SS Rajamouli’s Baahubali might have done a lot of things to Indian cinema, but the most important of them all would be how it has motivated people across the nation to bank on big projects with confidence. One such film to hit the marquee is Prashanth Neel’s KGF (Kolar Gold Fields), which has been projected as Kannada cinema’s biggest film yet. But can it be compared to Baahubali beyond this point, and the answer would be no after some thought.
When films are being put on a pan-Indian scale, it is important that the content is unanimously approachable by all sections and variants of the audiences, more than the visual splendour or the cast that they bring. However, KGF has more action than drama, mainly concentrating on the image of the hero Yash, his power in beating people up and the ultimate display as a larger-than-life figure. Though it follows an interesting narrative style of having a writer being interviewed by a hotshot journalist, the film never pays full heed to its root which is the storyline.
Yash plays Rocky, a gangster who grows up in the streets of Mumbai after his birth at the lowlands of the KGF circle. As destiny would have it, the man finds his way back into the same area, to battle it out with the baddies who have been torturing people for the last few years. While one would love to delve deeper into the life of the younger Rocky and the way in which his childhood shaped up, the film gives us only a tease and then shifts to provide 2-3 action sequences before he actually enters the titular region. The film picks up better than the first half in the second, with some amount of the elevation scenes actually working out, leading to a well-planned and well-shot climax sequence at a pooja.
The casting mostly comprises of Kannada actors and would be an alienated watch for anybody who catches the dubbed versions. Yash, who is an expressive actor otherwise, only carries a handful of face shots throughout the film here, though some may excuse it for his character sketch. Srinidhi Shetty is underused, with hope left for the upcoming sequel to have more weight for her role which could be explored further in the right ways.
Two of the film’s pillars are definitely the cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda who seems to be a maverick in his slow-motion shots, and the music composer Ravi Basrur who plucks in the right themes to help the action sequences score higher. Editor Srikanth however, could have done a much better job. The clumsy editing style of the film makes it tough to follow at many instances, especially when the dialogues and the lead narrative overlap each other.
KGF could have been an engaging fare if the writing had the same amount of flair that the visuals bring. Right now, it just stands as an average product with good intent. Fingers crossed, as we hope for better things to come in the sequel.