Prashanth Neel on KGF Chapter 2: All our eggs are in this basket
...says director Prashanth Neel as he talks to us about the pan Indian reach of KGF Chapter 1 and what to expect from the sequel
KGF Chapter 1 turned a year old on December 21. The mass entertainer, starring Yash and directed by Prashanth Neel, was made in Kannada and released in several languages across India, and went on to set many records. December 21 also marked the sixth anniversary of the film's production house, Hombale Films, headed by Vijay Kiragandur, and the makers unveiled the first look from KGF Chapter 2 on that day.
Director Prashanth Neel credits KGF Chapter 1's success to both Yash and Vijay Kiragandur for trusting him with such a project for over three years. "While the producer gave me the money and space for creating such a grand film, Yash gave me his time. Both of them believed in me and in the project. I was lesser known and had relatively less riding on its success than Yash and Vijay. So it was a huge relief and great joy to see KGF Chapter 1 do well. I can't quite put into words how thrilling it was."
In this interview with Cinema Express, the director tells us what gave the film a pan Indian reach, whether he is under pressure to match the scale of the first film with Chapter 2 and more.
'The whole idea of pan Indian cinema has always existed, we have just put a tag to it'
KGF Chapter 1 was the first Kannada film that experimented with a simultaneous pan India release. Prashanth feels every filmmaker wants to make a film that everybody will watch. "However, we don't usually have the kind of budget needed to make something that will appeal across the board. In fact, when we started making KGF, our emphasis was on making a quality movie for the Kannada audience. Having said that, as we were making it, we realised we had a story that would appeal to everyone and a budget to achieve this too. So we consciously gave the film a pan India look."
The director adds, "Today, irrespective of which language a movie is released in, if it is a good film, it spreads across the globe. The whole idea of pan Indian cinema has always existed, we have just put a tag on it now." According to Prashanth, pan-Indian cinema does not refer to the aesthetic of the movie alone. "Nor is it about bringing in well-known faces, putting in a lot of money, and making it on a very big scale. Pan Indian cinema is all about connecting to the audience across the country on an emotional level movie. Everything else is just embellishment. Whether it is through the trailers or the full film, all that is needed is to connect with the audience," he says.
'All our eggs are in the second basket, namely KGF Chapter 2'
With KGF Chapter 1 still being talked about, has this brought in any kind of pressure on Prashanth Neel, who is currently shooting for KGF Chapter 2? Pat comes the reply, "No. We chose to make Chapter 1 a visual treat and saved most of the content for Chapter 2, so we are confident of the sequel. All our eggs are in the second basket, namely KGF Chapter 2. It was a risk to split the film this way, but it paid off. Secondly, as mentioned before, our initial intention was to only reach the Kananda audience. All of a sudden it became a pan India film, and a successful one at that, so we've already achieved more than we hoped for."
Kannada technicians in demand after KGF
Post the release of KGF, there has been a lot of attention on the lead artistes, Yash and Srinidhi Shetty, and equally in demand are the technicians who worked on the film. Director Prashanth Neel has been approached by various producers across south India and Bollywood. This has been the case with cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda, music director Ravi Basrur, and art director Shivakumar as well. About this, Prashanth says, "The technical brilliance received a lot of compliments. And this is because the character development and story were complemented by the camerawork and music. While the first credit should go to the actors who have done such a great job, it is but natural that if any movie does well, the technicians are also credited. Even today, we talk about Mungaru Male and the way the makers had shot that one scene at Jog falls. When a film becomes a hit, everyone gets their share of the attention." The director adds that this is not the first time that Kannada technicians are in demand outside Karnataka. "It has happened before. I was offered movies outside Karnataka after I made Uggram. So it is not something new. It's just that KGF has made a bigger noise."
'The first look of KGF Chapter 2 is a connecting point to KGF Chapter 1'
The first look poster of KGF Chapter 2 is, according to the director, only gives away a small detail from the film. "Through the first look, we have put out a little portion of what the sequel is about. This is not the entire story. The first look of KGF Chapter 2 is a connecting point to KGF Chapter 1," he says.