KGF: Chapter 2
Director: Prashanth Neel
With: Yash, Raveena Tandon, Prakash Rai, Sanjay Dutt
‘KGF: Chapter 2’ is a tale of history. Once it completes its theatrical run, the two-part franchise is sure to go down in Kannada film history.
It’s been over three years since Rocky’s gripping underdog story ended on a cliffhanger. Minutes before the title card hits the screen, director Prashanth Neel prepares us for what to expect from the sequel to the blockbuster ‘KGF: Chapter 1’. In a jaw-dropping opening scene, he shows how his passion and grandeur of scale are still intact.
Rocky bhai, the dreaded gangster, has full control of KGF after his epic elimination of Garuda, son of Suryavardhan, the heir to the goldfields. But once you own one of the most valuable pieces of land, you’re sure to face the heat of those in power. Enter Adheera (Sanjay Dutt), Suryavardhan’s brother, and Ramika Sen (Raveena Tandon), India’s prime minister.
For the first 20 minutes, the film rolls along at an intense pace with many characters slowly finding their place in the plot. In the lead up to the interval, Neel creates a surprise none of us can predict. And then, ‘KGF: Chapter 2’ takes an almighty leap.
Neel’s bizarre ideas are ridiculously uncompromising. He has the confidence to translate his goofy and even over-the-top thoughts onto the screen in an enjoyable way. Two scenes that bring the roof down with this kind of approach are the one inside a police station and Rocky’s second big confrontation with Adheera. Giving company to Neel’s outrageous verve is Ravi Basrur’s score, which keeps our excitement blazing at the highest level. Cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda completes the technical department triumvirate with his jaw-dropping visuals.
A scathing criticism of “KGF: Chapter 1” was that it shamelessly celebrated machismo with little emphasis on conflict. However, this film is never a one-man show as it shows Rocky being constantly challenged by his rivals. He is also no longer invincible. His vulnerability makes him slightly emotional and even pushes him to think intelligently to defeat his powerful enemies.
Neel’s songwriting triumph is how completely accustomed we are to his fiery Rocky attitude. His character graphic gets interesting as Rocky gets greedy and selfish. Her relentless pursuit of making her mother’s wishes come true may throw us off balance, but it makes the character feel authentic. It does justice to the film’s idea of powerful people making places powerful.
Neel correctly connects the dots and also goes back in time to the right plot points. Prakash Rai smoothly slips into the role of Anant Nag as the narrator. The fact that his performance doesn’t seem bogged down by the weight of Anant Nag’s superb efforts shows what an imposing actor Rai is. Rocky’s return to Mumbai is a treat to watch and it shows Neel’s understanding of completing an epic story.
‘KGF: Chapter 2’ is also a film of excess which has now become a trademark of Neel. Either you find the film to be a hell of a spectacle, or you call some of the tropes drastic and old school. So there’s no end to the melodrama in the “mother feeling,” and the dialogues are still punchlines (most of them are whistle-worthy). The narration is overloaded, so the changes in the story sometimes seem shocking. Neel’s handling of a love story needs major improvements. Although Srinidhi Shetty as Yash’s lover has more to do than the first part, their relationship lacks emotional depth.
The action sequences, with the “in and out” editing pattern, are choreographed with great effort. The best of the lot is the final showdown between Adheera and Rocky, who come off as two dueling monsters.
Sanjay Dutt’s Viking-inspired Adheera looks spooky and gets a terrific intro scene. His hulking personality is tailor-made for the menacing nature of the character, though the dialogue feels a bit underwhelming. Perhaps the actor’s portrayal in the Hindi version would be more compelling. Raveena Tandon is superb, trying out a woman in power with great confidence.
The strikingly handsome Yash takes its style quotient to another level. He’s leaner, meaner, and stronger (pun intended). His emotional performance, which is accompanied by a look of defeat on his face, reveals the performer in him.
Rocky set out to capture “Duniya” (the world and he is making the world his territory. Likewise, there are talks about the film’s possible record at the box office. The team of “KGF”, with a power of fire in the production and the narration, shows that the impossible is nothing Which means that there could even be a third part!