: Sivudu (Prabhas) is consumed by a desire to scale the waterfall by the edge of his hamlet right from his childhood, much to the chagrin of his doting mother. One fine day, he ascends the summit only to find out that it he is the son of Amarendra Bahubali, the crown prince of the kingdom of Mahishmati, who gets murdered by his first cousin, Bhalladeva (Rana).
: To cut a long story short, this "magnum opus" is a CGI laden attempt to blend the good old folk lore format into a kitschy hero-worshipping Tollywood potboiler. A romantic sequence in which Sivudu woos Avanthika (Tamannaah) emphatically proves why. A brief background about Avanthika first: a feared warrior from the fiefdom of Kuntala, she's dedicated her life to the cause of rescuing Devasena (Anushka), the wife of Amarendra Bahubali and mother of Sivudu, from the clutches of the vicious Bhallaladeva, the backbiting first cousin of Bahubali who usurps the throne. Cut to the scene. "Nuvvu oka aada pillavi. Nenu oka mogadini. Nenu aa neeti konda ni ekki vachcha nini premisthuna ani cheppadaniki," (You are a girl, I'm a man, who has climbed up this mountain, to say I love you), quips Prabhas, even as Avanthika has her sword pointed at his heart. For the next couple of minutes, a fight ensues during the course of which he skillfully disrobes her right down to her (very fashionable) red inner wear, and leaves a splattering of his blood on her forehead. seeing her own reflection in a sheath of water cascading from a cliff, Tamannah realises that he is her man and jumps to embrace him. Then they make love over a song.
It turns out Sivudu is the son of the very Devasena that Avanthika — never mind the flip flop in her character sketch — has avowed to die trying to rescue. From then on, Prabhas takes over as he sets out fulfil his destiny of avenging his father's death.
The whole of first half seems like a little over an hour-and-a-half-long prelude for the flashback episode that goes back 50 years in time. Infants, Bhallaladeva and Bahubali are both heirs to the throne of Mahishmathi, when the then king dies an untimely death. The queen Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan) ascends to the throne and decrees that the worthier of the two cousins will be crowned king. Bhallaladeva, being the son of the younger brother (Nasser) of the deceased king, who was denied the throne owing to serious character flaws, inherits his father's desire to become the emperor.
The best part of the film is the elaborate war sequence that plays out in the second half. The ostentatious sets, breathtaking montage shots of the fictional kingdom, and the sheer scale of the battle scene stand out. The inspiration from Hollywood epics like 300, Troy, Lord of the Rings, Conan the Barbarian, Pirates of the Caribbean, Croods, Prince of Persia (to name a few) are all too evident in the battle sequences. Yet, it is still a first for Tollywood and perhaps even Indian cinema, even though the end result may be a little too underwhelming. Let's just say how much the CGI will move you will depend on how much you empathise with the fact that a filmmaker has attempted it. In any case Rajamouli isn't known as much for originality as he is for delivering an overwhelming cinematic experience.
But we're afraid there's plenty that has gone wrong on that score too. There's got to be something wrong when the highest point in what is Telugu cinema's greatest war sequence is a minute-long monologue delivered by Prabhas, who sounds a little too shrill for his rippling muscles. Rana's decibel levels might have overshadowed Prabhas', to sum up the performances which are a little too high on theatrics and low on chutzpah. The music by Keeravani is the biggest dampener of them all. The most redeeming part of the film must be the bare body shots of Rana and Prabhas. The fans and the ladies must dig it.