"KGF: Chapter 1", a Kannada movie dubbed in Tamil has made quite some noise thanks to some timely promotions, posters and visuals that sent some buzz. Those were enough reasons for a movie buff to catch a glimpse of what is really in store.
The movie is a period fiction that is set against the backdrop of Kolar Gold Fields (KGF), which director Prashanth Neel has portrayed as an "Eldorado" or the city of gold. Naturally, greed and rivalry ensue among different groups. Also, the hero with shades of grey (or rather the villain), Rocky (Yash), whose quest for power and glory takes the side that offers him what he wants and pursues to take control of KGF from the wicked hands.
The narration is from the perspective of a writer, portrayed by the seasoned Anant Nag. There are way too many layers and the narrative attempts to go forward and backwards without any particular reason. Maybe it would be revealed in the upcoming part or is it a mechanism employed by the director to prepare the audiences for the second part - I am not sure.
Also, the characters, mostly the evil and greedy ones are aplenty. Even our lead man (Yash) is portrayed as one. Not one action scene goes by without bloodshed, and our leading man's limbs are always covered with other's blood. His portrayal as the powerful single-man army and the frequent build-up and slow-mo scenes get stale after a point.
As with all the dubbed movies, most of the evil characters get the trademark voice that is bass heavy or high pitched (a la' Kota Srinivasa Rao). Also, the lines were shared between movies that released on the same day (Maari-2 had the same 'bad' and 'dad' line). The leading lady, Srinidhi Shetty as the spoilt brat reminded me of the typical 80's heroine who starts off with a tiff and end up falling head-over-heels for the hero. She did precisely that but ended up pretty naive, thanks to a hallowed character sketch.
The bad guys had their face covered with a beard or long hair. Though it helped to create the ethos, it was hard to keep track of who is who and what's their agenda. Technicalities were superior, especially the cinematography, art and colouring were of international standard. The production value of the movie has been raised above and beyond the bar with brilliant sound design and background score. However, the item numbers in the middle hampered the pace.
Yash's performance wasn't something noteworthy, but his personality and build did the talking most of the time. Archana Jois as Yash's mother had a role that appeared now and then, but looked meatier than the leading lady's role. She had terrific eyes and sharp features that conveyed the substance in her character. Also, the pain and her frustrations were paraded into the dialogues succinctly. I wouldn't say the same for the lines mouthed by other characters.
The movie attempts to narrate a period action saga with brilliant mise en scene in a suave and stylish way with Yash sporting a rugged makeover. It achieves the style and suave portions but falls well short of substance as the screenplay and dialogues (at least in Tamil) have taken a back seat, making it a tad too tedious to sit through.
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