Why Rana Daggubati's Bhallala Deva is the real but misunderstood hero of Baahubali

If you have seen Baahubali: The Beginning, helmed by SS Rajamouli, chances are you might have hated Bhallala Deva played by Rana Daggubati

With Baahubali: The Beginning, SS Rajamouli brought to celluloid a phenomenon that left a deep impression on everyone’s mind. Down South, Rajamouli is a much-celebrated director, owing to a string of hit movies. With Baahubali, in which he has weaved a story whose intricacies left us bewildered, he has become a national sensation. The movies of Baahubali’s universe, are essentially the story of the battle between cousins Baahubali and Bhallala Deva.

As it happens in all stories told to us since time immemorial, in Baahubali too, one of the cousins became the hero and other the villain. So when Baahubali, played by Prabhas, was praised for his valour, strength and his love for his subjects in the kingdom of Mahishmati; Bhallala Deva, essayed by Rana Daggubati, perhaps got a raw deal.

How shrewd Bhallala Deva was as a ruler is captured in one of the early scenes depicting the life of Mahishmati, the prosperous town, in which people were forced to work in the scorching sun to erect the statue of the King. Right from that moment, Bhallala Deva was immediately loathed by viewers and no one wished to have such a ruler. What added to his rejections is how he treated Rani Devasena after the killing of Baahubali — tying her to shackles and stripping her of all the princely pleasures.

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A still from Baahubali (Courtesy: YouTube/Baahubali Movie)

A still from Baahubali (Courtesy: Indian Express)

Bhallala Deva is definitely not a ruler anyone would want, a man no woman would wish marrying and a father no child would like. But, atrocities aside, Bhallala Deva was human too!

Baahubali: The Beginning showed the childhood of this hated King and how he always wished to sit on the throne. He was given the same upbringing by Queen Shivagami but Bhallala Deva’s nature was a far cry from cousin Amrendra Baahubali’s noble behaviours. Bhallala Deva’s jealousy towards his cousin was portrayed in a bad light. What we forget is jealousy is as a much human as is love. In fact, human beings are more prone to feeling jealous than feeling unconditional love for a fellow being.

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As the son of the King of Mahishmati, yearning for the throne was the most basic ambition that Bhallala Deva grew up with. During the war with one of the invaders of Mahishmati, Bhallala Deva’s show of strength was in no way less than the loved prince Baahubali. His scheming to defeat the enemy displayed that Mahishmati’s well-being was all Bhallala Deva cared about.

While we tend to term anger, jealousy, and yearning as negative emotions, they are after all as human as love, sacrifice, and care. On one hand, where Baahubali showed what we refer to as sane emotions, Bhallala Deva made us aware of the other side. And it would be unfair to think that the only side of Baahubali was right.

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With Baahubali: The Conclusion releasing in a few days, maybe we would refrain from painting a devilish picture of Bhallala Deva. The King of Mahishmati was, after all, human and being one is not the worst thing in the world. We hope, the director gives some redeeming qualities to the much misunderstood Bhallala Deva.

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