If you have not watched the film yet (and you call yourself a movie buff, eh!), be prepared to get a lot of spoilers in this post. So read it at your own risk.
I was appalled when I saw the Baahubali: The Beginning’s scene where Prabhas strips Tamannaah and then drapes her in what he thinks suits her more (read: Stereotyping the fact that woman is desirable only when she dresses in a girly manner). She expressed shock, dismay and utter confusion at what he was doing because Prabhas didn’t wait to take her approval before transforming her. Whether or not you like how a woman dresses, you don’t have the right to force upon a change on her. Of course, it ensued a huge controversy as well after its release. Now, we don’t know if it’s a way of salvaging that fiasco, but Baahubali 2 has turned out to be quite a treat for women. And for that Prabhas’ character of Amarendra Baahubali is to be thanked.
There are two instances in the film which left me deeply touched. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting any heroic contribution (read: meaty) by either Tamannah nor Anushka Shetty because it essentially is the story of two Baahubalis. Also, the fact that films with glorified male characters hardly do justice to their female leads, is a fact that I had come to accept after growing up on a steady diet of Bollywood. But I was pleasantly surprised on two accounts because there was a man voicing something that women, like me, want everyone to take seriously. If you don’t know how to respect women, you have no right to exist. Harsh? Well, situation today warrants it.
Now coming to the scenes. Let’s take them one by one…
Approval from a woman
This scene is pretty ironical. It happens in the court of Mahishmati, where Sivagami orders Devasena to marry Bhallaladeva instead of Amarendra. She rebels and Baahubali supports her. And while doing so, he says that if Devsena’s choice was not taken into account, it means Sivagami took a wrong decision. Yes, that snatched him the rights to his kingdom but his way of standing for the right, won me over! If you are still wondering the ‘irony’ bit, it’s the fact that a man stood up for a woman to protect her from the forceful demands of another woman!
Grope and die
Bollywood has often glorified stalking. They will never admit to it but ’90s films reeked of the same. Do you remember Premi, Aashiq Awara from Phool Aur Kaante or Akeli na bazar jaya karo from Major Saab? But here, in Baahubali 2, was a man who felt that merely chopping off the fingers of a man trying to grope women is not enough punishment. So he beheads him. Capital punishment…served on time!
All these scenes made her the most enigmatic character of Baahubali 2 who never shied away from speaking the truth. Hence, I will say Baahubali 2 is a much better film than Baahubali. And I know you all will agree with me.