Popular Kannada actor Yash is eagerly looking forward to the release of KGF (Kolar Gold Fields), which will hit the screens in five languages on December 21. Tipped to be the next big crossover film a la the Baahubali franchise, Yash feels the film has the potential to go places, thanks to its universal story and will help Kannada cinema break new grounds in terms of content and presentation.
In this exclusive chat with TNM, Yash opens up on the reason behind commissioning the idea of releasing KGF in other languages, investing two years on the project and why he has no intention of becoming a pan-India star through the project.
Yash admits when they began work on the film, the plan was to release it in Kannada and add English subtitles for release outside Karnataka. The success of Baahubali gave them the confidence to pursue the idea of releasing the film in Tamil, Telugu, Hindi and Malayalam as well.
â€śEven though I was aware KGF had a very universal story, the idea to release it in other languages only came to us after seeing the success of Baahubali. Letâ€™s admit that Baahubali broke the barriers between industries and its success was unprecedented. When we decided to release it in other languages, we invested more money to make the film on a grand scale. But we also felt we had a story that will appeal to audiences across regions and going by the response weâ€™ve received for the trailer, weâ€™re confident that the film will work, irrespective of its language,â€ť Yash said, adding that KGF will truly deliver first-of-its-kind cinematic experience.
â€śWe are not releasing the film in other languages just to make more money. As an actor, I want my films to cater to more audiences and language is no longer a barrier. Today, we sit at home and watch shows in other languages on streaming platforms. I see cinema as a medium that unifies audiences from different walks of life and when they all come under one roof to watch, there canâ€™t be a better sight to enjoy.â€ť
KGF marks Yashâ€™s debut in four languages and he finds it very exciting. He says the opportunity to start all over again in a new industry is refreshing. â€śAfter having worked in an industry for so long and earned so much of love from audiences, it feels really nice to start all over again in a new language. Itâ€™s the best thing to happen for any actor because it stops you from taking things for granted and falling into a safe zone. It feels like Iâ€™ve hit the refresh button and everything is starting from scratch. Over the last month, Iâ€™ve been travelling across the country and talking to different people about my film and the experience has been so enriching,â€ť he said.
Yash also clarifies that he doesnâ€™t see KGF as a pedestal to become a pan-India star. â€śWhen I convinced my director and producers to release the film in other languages, the intention was not to become a pan-India star. I want my film to be watched by as many people as possible and Iâ€™m greedy that way. Iâ€™m a debutant in other industries and people will judge me based on my film. It wouldnâ€™t matter to them that Iâ€™m a big star in Kannada.â€ť
KGF has been directed by Prashanth Neel, who has only one film to his credit so far. Asked what convinced him that Prashanth could pull off a project of this scale, Yash says: â€śIt really doesnâ€™t matter to me what a director has done in the past. If Iâ€™m convinced with his vision and clarity on the current project, then I donâ€™t have any problem working with anyone. Post KGF, Prashanth will be a talent to watch out for in the country.â€ť
On December 21, KGF will release amid tough competition with over half a dozen major releases across industries. In Hindi, it will release alongside Shah Rukh Khanâ€™s Zero. In Tamil, it has to slug it out with Dhanushâ€™s Maari 2, Aishwarya Rajesh's Kanaa, Jayam Raviâ€™s Adangamaru and Vijay Sethupathiâ€™s Seethakathi. Antariksham and Padi Padi Leche Manasu are the two Telugu releases of next week, while Malayalam has several Christmas releases. Yash isnâ€™t bothered about the competition though.
â€śThere are a few dates in a year where there'll be lot of competition, and what I've realised is even if you release on a day when there's no competition and your film is not good, it won't run. However, if the content is good and you are competing with a few films, your film will still sustain because itâ€™s the content that really matters at the end of the day. Our presenters in other languages have seen the film and theyâ€™ve really liked it. We are confident that the competition won't affect us. In fact, I want all the films that release on that day to do well because itâ€™s good for the respective industries.â€ť