Until a few years ago, people like me were plagued with many prejudices about southern cinema. The Hindi belt audience knew Kamal Haasan, Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi and Venkatesh best and must have seen all of their movies in Hindi. But most have never seen an original South movie. This audience always thought that only masala entertainment is served in the name of movies in the South. There is exhibition and action sequences are shown in vain, illogical and beyond imagination. Until the release of Bahubali on July 10, 2015, many people’s perception of the epic SS Rajamouli film was also ancient.
Southern Bahubali is the first film of its kind that changed the thinking of the majority of the Hindi belt audience about southern cinema. It appears to be a movie bridge that connects the south with the north. Bahubali was forced from north to south to believe that the culture, rituals and their tales and stories of India are common. Bahubali was also released in Hindi along with Tamil-Telugu and Malayalam. Many of these films were released even before Bahubali, but the wall between north and south always got in the way. Bahubali broke that wall.
After this, dozens of movies released in the last six years, including Rajinikanth’s Kabali 2.0, Prabhas’ Saaho, and Yash’s KGF Chapter 1, were seen on the Hindi belt in the same way ordinary Bollywood movies are seen. People also came to theaters to see them. By making films like RRR, you are looking out for the interests of the Northern audience. The shared starcast tradition seems to be stronger.
Now the question is, why and how did the cinematographic difference of the North and the South persist for so many days in the same country? The simple answer is that there are many points of overlap connecting the two areas on the basis of religion, culture, and music, but those common points and interests in literature and film are not very widespread. There was a difference in the methods. Surely this gap was bridged by Bahubali of the South. In which emotion, language, imagination, philosophy, religion, culture were the same.
How Bahubali achieved this is an interesting topic. In fact, the tone of the country’s politics has changed in the last decade. Parallel to the Hindutva debate, there has been a debate on culture. There is no doubt that, apart from cricket, culture is what truly unites the country. Bahubali is the epic story of that culture. Mahishmati and his fictional characters, a great and imaginary kingdom, to which state of the South or the North? The philosophy on which the film was made did not allow this question to arise in the minds of viewers from the North and South. In the atmosphere created by the political rise of Modi and Hindutva, the former glory of India was reinforced by making it more glorious with the Bahubali fiction. It can also be said that it is a film made on the RSS agenda, which its opponents call Hindutvavadi.
After all, what was the philosophy of the epic Bahubali fiction saga? “Indianity”. Bahubali may have been criticized on all political points, but in reality, the poor of Bahubali are intertwined with popular indigence. Dharma, renunciation, dignity, splendor, pride, courage, commitment, love, compassion, goodness, charity, chastity and loyalty. These have been the timeless basic elements of Indian religion and culture. What is the philosophy of epics like Ramayana-Mahabharata? Rama leaves the throne for the sake of words and discipline. He is the Supreme Being. They have forgiveness and modesty along with courage. Hanuman, Jatayu, Sugriva are loyal. There is chastity and love in Sita. That is why he is not ready to commit to even a straw even though he is in Ravana’s bondage. Ravana is full of all the demerits.
This is also the philosophy at Bahubali. Queen Sivagami is the epitome of sacrifice and compassion. Amarendra wants to make Bahubali the king, not his son Bhallal, a philanthropist of all virtues and full of courageous forgiveness and modesty. Katappa is as loyal as Hanuman. Although he is a slave, he is respected in the royal family as Ram Kewat is respected. Devasena is like Sita, whose chastity and love is for Amarendra Bahubali. And Bhallaladeva, he and his followers are as short as Ravana. In reality, Bahubali is a story of religion, sacrifice, dignity, splendor, pride, courage, commitment, love, compassion, goodness, benevolence, chastity and loyalty, just like the Ramayana. Amarendra Bahubali’s Mahishmati is exactly Ramraja’s ideal kingdom. Ideal society of popular culture.
Be it Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Himachal or Rajasthan and Maharashtra or any other state, in fact Amarendra envisions an ideal state like the Mahishmati of Bahubali. On the basis of this philosophy, Bahubali destroyed the cinematographic wall that was between the South and the North. In fact, Bahubali, despite being a fictional story, was made into a film to immerse the people of the North and South in their culture and ancient splendor. Actually, Rajamouli composed the film Ramayana.