The makers of the superhit Kannada franchise KGF will announce the release date of its highly-anticipated sequel today. Starring Sandalwood superstar Yash, KGF Chapter 1 introduced the story of larger-than life gangster, Raja Krishnappa Bairya, AKA Rocky, who builds an empire for himself through the big bad world of crime. In KGF Chapter 2 we will see Rocky go up against bigger and more dangerous challenges.
Earlier this month, director Prashanth Neel dropped the teaser of the sequel, which quickly went viral, amassing more than 100 million views on YouTube. The makers have since then dropped glimpses of the project, including the first look at Yash, Sanjay Dutt and Raveena Tandon's character.
The popularity of KGF Chapter 2 comes as no surprise to Indian cinephiles. The first film in the franchise became the first-ever Kannada film to cross the 100-crore mark at the box office and was the second film in South India to do so, after the blockbuster Baahubali. Globally it crossed the 200-crore mark, startling everyone when it beat Anand L Rai's Zero starring Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharma and Katrina Kaif at the box office.
While KGF's achievements in itself are commendable, the franchise often finds itself being compared to the Baahubali films. In 2015, SS Rajamouli released Baahubali: The Beginning, which quickly became one of the highest grossing Indian films, surpassing many Bollywood biggies on the way. The 2017 sequel, Baahubali: The Conclusion, broke the first film's records and exceeded expectations, becoming the second highest grosser in India. The Baahubali films did much more than earn well-deserved profits and accolades, it also launched its actors to national and arguably global fan-fare.
That is the primary reason why KGF and Baahubali films are pitted against each other. KGF Chapter 1 has launched a comparatively lesser-known Yash to nation-wide fame. Prior to the release of Baahubali and KGF, the south stars with a pan-India appeal came mostly from the Tamil film industry and included actors like Rajnikanth, Kamal Haasan, Ajith Kumar, and Vijay, among others. It is not to say that the Telugu and Kannada film industries were not popular before, as actors like Chiranjeevi, Mahesh Babu, Allu Arjun, Nagarjuna Akkineni, Ram Charan, Jr. NTR, and Kiccha Sudeep are examples of the fact. However, both Prabhas and Yash owe their superstardom to the box-office success of these films.
This brings us to our second argument, another reason why Baahubali and KGF are judged on the same parameter is because they raised the bar for South cinema in terms of production quality. The Baahubali films are known for their stunning visuals along with an immersive storyline. After the first film was released, the most quoted phrase in India was "Kattapa ne Baahubali ko kyu maara? (Why did Kattapa kill Baahubali?)". KGF aimed for the same level of cinematic experience and deserved the success it got.
Also, they gained a point for piquant storytelling. Both the franchises benefit from the complex sub-themes. These include love, loss, trauma, power and betrayal. Neither Baahubali nor KGF is one-toned or linear, which is why the people are invested in the films so much.
Apart from this, the two franchises bank on tried-and-tested masala-entertainer tropes. Action amuses the viewers and both Rajamouli and Neel have used it in their favour. Shouldered by the leading men, their characters fit the age-old notions of masculinity. These characters can take on 100 men single-handedly without having a significant scratch. The action-sequences are so well-choreographed that the audience willingly suspend their disbelief.
With the sequel of KGF lined up, the makers of the Yash-starrer have promised to exceed audience expectations. The fact that Sanjay Dutt once compared his role as the villain Adheera to Marvel Cinematic Universe's super-villain Thanos, only goes on to give a peek into the scale of the sequel.
It is predicted that KGF Chapter 2, despite being released amid a global pandemic, might break the records of the first film. Who knows, it might even surpass the Baahubali films.