The Real Reason behind Baahubali’s Success

Many of us enjoyed the film Baahubali. We think that the reason for its extraordinary success is mainly the great visuals and graphics in the film. While it is true that the film is the greatest visual spectacle ever made in India, that is not the sole reason for its success. There are many films with great visuals that fail to perform well. 
Poster of the second film

The main reason is that in this film not only is there a hero and a villain but it is also shown why the hero is good and why the villain is bad. The hero tries to do what he has been taught is good for society, also called “Dharma” in India. The villain on the other hand pretends to follow the rules but in-fact is ready to go to any length for his own interests. He breaks all the rules, even going as far trying to commit matricide and infanticide. He bends the rules negating their spirit when he gets his own brother killed. 

The hero puts his own interests behind that of the law and the social good. He follows the Dharma in letter and spirit. This is why the hero is admired by the people and the villain is not. This is also why the audience gets so invested in the hero’s success which the audience feels as their success over evil. We want him to win not just because he is the hero. 

It is not that because he is the hero what he does is right. It is because he does what is right he is the hero. 

Common theme in Indian epics
Vanaras building the bridge across the sea

This is in-fact a major theme in all the Indian epics and puranas. The Ramayana and Mahabharata have antagonists that are as human as the heroes. The difference that the heroes are abiding by dharma and fighting for it and that the villain follows no dharma and is willing to sacrifice anything for their own personal interests is clearly developed. 

We do not find such a distinction between why the hero is good and why the villain is bad in other epics and myths. Take Hercules for example. Hercules is a hero because he does heroic deeds – deeds of great strength and capacity. But nowhere is there emphasis on the morality of his deeds, he does not fight against immoral beings or persons. In the Trojan War we have humans on both sides thus no heroes or villains. No side is fighting for Dharma. Each is fighting for their own interest. Even in the recent stories like Lord of the Rings, the villains are basically demons. Of course they kill and plunder. Never is it shown why the heroes are good, what moral principles and social rules are they fighting to uphold? 

This message is very important in our times when there are no more goblins or demons. There are no “others” like the Nazis who can be claimed to be pure evil. The whole world claims to follow the same principles of human rights and law. Every person says that they are working for the social good, particularly in politics. But we still see a lot of suffering and pain. 

This is because just like in the story some people are willing to put their own interests before the law and the rules. They violate and bend the rules or even change them for their own interest harming others and society. 

This is the aspect we need to work on in this day and MOSDEM is trying to explore the solutions to this problem along with like-minded people.


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