K.G.F: Chapter 2 Kannada Movie
In its scale and world-building, K.G.F: Chapter 2 from Prashanth Neel reminds you of George Miller's Mad Max: Fury Road. Like the Hollywood movie, enjoying this bilingual film requires suspension of disbelief.
For the uninitiated, K.G.F 1 is a story about how a little boy from the streets of Mumbai conquers the gold-mining empire in Karnataka's Kolar district. It is a rags-to-riches story but also a fantastical tale. Now, here is a spoiler alert. At the end of K.G.F: Chapter 1, Rocky (Yash) takes control of the mining empire after killing his foe. As this is the sequel, you should watch the first part to understand it.
One of the best bits of the first film is the scene where a character describes Yash's Rocky as a monster. A gangster comes with a gang, but Rocky is alone and does monstrous things. It is only in the second part of K.G.F do the makers even explore the negative shade of the character more deeply. Rocky is neither a hero nor a villain. He is more of an antihero, if you will. You can even place him in a Shakespearean drama and get away with it. I mean the shade and the character arc are so good here, for a masala movie.
K.G.F 2 has the spirit and essence of the first part in the way it places Yash in outrageous circumstances. There is often little to connect one scene to the next as the film has a loose, operatic structure. But 16-year-old Ujwal Kulkarni edits the film in a way that allows us to follow the story and the characters the whole way through. The best example of the quality of Kulkarni's editing is at the end as he intercuts between the past and the present.
K.G.F 2 is a better film than the first part in terms of writing, acting, world-building and storytelling. I liked the structure, clap-worthy dialogues and Yash's performance from the first film. But it also gets a tad uneventful as the focus shifts from Mumbai and Bangalore to the gold mine. Now, I am glad that I saw the first film as the sequel is a near-masterpiece.
I talked about the level of world-building earlier in the review. The level of visual detailing for the location at the heart of this film, is a lot more immersive here. Therefore, the action in K.G.F 2 is more enjoyable. The introduction scene for Sanjay Dutt's villain character is just epic, to say the least. The man comes out of a ring of fire on a bridge that ignites.
The actors meet the physicality and the charisma that are essential for a film like this. Yash is a charismatic star, but he blends his boyish charm with enough wit and dramatic heft. He is likable but not too likeable that it makes his character look one-dimensional or just another mass hero. He acts in a way that he understands the arc of his character, which is a rare trait for a star.
Sanjay Dutt is also in fine form here as a Viking-inspired character. To borrow from one of the film's best lines, powerful villains come from powerful actors. That said, I do not even know whether Dutt plays the villain here. If you look at it, Dutt's Adhira has the same ambition as Yash's Rocky. Only, Rocky treats his Narachi army with more dignity and respect. The other notable performance comes from Raveena Tandon, who plays the prime minister of India.
Technically, too, the film is a class apart. Ravi Basrur's background score, Shivakumar's art direction, and Anbariv's stunt work all help director Prashanth Neel with world-building. A scene where Yash's car comes through fire, works at a mythical level thanks to the technical department.
Now, K.G.F 2 is not without its flaws. After all, which movie is perfect? The romantic angle here is grossly underexplored. At the start of the film, Rocky invites Srinidhi Shetty's Reena to his empire and tells her that he wants her for entertainment. Later, she holds him in an embrace, but we do not understand what their relationship is like. I wish the makers paid more attention-to-detail to the relationship between these two characters. But that is only a slight reservation for a film that works at multiple levels while raising the stakes for the franchise. Stay around for the post credit scene.