• Thu. Jun 30th, 2022

kgf: Exclusive: We Didn’t Plan For KGF To Have Two Parts, Says Director Prashanth Neel | Kannada Movie News

ByRandall B. Phelps

Apr 13, 2022
As the release of KGF: Chapter 2 nears, director Prashanth Neel explains what it took to create the two-part magnum opus, how Yash was the voice of reason on his team and his plans, after the exit. Excerpts from a chat…

Almost a decade has passed since the beginning of the KGF adventure. What is your state of mind?

It’s exhausting. Obviously, we also had this crisis that the whole world went through together. So we delete those two years. But without it, staying on a project that long would be taxing on anyone. But it gets easier with all the love, support and then recognition. We are in movies to make money and the way we make money is by making a name for ourselves. When you know it’s going to escalate, then you do everything you can to stay there. You won’t be distracted because the end product is the only thing that matters. Whether it takes six years or sixty years, if your result is not good, then you will not be well either.

Publishing problems?

I am very nervous and tense. It doesn’t matter how many people around you tell you the movie is good, especially those whose judgment I trust. Ultimately, the paying public must deliver that verdict. Honestly, I’ve lost all judgment on the movie because I’ve been doing it for so long.

Since its announcement, the film’s stature has grown. Tell us about this process…

We hadn’t decided to split the film into two parts. We still had budgetary constraints at that time… rather, I had them in my head. We didn’t think of scale or budget when we wanted to take the leap to go further, because we didn’t know what it would take. We had to work five times as hard to show that breadth and grandeur that people so often demand from cinema. because we still didn’t have an extravagant budget. But when, as a writer, you start designing, your thought process starts with Hollywood standards. Today, I am happy that we have reached this stage and that we have such results.

How did you go about making the film an immersive experience?

The process comes naturally. I’m watching the shot as an audience member and want to have something believable or engaging while watching the movie. While the technical team was an intrinsic part of the film in creating the mood, I also thank each actor. Like that shot when Rocky first comes to KGF and looks around, I wanted the same look in the eyes of the audience. The actors, right from the junior artist, made it believable. They made the audience believe that this world is real and that they will be in this world for the next two hours.

The first part won a lot of fanfare and love. What role did this play in the making of Chapter 2?

Love made this very easy. Even before I got into the industry, I knew one thing about cinema: audiences don’t care about the difficulties you face in making a movie. It’s just the end product – they liked it or not. It was the same mentality behind every shot and we don’t care how long it took to get that perfect shot. We were creating fantasy and it had to be convincing. The good stories of difficulties and everything will only come out if the result is good. Otherwise, we don’t care that we spent so much money and time on something that wasn’t worth it. This fear made it easier for us. The fear that people won’t like the product if a particular shot doesn’t come out right. When Chapter 1 was accepted as a successful venture, it got easier. We couldn’t afford to slack off because we didn’t have the budget for a Hollywood movie. But, somewhere deep in our hearts, we were trying to achieve something like this.

KGF is not complete without the dark and violent world. How did this take shape?

I am not violence, I am history. Neighbors can kill in a parking space. Here, we are talking about an empire and a piece of land so precious that it could make you the most powerful man in the world. Imagine the kind of conflict that can arise. If I don’t use violence to convince you that this place is precious, then the movie will not move. History has written violence.

There are times when we put a little action because of the star. I love action, but there must be a reason for that. We had to explain Yash’s trip to Bombay in this film, for example. KGF demanded this action because, without it, I will not be able to convince the public of this world and the conflict.

You chose actors you grew up watching on the big screen… How was it?

I dreaded casting important people because they came from different worlds. Hindi film industry is not something I know. So when we cast Raveena Tandon and Sanjay Dutt, I was very worried about how they would react to our way of working. We are very punctual on sets and wanted them there early. But when they got on set, they were more professional than people I’ve met before. They belong to the old school of thought where they think the director is the ultimate. It made my job easier. Of course, I had success behind me and they knew I would do something worthwhile. Once they trusted the script, it got easier. These are added values. Sanjay Dutt brought his entire outfit with him. The contributions they made were to improve the film. They came without tantrums and lit up the set. Rao Ramesh sir was another revelation. He’s the only character we had written very little about, but we worked on it later. It went from a 4-day filming experience to 14 days with him. Prakash Raj sir came at a very difficult stage for us and became the voice of the film and I am very happy about that.

Yash has been part of your dream from the start. How has this journey shaped your working relationship?

The least work Yash has done in this movie is acting. He was involved in every aspect. He never interfered, but was supportive throughout. He acted as my assistant director so many times. He is the life of this film and I can’t thank him enough. He was a motivating point for us. He made the right decisions and I would say he is everything for the film.

Today, you are compared to greats like the SS Rajamouli…

It’s scary when people take my name in the same breath as that of Mr. Rajamouli. I believe there is no comparison. You can’t judge someone by just one project. I will work so much harder to maintain my credibility and it will take time. It may have been a decade, but this is my third movie and I still have to prove myself as a director. I don’t feel that pressure because I’m not here to do that. I’m not here to compete with anyone. I’m here for my bread and my butter. The comparisons are only due to the frenzy of KGF. It’s only when I’ve done different films and different genres that people can compare.

You said you were exhausted. Are you going to take a break from the KGF hangover?

I still have some responsibilities to fulfill with KGF, then I’m going straight into shooting Salaar from the first week of May. I think the world of Salaar will be my break. It’s a different and exciting story. Since I’ve been stuck with KGF for eight years, the big break will be getting into another movie and seeing some new characters.