Kannada superstar Yash will be making his entry into the mainstream of Indian film industry. His film KGF will be clashing at the box office with Shah Rukh Khan’s Zero on December 21. The actor is a huge fan of SRK but says that there is enough space for two films to release on the same day but insists that there is a need of more cinema halls to accommodate films
How long did you have to dedicate yourself to KGF for?
My last release was two years ago and that’s how long it took me to prep myself and shoot for the film. The concept of the film is such that it requires a very particular and might I say a very demanding look that had me dedicatedly work towards mastering the same for the major course of the two years and having to maintain the same look throughout the while that the film is being shot also came about as a challenging task that I really enjoyed doing. Eventually all’s well that ends well and I think my look manages to appear pretty cool, I just hope I’ve been able to pull it off and the audience feels the same.
And how’s Chapter 2 coming about so far?
So far we’ve just shot the parts that needed to be shot for logistical purposes –basically the scenes that have sets which will be dismantled soon and that’s just about 10 percent of the whole film. The rest of it all requires new set construction, which might be a while.
Any plans of involving yourself with another shoot before KGF 2 goes on the floor?
Well, that entirely depends on the time constraint that I will be dealing with now but the idea of another film at this point does seem a tad far reaching as we’re expecting KGF 2 to be a bigger and hence more demanding shoot than KGF 1. We’ve received very positive and overwhelming responses for the trailer and the whole team is very confident of the next film moving even higher up on the grand scale. We’re really hoping the audience feels the same way too and makes ways for us to make an even bigger film than this.
Karan Johar once happened to mention how the trajectory of the success of Bahubali was something that was truly a crossover –with its fame emerging from the south and reaching right to the north and beyond; and how being a part of the fraternity, one should encourage more films of the sort. Your take?
I think crossovers of this kind prove to be successful solely due to the connect that they are able to establish with their audience.I prefer to call it the Indian Film Industry and look at it as a single entity irrespective of the north or the south and I think that’s what the goal of everyone associated with the industry is –to create meaningful work that the audiences can relate with and appreciate, which is what I would expect for my film KGF too as it constitutes of all the elements necessary for it to achieve the level of recognition that a ‘crossover’ should.
The competition in the movie business is also something that operates on a rather magnanimous scale today. While there are the few ventures that transcend into the realm of being called a crossover, I still feel that one cannot simply present every film from the south to the north and vice versa. I think that films should have that universal appeal however, to be liked by various sets of audiences and be well received by all irrespective of their geographic or demographic backgrounds as we do have such a gigantic number of people with such variegated interests willing to be entertained by cinema today and we as belonging to the entertainment industry must be proactive and unconventional to provide the movie goers with the experience that they desire and deserve. I think KGF is the kind of film that will be liked and appreciated by many as it has something for everyone in it; it has a strong emotional content, a grand entertainment value and an even grander scale, which is what motivated us to take the film to five different languages.
Do you think we as an industry don’t particularly work towards resolving screen issues but rather prefer clashing at the box office?
I think this fluctuates in accordance with how the film is actually fairing at the box office. If a film does manage to do well then it’s not like the exhibitors would reduce the screens dedicated to it or anything of the sort. However, I feel that the film that’s releasing next week is bound to face certain problems in the same territory that you’re addressing so I guess it is a big gamble one way or another.
So December seems jam-packed with releases?
I think that has always been the case year after year and it will remain so as it’s such a festive period and has a holiday and family-get-together vibe to it. A couple of my previous films had also released in December and had proven to work out really well. I can’t conclusively comment if it’s the dates or just the relaxing holiday December mood that works in favor of our films. KGF was initially planned to release in November but was ultimately delayed due to certain unforeseen reasons. Some have mentioned about how it’s my superstitious belief that my films do well in December that motivated me to push the date but it’s all just a pleasant coincidence –my baby’s birth is due in December and I was even married in December. Some do say that it has grown to become my favorite month.
As far as theatre issues are concerned I think that is a problem today but I think it depends more on the first two weeks and is no longer the case of a 100 or 200 days.
Ritiesh Deshmukh’s Mauli shifted its date as its clash with Zero would’ve affected Shah Rukh Khan as MNS or Sena have been fighting for preference of local language films. What is your take on the matter? Should local cinema be given preference over commercial?
I do believe that local cinema must be encouraged at all costs but the way to go about that I think should be by creating more cinema halls. The business sure is increasing by the day and there should be multiple avenues for all sects of cinema to coexist with a little work done on the flexibility of show timings as well.
Rajinikanth and Sabarimala mentioned how courts should not interfere. Your take?
There are certain things that command a level of importance and certain things that we do need to change in the society. The temple issue is highly subjective and involves an entire legacy of a tradition and a practiced culture which if it is not particularly affecting anybody thenI think one should not get into it. The involvement of the court should be restricted to issues that are a genuine hindrance and pose real problems for a community, an individual or a corporation. Sadhguru recently mentioned how certain vibrations are not good for women. When we do visit the church or the mosque it is about a mutual reverence for another culture which isn’t harming anybody nor attacking a belief system which is why I think one should let it go.
Do you view the OTT platform as a threat to cinema?
No not at all. I think the premise and showcases of both the platforms is very distinctive from one another. We don’t create films to be enjoyed on the smaller television screens but the kind of art that is meant for and should be enjoyed on the cinema.
Any future plans of perhaps collaborating with an actor or a filmmaker in Mumbai?
I think my only job is to tell a story and the story can be told in any language, in any setting. Bollywood is not the only way to go about doing that I think.
I meant a filmmaker or an actor?
I really do like the work of Raj Kumar Hirani, Anurag Kashyap and Imtiaz Ali but I’m not particularly keen on entering Bollywood. I am very satisfied with my body of work so far and I will be doing Hindi films definitely, but I don’t find it necessary to have to enter Bollywood to do a Hindi film I can very well do the same in Karnataka too. If I do get an opportunity I would love for a producer to put my fan base to use and release the said Hindi film in Karnataka. I wouldn’t want to jeopardise the market and the fan base that I have already created for myself in Karnataka. Fancy investing the same kind of money in a Kannadda film! Yes, we only choose to invest in places with both quantifiable as well as high returns as Mumbai Industry is so well known for crossing and attaining the 100 crore-business mark but we don’t mention the producer’s net worth of investment and efforts in this whole equation. So all this does not really excite me and I’m not particularly keen on the whole Bollywood front and I’m very happy in Karnataka Film Industry shell. Having said that, I would always appreciate being able to garner the attention of a Hindi audience too as having a larger audience eventually translates into being able to make bigger films and isn’t that the dream!