KGF CHAPTER 1: golden opportunity ceased

Director-Writer Prashanth Neel undertakes a mammoth task for Kannada Cinema to present a rousing as well as riveting cinematic experience. Prashanth’s execution in terms of stylish presentation works on the brighter side, and perfectly caters “mass elements”. KGF’s biggest accomplishment is the on-screen translation of the grand vision – supported by impressive visuals and slow-burning intensity. In a year, where Vetrimaaran’s gangster drama Vada Chennai dominated the arena of storytelling, KGF lacks the integrity of the former and leans on Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) as a source of inspiration.

KGF chronicles around a lone gangster Rocky (Yash), who is stamped as the biggest criminal of India – his rise and discovery of Kolar Gold Fields under rival feuds. A tried-and-tested gangster drama is upheld by its distinctive raw tone which travels through Bangalore, Bombay and Kolar minefields. First half takes much time for a warm up, with numerous characters and subplots – at a certain point, it became the chaotic chamber of confusion. The brisk pacing doesn’t comprehend the plot, but given its conventional rise of a character – it’s easy to understand. The second half comes with better offering, it soaks into the dusty Kolar minefields – the messiah element is notched up by cohesive writing and surreal direction. KGF had the potentiality to deliver a rousing cinematic piece but ends as succumbing to toxic masculinity – a pulsating star vehicle. By the end of KGF, the grand vision seems to have flattered Prashanth Neel whose overwrought screenplay is overindulged in style over substance.

Cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda captures the edgy and moody feel through black and brown colour scheme. It’s a visual treat which surreally complements the raw treatment – it adds to finesse setting up a benchmark in Kannada Cinema. But, KGF is taken down by its incoherent and tacky editing by Srikanth Gowda; over the period of time, I’m hopeful KGF’s editing becomes a lesson at film school. Shots are unnecessarily cut within milliseconds, it doesn’t add anything but loss in fluidity and intensity. There’s no breathing space for the scenes and hence, it makes a dissolution of the flaws. Ravi Basrur’s score pats the protagonist with an epic theme and rustic Production Design adds immaculate value in transposition. I’ve a limited understanding of Kannada Cinema, and clearly KGF is a tenfold of technical achievement.

Yash delivers an energetic performance, but the character doesn’t rise above substantial writing; Prashanth Neel limitedly explores the character dynamics. KGF lacks soul sans strong female characters which might affect its pan India reach, since it doesn’t elevate the cinematic as well as emotional impact like Baahubali (2015). As Rocky finds gold, it ceases a golden opportunity amidst style over substance – but, appreciate the impressive presentation by Prashanth Neel.


Language: Kannada (Dubbed: Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam)
Release: 21 December, 2018
Rating: 2.5/5


Copyright ©2018 Ninad Kulkarni. This article may not be reproduced in its entirety without permission. A link to this URL, instead, would be appreciated.

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