Baahubali

2 May

Hi all,

Today I went to see “Baahubali 2 – The Conclusion”. Ever since the Orion Mall East has come up within 10 minutes walk from my house in Cooke Town, doing movies has become a low-stress outing.

I tried my best to get some of my friends to go with me but ended up having to go on my own.

Me being of pre-Independence vintage (Midnights Child) and an Indo-Anglian, I am sure those who know me would have concluded what my reactions must be.

I realised how INDIAN I was because I recognised most of the symbols and the dialogues and actions of actors. I realised how proud I was to be a SOUTH INDIAN, which for uneducated North Indian politicians is the equivalent of being “Black” [skinned]. Those who think that all South Indians are MADRASIs… when in fact they belong to the Dakshin… or more assertively, to DRAVIDISTAN… They have surely not heard of TAMILAKAM and RAJA RAJA CHOLA or Vijayanagaram… so preoccupied they would be of the humiliation they suffered at the hands of Arab, Afghan, Turkish and Mughal invaders.

I noticed a number of historical inaccuracies like Kumar Verma fighting Pindaries… The Pindaries were made up of different Muslim tribes who congregated solely for purposes of plunder. “They came into existence during the 18th century when the Mughal Empire was breaking up and Marathas were ruling most of India.”

Ref.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pindari

The reference to Vermas is important because they are Kshatriyas… and not one of the Sudra groups who want that martial recognition.

The amusing armoured car with revolving blades pulled by oxen, the catapulting of a group of soldiers protected by their shields over the fortifications are all ok… so is the gold statue of Bhallala Deva floating down a river.

In one of the reviews I read, the time period of the movie BAAHUBALI is estimated to be within the Golden Period of Hindu Indian History: 500 BC – 800 AD. The review mentions an Afghan prince visiting Baahubali to discuss trade… although I seem to have missed this scene. The Arabs had begun to make inroads into India with the conquest of Sindh by the 8th Century.

Modern Indian children grow up on Video Games and their choice of content on the electronic media. We grew up on stories from the vast treasure trove of Indian mythology including the Indian answer to American comics, “Amar Chitra Katha,”

South Indian actors like NT Rama Rao, Rajkumar, Prem Nazir, MG Ramachandran, Sivaji Ganesan all played the roles of Gods and legendary kings. Our library of images were filled with the performances of our great actors.

I found the actress who played the Rajmata, Ramya Krishna absolutely stunning, with her expressive (though stylised) eye movements and regal bearing. Anushka Shetty (Anushka who?) portrayed a warrior woman. A Kshatriya queen.

Prabhas who acted as Baahubali and Sathyaraj who played the enigmatic role of Kattappa proved that regional stars can carry a blockbuster without any Bollywood star power.

Those less educated politicians who condescend to live in the same country as South Indians (You know Karnataka, you know Kerala, you know Tamilnad, you know Andhra) who are “black” skinned should see this movie.

The greatest rebuttal of their prejudice which can only backfire on them is the first day box office collections for Baahubali from all over India.

Region wise break-up:

Nizam/Andhra Pradesh: Rs 46 crore (Telugu Version)
Hindi Belt: Rs 37 crore (Hindi Version)
Tamil Nadu: Rs 16 crore (Tamil Version)
Karnataka: Rs 11 crore (Tamil + Telugu Version)
Kerala: Rs 4 crore (Malayalam Version)
Total: Rs 114 crore (Early Estimate)

The collection was Rs 506 crore worldwide (cumulative figure of all languages) over the opening weekend.

2 Responses to “Baahubali”

  1. Deepak Damodarr May 6, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    Dear Bro. Ajit,

    Interesting post on Bahubali..just wanted to know if the story of Bahubali was built around the city of Mahishmati..supposed medieval city somewhere in Madhya Pradesh..would the story be still considered as history of South India or Dhakhin or Dravidstan?

    -Deepak

    • Ajit Mani May 7, 2017 at 12:53 am #

      Deepak, the Baahubali story is complete fiction, happening somewhere in Medieval India. There are Islamic clues in the film, including props like hanging brass lampshades. So we are talking about 7th to 9th century. Although it is true that Mahishmati was an ancient city on the banks of the Narmada river, to satisfy our need for historical accuracy, all we need to satisfy ourselves with is that the Badami Chalukya Empire, which existed during 636 CE, 740 CE ruled all the land between the Kaveri and the Narmada rivers with their capital at Badami, which is a town in Bagalkot district of Karnataka. Their language would have been Kannada, although judging from the history of Vijayanara Empire, it would have been a multi-lingual, multi-culture state which had mastered the art of managing diversity. So the question is, “What do we mean by ‘South India?'” There is evidence that the Chalukya Empire extended as far as Gujarat where the Chaulukyas were known as Solankis. Unfortunately, due to the Muslim Invasions of India where the focus was on plunder of temple wealth, the Vijayanagar Empire languished and broke up after changing its capital from Anegundi to Hampi to Penukonda to Chandragiri.

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