KGF delivers grandiose storytelling reminiscent of Rajamouli’s pre-Bahubali movies.

Director Prashant Neel has your attention right at the start when the narrative pans across the Parliament House, the eponymous gold mine in Karnataka, the Cold War and the slums of Mumbai. The birth of our protagonist Rocky coincides with the discovery of gold in Kolar in almost prophetic fashion. After 20 minutes of relentless hype, we are finally introduced to Yash’s Rocky as he singlehandedly bashes a platoon of goons.

Even before this glorified hero introduction, the movie throws a dozen names at you before you have any time to recover. Though it is muddling, it doesn’t matter much since a few characters are being saved for Chapter 2. However, one character who wasn’t needed at all was the love interest played by Srinidhi Shetty. It’s a love arc devoid of logic and born out of a forced need to fit in the heroine somehow.

Most of the movie is narrated through an interview with an author who has written a book about KGF, chilling titled as El Dorado. While this serves as a great narrative device, the movie sometimes gets bogged down with incessant exposition. There were instances when it was an Inception of exposition. The author narrates about a character, who is narrating about Rocky’s invincibility. Add to it, Rocky’s own penchant for proclaiming his valor at every opportunity. It was rather disappointing that the makers had to “tell” us everything rather than “showing”. The dialogues were also bland, but it’s most likely down to the bad dubbing.

As we journey to the dreaded Kolar Gold Fields in the second half, I was impressed with the uncompromising depiction of the way of life. But it starts falling into usual clichés with stereotypical villains committing barbaric acts. I would have been more interested in Rocky’s plan to breach KGF’s impregnable defenses. We are made to wait a good while, two inhuman episodes to be precise, for Rocky’s transformation from detached bystander to revered savior. The movie ends on an uplifting note as our larger-than-life hero fights for the oppressed and emerges triumphant.

Overall, KGF’s glossy packaging manages to paper over some glaring cracks in the movie. This reminded me of Rajamouli’s pre-Bahubali movies, when the acclaimed director hadn’t yet found his stride. So, even though KGF may have fallen short in its aspirations to be the next Baahubali, there is still hope for the next chapter to raise the bar higher.

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