KGF: Chapter 2

I couldn’t quite buy into the hype of the very badly edited first instalment, and it was also hard to tell if people were backing it seriously or ironically. The over-the-top nature and corniness of it all was jarring to buy into at the get-go. But there indeed were elements that made me want to watch this second chapter. Ravi Basrur’s rousing score, and Bhuwan Gowda’s relentlessly heroic framing was very much appealing, and I’d even say fresh – for marrying masala with an overcast mood. Prashant Neel’s aesthetic involves grotesque inter-cutting, heavy chanting, and most importantly, sincere anger. Anger that warrants multiple shots of his hero’s sharpening eyebrows and raging fists. With Ugramm and KGF: Chapter 1, he managed to sell this emotion with conviction, which seems to be the hook that has spoken to a majority. I believe I’m well adjusted to his voice, having caught up with his first two films. Now, going into Chapter 2…

Firstly, I’m grateful for the makers doing away with the jarring editing, while also retaining the style of intercutting between past-present-future all at once. The viewing experience is much more refined this time around, rightfully so, because much of it intends to be an experience you’d take home. An experience that’s an amped up version of the previous film, in all aspects. You’ll be watching the bigger budget being justified in imaginative ways for three straight hours.

The setpieces haven’t been upgraded in visual scale alone, but on emotional ideas too. Watch how the first film is recapped in the Toofan song – kids in Narachi physically stage Rocky’s escapades in their own capacity, an extension of their drawings in the first. There’s a stirring stretch involving Kalashnikov guns that uses wordplay and violent excess in equal measure. The film packs in more of such original action setpieces that are underlined, as expected, with grandiose dialogues of buildup – even for its villains. These exaggerated lines add genuine weight to the proceedings without getting tiring, and it’s worthy to mention that the film is also self-aware about this behaviour. Dialogues from the previous chapter are also echoed beautifully through events in here. “If a thousand people gain courage because you are standing in front of them…” finds a strong relevance in Rocky’s first moment of weakness. His fall is impactful because it immediately denotes the fall of the thousands.

This entertaining focus on Rocky, ends up being responsible for negligence of other interesting characters. Prakash Raj’s inclusion does away with the unpredictability of Anant Nag’s narration, but even his character is hinted to have had a complicated relationship with his father, a detail that isn’t explored beyond its mention. Inayat Khaleel gets a good introduction but is nipped in the bud. Sanjay Dutt’s Adheera looks as menacing as one can get, but the character doesn’t have as much inherent magnetism compared to the hype around him. Raveena Tandon’s Ramika Sen is formidable, but I wish we could have gotten a story for her, beyond the personality. The dynamic between Rocky and Reena swings between borderline-Stockholm syndrome, shrew-taming and objectification. It’s hard to root for anything that’s happening in this track because neither of their motives to want each other are believable. It would be a wiser call to not write an emotion that isn’t in your zone than writing something this messy.

The duo that the film gets very well is the mother and son. It’s an age-old emotion known very well to Indian cinema, but Prashant Neel aims to elevate it to never-imagined proportions, to the point where even a lullaby becomes a massy elevation song. Her endearingly irrational pursuit of wanting only the ultimate in life for her son, becomes a metaphorical cornerstone for the director’s vision that keeps growing in magnitude until the very end of the film. Tuning into this sort of synergy between the creator and his work makes for an engaging watch.

A potential for a Chapter 3 has been setup, and this time I’ll looking forward to it for emotional reasons on top of the aesthetics. In my eyes, the makers have thus pulled off the reaping in a better manner than how they did all the sowing in the previous film.


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