With the sequel being released for this much-hyped movie, I saw K.G.F: Chapter 1 (2018) on Amazon Prime Video. The director Prashanth Neel deserves kudos for making a familiar story on this huge scale in terms of its visuals. Kannada actor Yash has done well and established his position among film stars recognized across India. The story fails to match the large canvas that was employed to narrate it, hence it gets a Raw rating.
A young boy Rocky sees his single mother die at a young age due to an illness she didn’t have money to get treated. This leaves a strong impression on Rocky to go after money by any means, obviously, he joins a criminal gang. He grows up in stature to be the hitman of choice in Mumbai and works for a leader who controls illegal gold imports in the port. Things lead him on a dangerous journey to the source of the gold, the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka, which is owned(!) by and managed by a ruthless leader and his killer son with thousands of slaves. Did Rocky survive the killing fields or get killed, is the story?
The condition of the slaves, though highly fictional, does kindle our emotions and the director has succeeded in those sequences. I wish he was able to maintain that momentum in the other parts of the screenplay. There is no palpable romance between Rocky and his lover Reena Desai (played by Srinidhi Shetty). The film takes many unnecessary detours – I fail to see the need for a long preamble in Bombay and also in Bangalore.
I understand we should never look for any logic in these high adrenalin, action films. But still, KGF threw up a lot of questions in my mind that made it difficult for me to immerse myself fully – like why there are countless number of gang leaders in the supply chain of this illegal trade?, Are the mines Open-pit or shaft-mining, both are shown in the film?, Why do the bad guys, in the 1950s use slave labour when employees would’ve been available at a comparable overall cost and easier to manage? and so on.
KGF is a marketing marvel that has propelled South Indian cinema to new commercial heights, but you won’t find storytelling excellence here.