Indian cinema turned 105 years old on April 21. All these years, from being a sati-savitri to mardaani, the role of women has evolved continuously. We had and have actresses who breathed life into their onscreen characters and made the audiences believe in them. This has given confidence to many writers to experiment more with characters. Some of the notable actresses who have often overshadowed their male counterparts with their performances are Nutan, Jaya Bachchan, Smita Patil, Shabana Azmi, Hema Malini, Rekha, Sridevi, Madhuri Dixit, Tabu, Kajol, Rani Mukherjee, Priyanka Chopra and Vidya Balan.
With the release of India’s biggest motion picture, Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, we take a look at the four prominent women characters of S. S. Rajamouli's magnum opus. Seldom do we see powerful onscreen women characters like Sivagami, Devasena, Avanthika and Sanga. These are not the normal roles that we often witness but the ones which will remembered for long for their defining characteristics.
Sivagami (Ramya Krishnan)
Sivagami is the first woman who appears in Baahubali: The Beginning. In the opening sequence, she is seen saving the baby Mahendra Baahubali from a bunch of soldiers. And as the story unfolds we see that she is an unbiased mother who treats her own son Bhallala Deva and Amarendra Baahubali, the son of the late king of Mahishmathi equally. She is an outstanding stateswoman who took care of Mahishmati until the next king was chosen.
From Rani Lakshmibai to Indira Gandhi, the character reminds us of some of the best stateswomen this country has seen. How important Sivagami is in the world of Baahubali is evident by the fact that the first book in the novel trilogy is titled ‘The Rise of Sivagami’ and focuses on her growth as a stateswoman.
Devasena (Anushka Shetty)
The character of Devasena was not much explored in Baahubali: The Beginning as compared to Baahubali 2: The Conclusion. Then again, such a character is a rarity in Indian cinema and is arguably one of the best seen. In the first part we see her held captive in Mahishmati by Bhallala Deva for twenty five years. There’s a scene in which Katappa asks her why she is collecting straws and throwing it in the pit. To that, she replies that she is preparing the pyre for Bhallala Deva. This shows her thirst for revenge. And in the sequel, she is seen as a warrior full of grit and fervor.
The character of Avanthika showed contrasting layers of a woman’s nature. Here, we are not being offending but just trying to highlight the character traits of Avanthika. On one hand, she is a part of guerrilla warfare group whose only objective is to rescue Devasena. She is a brave warrior and so focussed that the leader of the group assigns her to save Devasena. On the other hand, the moment she meets Shivudu who tries to woo her, she changes herself drastically. She tries to explore her feminine side. And as the story unfolds, she seems a tad confused who is not able to decide what her prime objective is.
The character of Sanga, though with less screen time compared to the rest manages to impress. She is a tribal queen who adopts Shivudu and upbrings him as her own child. Even Sanga is authoritative and has an upper hand over her tribesmen than her husband who is the tribal king. This is evident as all the commands are given by her. For instance, the scene in which she orders her tribesmen to lock the passage near the waterfalls so there’s no route through which anyone could come searching for Shivudu.
Comment and let us know which is your favorite character in the Baahubali franchise. And if you haven’t watched Baahubali 2: The Conclusion, then book your tickets here and enjoy India’s biggest motion picture at a theatre near you.