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Baahubali vs Magadheera: How They Stack Up?

Magadheera visual effects backed by strong story.

Magadheera visual effects backed by strong story.

Director S.S. Rajamouli can proudly look back and say he has top two memorable films made in Telugu which can stand out forever. When his earlier magnum opus “Magadheera” was made, it had brought to the audience the graphics experience, which can overwhelm the quality of any film, supported by rich story and good actors.

His unprecedented attempt not merely in Telugu but in India has brought “Baahubali”, which otherwise could have been siphoned off another typical story of kings and their killings. In view of both film being hits and seen by many people, it is apt to compare them as they have more than one feature similar.

For fats and figures, both directed by Rajamouli, had a storyline on Kings from the medieval period. Who will ascend the throne is centre plot of both the stories. While “Baahubali – The Beginning” is the first part of the film, the upcoming second part will focus on how Baahubali was dethroned and killed in treachery by his cousin brother who grew up with him with his sight fixed on the throne.

In Magadheera, it was a question of a daughter ascending the throne. The plot revolves around the princess, a valiant warrior in charge of her safety, her cousin who lusts after her and a Muslim emperor who wants to conquer their kingdom Udaygadh in Rajasthan. All of them die and in their rebirth 400 years later, the warrior kills the scheming cousin with the support of the emperor who is born as a Goan.

Credit also goes to Rajamouli who made “Magadheera” at a whopping budget of Rs.35 crore way back in 2008 with an upcoming hero Ram Charan Teja, son of Chiranjeevi, and made him successful in the Telugu film field forever, while its lead actress Kajal Aggarwal made it even bigger in all South Indian films.

The film remained an epic oft-repeated on all Telugu channels, dubbed into major Indian languages and for the first time included the visual effects, designed by R. C. Kamalakannan, with assistance from Adel Adili and Pete Draper, who are familiar with Bollywood films.

‘Magadheera’, released on 31 July 2009 in 1,250 screens worldwide, grossed Rs.125 crore, surpassing known records and remained the highest-grossing Telugu film of all time for five years, until it was surpassed by ‘Attarintiki Daredi’ in 2013. It won the National Award for Best Choreography and Best Special Effects at the 57th National Film Awards as well as winning 6 Filmfare Awards, 9 Nandi Awards and 10 CineMAA Awards.

Buoyant on ‘Magadheera’ success, Rajamouli ventured into an even bigger project “Baahubali” that has created an aura around the film much before its release. Ranked 9.3 in terms of visual effects in IMDB, far high tha Hollywood hits like “Jurassic World” or “300”, the film was a treat in visual effects available in the world by the VFX team. that made it for “Jurassic World” earlier.

Compared to “Magadheera”, the next big film of Rajamouli, no doubt, excels in budget at a whopping Rs.250 crore, released in 2000 screens and made into two parts for the first time, has little to cheer about except the visual effects treat to the viewer.

Unlike ‘Magadheera, the latest film “Baahubali” leaves the viewer with an abrupt ending, unseen in any film. In fact, caught unawares, the viewer is forced to quit the theatre and wait the for second part. How much will he remember when  he happens to see the second part next year? Will he at least enjoy the second part in full?

Moreover, the story in ‘Baahubali’ lacks grip of the viewer throughout. In fact, the visual treat is so overwhelming that the audience may choose to condone the director’s audacity to leave them half-full. Unlike Magadheera, which made viewers sit tight to their chairs for 3 hours at a stretch, the second half of “Baahubali” make turn uncomfortably despite huge battle fields and killings on the screen. Already, riding high on a Rs.300 crore box office record, all that Rajamouli can think of is to make the second part more accomplishing for the money already collected from the audience.

Otherwise, “Magadheera” stands out any day both in story value, visual effects and of course, star strength. Rajamouli should have attempted similar project instead of splitting it into two, banking merely on visual effects for the success of the first part.


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