KGF: The ‘Golden’ Big Budget of KannadaKGF: The ‘Golden’ Big Budget of Kannada


BANGALORE: Baahubali, the upcoming 2.0 and the most expensive Radamoozham- The entire South India is beaming with big budget films. The release of KGF will be a significant milestone for Kannada film industry. These are the times when films throw larger digits to budget and some wondered why such a change is taking so long in Sandalwood. Here’s why.

With limited market, lack of good studios and financing, Sandalwood has been slow in making hits. But that is not the case of Telugu or Tamil cinema. The former makes around 270 films per year and the latter around 150 while Kannada industry produces an average of 120 films and is mainly depended on domestic theatrical revenue. While Telugu and Tamil films rule South Indian audience who constitutes the 21% of the entire population of the country, Kannada films fail to get a serious audience. Tamil industry gets their second largest income from Kerala after Malayalam and, in Karnataka they are the fourth largest grosser after Kannada, Hindi and Telugu. In Karnataka, about 90 % of the total Tamil box office collections come from Bengaluru, says Sreedhar Pillai from The Hindu.  This is why when Cauvery issue was in its peak Kannada’s small budget films made the most of it in their own state as theatres in Karnataka shunned Tamil films.

There is also a matter of Diaspora that decides the reach of South Indian films. The market territories of Tamil cinema include Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, the Middle East, the U.S and Canada. U.S and Canada produce around 20% of the international revenues of Kollywood’s huge star films ( Telugu cinema earned a fan base of national and international level with films like Baahubali and its graphical and visual wonders. Malayalam industry produces an average of 65 -70 films per year while the budget, star availability, graphics and studios are matters of concern. Even then their films hardly make any compromise with the quality of the plot and hence are often remade or adapted in Kannada, Tamil and Hindi.

 “Tamil cinema and Malayalam cinema...include its constituency those from the diaspora, which often stretches beyond the nation...However, primarily because there is no significant Kannada language diaspora, Kannada cinema is apparently a local cinema addressing people only within Karnataka state”, says the film scholar M.K Raghavendra. (Bipolar Identity)

With KGF, Sandalwood gets a newfound respect. The film is said to be the most expensive film in Kannada- with a 50 crores budget. The official teaser was launched in You Tube last week and it already hit 2 million views. Director Prasanth Neel says that KGF is an underworld story of Kolar and its gold fields. Kannada’s rock star Yash with an unfailing success story from Moggina Manassu to Santhu plays the hero and Srinidhi Shetty plays his love interest. The film is said to be a complete period drama of 70s where Yash plays the rugged hero ‘Rocky’. Others in the cast are Ananth Nag, Ramya Krishnan and Achyuth Kumar. The film is said to have suffered an unexpected financial loss in a mishap in its set a few months ago; though it may not affect the scheduled releasing. The shooting locations were Kolar, Bengaluru, Mysuru, Kolkata, Mumbai and Ladakh. Also, the film will be made in Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam and Hindi.

Hopefully, with KGF Kannada film industry will have a major change in its market territory and its audience. 

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