Kannada actor Yash is a happy man with his dream project, KGF: Chapter 1, finally hitting the screens this weekend. Directed by Prashanth Neel, the film is simultaneously releasing in multiple languages — Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Hindi. “Though it’s a Kannada film, we wanted our product to reach everyone. It is a universal subject and I trust the audience will treat KGF like their own language film,” Yash said.
What’s KGF: Chapter 1 all about? “Set against the milieu of the Kolar Gold Fields in Karnataka around the 70s and 80s, the film discusses human greed and gold. It also deals with the story of a gangster who becomes the leader for people in KGF.”
Yash believes the story of KGF: Chapter 1 is rich in content and had to be told to a wider section of the audience. “We have shot the film quite aesthetically on par with international standards. You don’t have to know the language to appreciate a film. That’s why we insist we have come up with a pan-Indian film. Unlike many Kannada films, this won’t be dialogue-driven,” he added.
Why is the film set in the late 70s? “Because of the Cold War between the US and the erstwhile USSR, the price of gold went up to the highest mark — a record that hasn’t been broken till date. So, 1978 seemed the perfect setting for us. Higher the price of gold, higher the greed of man.”
How does it feel to enter the Tamil film industry with a dubbed release? “A film is a film irrespective of how it is being released, and not every day a Kannada film releases in all languages. The audience appreciates good content and that was evident with the Baahubali franchise. One film of Rajamouli garu changed how people looked at Telugu films, and you can’t deny the fact. Initially, we thought of releasing our film with subtitles, but then Baahubali gave us the confidence and we ended up dubbing KGF: Chapter 1 into other languages. Thanks to him for letting us dream big,” Yash said.
How about a straight Tamil film? “I’d love to do one if I get the right script?”
The actor sincerely believes in hard work and the effort he puts in for every film. “I was a nobody in my state (Karnataka) when I ventured into films. But people liked my work and supported me. Now, I am a newcomer in Tamil. I hope the magic will happen again. For sure, as a team, we know we have done a film that we can be proud of. The film will be released in two parts because of its length. We had so many things to say.”
Yash takes us through the shooting of KGF: Chapter 1. “I would say there is not much exposure about the work we do in Kannada cinema, but we have world-class technicians. At the same time, our intention is not to compete with other industries. It is not about joining Rs 100 crore club, but the reach of a film. For instance, we shot a huge chunk of our film in Kolar, the biggest goldfield. There were around 800 junior artistes on the sets, and we couldn’t shoot for more than 10 days because they fell sick. There was so much dust and heat. We had to make sure everyone was hydrated. The process was, indeed, challenging. Besides, every shot of the film was captured by a shoulder-held camera, which is more than 40 kgs. Our cinematographer Bhuvan Gowda had to endure so much pain.”
Yash remembers the late Kannada star Ambareesh, who launched the original Kannada trailer of the film. “I grew up watching his films, and he was the biggest influence in my life. I can’t believe he is no more today. He was like a father figure and a man with a golden heart. When we approached him to launch the trailer of our film, he immediately accepted the invite. He believed that Kannada cinema had a lot of unrealised potential, and I think it is true. Regional cinema has its own distinct shades and layers which lend to it certain heterogeneity.”