Bahubali Symbolism

Bahubali Symbolism


my personal opinion on the symbolism conveyed in the movie Bahubali-The Beginning. I have presented the most important ones only. The movie has a rich dharmic foundation & I am proud of it. I loved the way in which women were represented in the movie.

Devasena : She is the queen of the kingdom who is chained & lives within a cage. She has been living in this cage since past 25 yrs, located in the centre of the kingdom. She has been abused a lot, wears tattered clothes. Her skin has several unhealed wounds & blisters. Her hair is matted & untied. She appears weak , lifting her chained legs with much difficulty. Her face is wrinkled but her eyes are red , fiery red. When she speaks even the fierce warrior Kattappa starts shaking. Her body looks very weak but her soul is that of a ferocious lion, ready to tear the enemy to shreds.

She symbolizes BharataMata as she is constantly referred to as ‘amma’ (means mother). she is the spirit of India. Ever since the barbaric desert civilizations invaded India, she has been insulted & abused. All wealth looted after the king has been killed. Millions of Indians have died due to hunger, Millions massacred, yet she is alive. Bharata Mata survived. She is forced to live in a cage of mental colonization. Strong chains of slavery bind her. Her health has diminished & tattered clothes cover her. The people of Mahishmathi kingdom are afraid of the power structure that controls them & are thus helpless. Fiery red eyes signify that Bharata Mata is angry. She is waiting for her children to save her. (In the movie Devasena tells kattappa that she is waiting for her son to save her & burn Bhallaladeva to dust.) Bharata Mata wants her children to wake up & free her from this wretched life of slavery. Generally prisons are located away from the kingdom, but Surprisingly Devasena is caged in the middle of the kingdom & that too in the open.

This perfectly symbolizes that Mahishmathi’s people are witness to the humiliation of their queen & are still helpless.

Kattappa : There isn’t enough clarity on his character. So, will leave it for now.

Bijjaladeva ( ever since bijjaladeva was denied his right over the kingdom , he became bitter with hate . His deformed hand represents the negative side of his character, his biased thinking & preference towards his son bhalladeva. Represents the excessive love on one son only. He is seen drinking a glass full of alcohol , which diminishes his ability to differentiate right from wrong. )

Mountain : represents Kailasa. The biggest & mightiest mountain structure where God Shiva lives & also the river Ganges originates.

Waterfalls : locals living at the base of the waterFall term it as Ganga. River Ganges too originates from the mountain ranges of Everest.  The waterFall represents something more than just water. It represents ‘Shakti’ which is Extremely powerful and also the ever changing & formless nature of god Shiva. It is impossible for a normal human to climb/conquer it, only Shiva can. Shiva is thus that person or an equally powerful force which can overcome ‘shakti’ . Shivudu tries to climb but the water’s force pushes him back & he fails many times. From the day shivudu discovers the Manifested form of Shakti (imaginary avanthika), he climbs the mountain without much difficulty.  This act represents the concept of ‘Shiva-Shakti’ . Shivudu’s qualities include ‘Vision’, ‘Courage’, ‘skill’ & ‘intelligence’. Shivudu is persistent in his aim, he eventually climbs to the top & discovers his true identity/destiny. Surely, he finds Avanthika (shakti) in the woods. In the movie the Actress (Avantika) exclaims that only God Shiva is capable of climbing the waterfall , to which the hero replies that indeed he is Shiva himself.

There is second version where the water falls represent a force acting against the will of a person preventing him from discovering his true identity or preventing him from realizing his destiny. God poses a challenge to everyone . it is we who decide our destiny by our choices. After failing a few times had Shivudu decided not to climb the waterfall, he would never have reached his destiny. Relentless pursuit is the key to success.

Sivagami’s Hand with baby above turbulent river : The turbulent river here represents a violent Kali & she slowly becomes calm after seeing the baby (Shivudu) .

Barbarians : They are 1 lakh in number. All are painted oil-black. They live in an arid like area and their sustenance depends on attacking & looting from agriculture based wealthy Idol worshipping countries like Mahishmathi. Barbarians symbolize the Christian & islamic desert civilizations of the middle east & Europe. There are plenty of proofs all over ancient texts & history text books on desert civilizations being termed as Barbarians. They never followed any rules in war, looted gold from temples & raped women. contrast them with Rich Hindu kingdoms which had strict rules of war, fought in open grounds, never touched other kingdom’s women & children.

Bahubali’s inspirational speech : As the war scene nears its ending,  Mahishmathi’s soldiers drop weapons & flee towards their kingdom fearing death. Bahubali enters & gives an inspiring speech. He says “Will you leave your mother and run away if she is attacked ? ” Here again it reinforces the symbolisation that a soldiers(Indian’s) duty is to protect his motherland(Bharata Mata).

In this present day War of Civilizations ( Abrahamic vs Dharmic ),  Indians have to climb the mountain of knowledge (Kailasa) traveling against an opposing force of inertia & ignorance (symbolized by force of water, gravity) which prevents them from reaching the peak. Like Shivudu whose identity & destiny lie in the past, every Indian should try to learn from past & realize their true identity & destiny. Bharata Mata expects her sons to rise up & rescue her from slavery by breaking the colonial chains binding her. Beware, the barbarians will come again.

Indians need to make more such movies which rid them of their inferiority complex. Please watch the movie if you haven’t watched it. Thank you. 


5 thoughts on “Bahubali Symbolism

  1. Regarding Kattapa – notice that he is the head of the armory. Like our Indian Army, they have taken an oath to serve whoever is on the throne, even if they don’t feel happy about the style of governance. This is what Kattapa has done – he has taken a vow, like Bheeshma.


  2. Another thing with the Kattappa analogy – if he’s killed Bahubali, then is that a representation of India’s security forces having been used to suppress India’s nationalists on the orders of a Congress throne?

    Devasena is accused of ‘infidelity’ – so is that symbolic of ‘Mother India’ being unfaithful to Bhalla? Who is Bhalla then – does he represent the Indian Left / Congress?


  3. All said and done about Devsena, I think Shivgami Devi is the best character in the film. Portrayed as mentally strong and very impartial. As far as first film is concerned, she has a nearly flawless character (What sin she committed thats part of 2nd film).
    She played a major role in bringing up the two princes- esp Bahubali since he wasn’t her real son but she’s impartial and firm in decision-making.


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