Shere Khan army in a duel where he takes on 100 of their warriors.... and wins.
  • Quicksand Sucks: Happens during the desert race scene, when Ranadev Billa's mercenaries tries to take out Kala Bhairava. One of them accidentally falls into a quicksand and drowns, while Ranadev Billa later tries to kill Kala Bhairava by knocking him into another quicksand pit, which Kala Bhairava managed to escape from.
  • Rain of Arrows: When the Shere Khan army catches up to Kala Bhairava and Princess Devi, they immediately take out the princess' entourage with a massive hail of arrows.
  • Redshirt Army: King Vikram's soldiers, who gets slaughtered en masse by the Shere Khan invaders.
  • Reincarnation Romance: The very premise of the entire film. The ancient romance between Kala Bhairava the warrior and Princess Devi, which ends with their deaths, is continued in present-day India when they're reincarnated as Harsha and Indira. Unfortunately, the princess' evil cousin, Ranadev Billa, is reincarnated as well into Indira's cousin, Raghuveer, leading to their centuries-old rivalry to continue in the present.
  • Rescue Romance: In the present day scenes, Indira begins having feelings for Harsha when he saved her from a bunch of gangsters.
  • Screaming Warrior: Kala Bhairava througout the 100 fight, notably doing a Skyward Scream after skewering an enemy soldier.
  • Sickening "Crunch!": When Ranadev Billa kills King Vikram by bashing the latter's skull with his spiked club.
  • Slashed Throat: How Kala Bhairava defeats the Shere Khan commander after killing at least 99 Shere Khan soldiers.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Kala Bhairava and Princess Devi, due to their differences as a warrior not of royalty and a princess. He eventually won her hand fair and square in a race, only for them to die days later when the princess' jealous cousin Ranadev Billa turns on them.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: When Princess Devi enters the training grounds dressed as a male warrior to be with Bhairava.
  • Take It to the Bridge: Arguably the film's most iconic and memorable scene, and one of the manliest moments in the history of Indian cinema, when Kala Bhairava battles a hundred Shere Khan soldiers on a rock bridge over a deep chasm. By the end of the fight, loads and loads of dead enemy bodies cover the bridge's surface, while plenty more are splattered on the bottom of the chasm.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: Bhairava does this a few times during his fight scenes, and in the present-day confrontation Harsha kills Raghuveer by throwing his sword to sever Raghuveer's arm.
  • Together in Death: Attempted by Kala Bhairava and Mithravinda Devi, with him jumping after her into a deep chasm as she falls. Unfortunately, it doesn't work.
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The movie basically tells two different stories at the same time: the romance between Kala Bhairava and Princess Devi 400 years ago which ends badly, and how it's continued in a new love story between their reincarnated selves, Harsha and Indira.
  • The Usurper: Ranadev Billa wants more than just Princess Devi for himself. He wants the throne, and he will stop at nothing to get it. He succeeded when he bashed King Vikram to death with his mace.