The first instalment sets the tone by showcasing Rocky’s stellar rise to the top and KGF: 2 begins right where things were left off, albeit with the stakes having risen in the most unprecedented ways for Rocky.

Yash in KGF: Chapter 2
Flix Review Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 14:43
Worth a watch

Time and again, certain films come along that are beyond “critiquing” and instead remain in a realm of their own. These films, or call them instruments of their own fates, are often held accountable only for the grand entertainment they promise prior to their release, and when the promise is kept, they find themselves a sweet, undisturbed spot in cinematic legacy. And as south India continues to deliver on this promise with one blockbuster after another, KGF: Chapter 2 becomes the latest prominent entry to this vibrant list.

In KGF: 1, Yash’s Raja Krishnappa Bairya a.k.a. Rocky Bhai infiltrates the ghastly underworld of Narachi as a hired hand in an attempt to assassinate the kingpin Garuda. At the conclusion, Rocky manages to behead Garuda in one grand, cinematic swipe of his sword, and frees the thousands of miners and breathes joy into their lives. The first instalment sets the tone by showcasing Rocky’s stellar rise to the top and KGF: 2 begins right where things were left off, albeit with the stakes having risen in the most unprecedented ways for Rocky. While Adheera (Sanjay Dutt), Garuda’s uncle, lurks in the darkness waiting to be unleashed, Rocky’s fame and power attract attention from the highest political powers in the country.

Vijayendra Ingalgi (Prakash Raj), son of the former journalist and author of the infamous book El-Dorado, takes over as the narrator of KGF: 2 and soon sets the context. Rocky Bhai has conquered Narachi, much to the shock and dismay of Rajendra Desai, Andrews, and politician Gurupandian. Rocky has bigger, mightier plans in mind for the place (now rechristened KGF), and soon realises that he had been sitting on a gigantic treasure trove all along, one that’s much bigger than anyone knew. But, as he treads the thin line between ambition and greed, things intensify all around him so that he eventually reveals his true mettle.

Prashanth Neel, whose story unfurled in a slow-yet-intriguing manner in KGF: 1, makes no bones about his intent with the sequel and cranks up the energy right from the word go. However, despite his attempts to keep things running at the same pace, the plot runs out of enough material to make this as riveting and thrilling as the first instalment.

Much of KGF: 2 is a test of Rocky Bhai’s tenacity – both physical and emotional. As he expands the mining operations of KGF, he turns it into his hidden fortress and becomes a demigod in the eyes of the people, while Adheera’s menacing presence looms larger than ever. Neel’s story utilises all the many open ends of KGF: 1 to perfection and one gets to see many unfinished angles – of Inayat Khalil, Shetty, etc. – justified to great effect.

The filmmaker’s conviction shows through his characters, like Ramika Sen (Raveena Tandon), the newly elected prime minister of India, who becomes Rocky’s stiffest political and bureaucratic opponent. Raveena, who returns to Kannada cinema after almost two decades, packs a punch, delivering each line with gusto. She makes Ramika a memorable character in a world that sometimes seems rigged with excessive male bravado.

The film has a strong emotional core too and “mother sentiment” echoes throughout, along with evocative flashbacks to Rocky’s childhood. Veteran actor Easwari Rao joins the cast, adding more depth to the story. Rocky’s love life blossoms on the side, Reena Desai (Srinidhi Shetty) promising him a wholesome, happy familial life. It is perhaps this love track, which begins on a rather problematic note with respect to consent, that remains the most half-baked, and one sees the story ebb and flow as a result.

Sanjay Dutt is certainly a striking figure on the screen in his Vikings avatar and is his imposing best in the breath-taking action sequences. But his character arc is rendered monotonous after a point, offering little depth and perspective. Fans are treated not once but multiple times to the much-awaited face-off between Adheera and Rocky Bhai, and one tends to let go of all the other shortcomings in sheer wonder.

The main star of the film, however, is the exceptional synergy between Prashanth Neel and his team. The filmmaker’s vision is apparent in every frame and he doesn’t drop the ball on the intensity even for a microsecond. In what will soon become a historic actor-director collaboration, Yash rises to the occasion and casts a mesmeric spell on the audience with his swagger and charm. From charismatic action sequences to showing raw emotion, the actor looks tailor-made for the film’s larger-than-life milieu. Due credit must go to his stylist Saniya Sardhariya whose retro-themed costumes add a new dimension to the overall opulence. Ace art director Shiva Kumar’s set pieces take the film to a whole new level and aid immensely in bringing Prashanth Neel’s unique world to life. Bhuvan Gowda, the cinematographer, creates his own visual palette and doesn’t seem too bogged down by the period setting of the story – each frame, each swipe of the camera is beautiful and admirable.

And yet, the two most vital cogs of the wheel turn out to be editor Ujwal Kulkarni and music composer Ravi Basrur. Ujwal’s slick editing gives the film’s mayhem and bustle an original perspective and brings an almost Mad Max kind of energy. Ravi Basrur’s score ranges from Kannada folk to hard rock and western classical, and very rarely does one get to encounter a soundtrack that matches beat to beat with the rhythm of the screenplay.

For all the Rocking Star Yash fans across the world, KGF: 2 will be a rollicking ride that’s worth all the hype. Despite the few shortcomings, viewers are bound to recall the film forever for its outrageous imagination and incredible technical finesse.

Fans are advised to stay seated until the very end for a major surprise, concerning a potential sequel, that awaits them!

Disclaimer: This review was not paid for or commissioned by anyone associated with the film. Neither TNM nor any of its reviewers have any sort of business relationship with the film's producers or any other members of its cast and crew.

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