baahubali-crown-of-blood-review-animated-series

BOTTOM LINE
Injustice to Brand Baahubali

RATING
1.75/5

Platform
Disney+ Hotstar


What Is the Show About?

Garuda Rajyam holds Mahishmati responsible for taking charge of their kingdom’s sacred idol. When Sivagami denies the charge and is on a war footing, Baahubali pleads for more time to resolve the conflict peacefully. Upon realising it was Kalakeya’s ploy to destabilise the kingdom, Baahubali is all out to restore Mahishmati’s pride. However, he needs to pay a heavy price for his heroics.


Analysis

Baahubali holds the credit for re-imagining folklore cinema on a larger-than-life scale after decades, creating strong characters in a compelling universe that has endured the test of time. However, the various efforts of the production house to broaden the appeal of the franchise across various mediums beyond the film (games, VR, merchandise, novels) have only met with limited success to date.

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Baahubali – Crown of Blood is a renewed attempt at cashing in on the brand’s allure and the result is no less different and disappointing. Coming after seven years of Baahubali 2 (from the creators behind Baahubali: The Lost Legends), it faces an acid test in drawing viewers to the Mahishmati universe in the animation format all over again.

The spinoff, whose two episodes are out now, unfolds a few years before Baahubali is assassinated. Mahishmati faces threats from unknown foes and therein lies the opportunity for Baahubali to prove his mettle, with the help of the kingdom’s most loyal servant Kattappa. From Garuda Rajyam to Kaal Dootha and Rakta Deva, a newer bunch of characters finds its way into the universe.

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Without deviating from the core plot of Baahubali and the traits of its pivotal characters, the show explores a different conflict. Sivagami believes that Baahubali is the torch bearer of Mahishmati even as her son Bhallaladeva is fuming with envy. The second episode firmly emphasises why Baahubali is a man of the masses, and how he stands up for his land in the direst of situations.

There’s an interesting plot development as Kattappa lives in exile to guard Baahubali in a tricky situation. Though the story is simplistic and generic, Baahubali – Crown of Blood is a massive letdown with its substandard execution. For a franchise that helped Telugu/Indian cinema conquer global frontiers, the show feels like the work of an amateur.

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A significant reason behind Baahubali’s widespread appeal was the artistry with which it was mounted. It transported viewers to a mythical universe that was spellbinding and relatable at once, taking them through its streets, and celebrating its magnificence through costumes, production design and cinematography. Baahubali – Crown of Blood is too casually made to pay heed to its finer details.

Even if one presumes that the show was aimed to be kid-friendly more than the adult audience, there’s nothing playful or magical about the storytelling too. It’s hard to take any of the digital avatars of Baahubali or Kattappa or a Sivagami seriously – they’re unintentionally funny. The dialogues and the terrible Telugu dubbing fail to provide any regal aura to the ambience and add insult to injury.

Though the show still has a chance to redeem itself in the upcoming episodes, the bar is set so low that it’s hard to expect much. When the same platform that backed the show has access to the films too, the least that the creators could’ve done is to come up with a spinoff with a distinctive appeal. Why does one need to watch Baahubali – Crown of Blood now? The answer’s hard to find.


Music and Other Departments?

There’s nothing much to write home about the music; the underwhelming score is a pale shadow of MM Keeravani’s contribution to the original. With all the technological advancements the animation industry has witnessed in recent years, it’s unpardonable that the makers thought they could get away with such mediocrity. (now please, don’t blame the budget)

Would we’ve watched it differently minus the Baahubali baggage? Probably. Does it still justify the sub-par efforts (given that Rajamouli was involved with its creation too)? Not quite.


Highlights?

Okayish plot

Stays true to the traits of the pivotal characters in the Baahubali universe

Drawbacks?

Substandard execution

Injustice to brand Baahubali in terms of the scale and the efforts

Absence of any visual artistry/technical finesse


Did I Enjoy It?
No

Will You Recommend It?
No

Baahubali: Crown of Blood Review by M9