The film was in news when none other than Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani decided to back it.
When 2018 kick-started, all eyes were on how 2.0 would turn out to be a pan-India success. When it came to a film from South that would make an impression right through the country across various languages, bets were being placed for the Rajinikanth and Akshay Kumar starrer.
However, silently and behind the scenes, there was another film for which foundation was being laid so that it emerges as a major success story. The film was KGF which was primarily been made in Kannada and then plans were being put into place to release it in Hindi, Tamil as well as Telugu version.
Hardly anyone from the trade or the industry paid heed to the Prashanth Neel directed film though. After all, there has not been a single Kannada film that has made a mark in the Hindi dubbed version. As a matter of fact, even when it comes to Tamil and Telugu films, just a handful of these do well on the dubbed circuits and that too mainly on the satellite arena.
The film was in news when none other than Farhan Akhtar and Ritesh Sidhwani decided to back it. Out of the blue, it was announced that the film, with Yash as the leading man, will have a pan-India release across 2400 screens. It was a surprise indeed as after 2.0, it was only the second film from down South to see such a huge all-India arrival with good focus on Hindi release.
Right till the day of the release though no one gave KGF much of a chance for the Hindi version at least. After all, it was coming right opposite Shah Rukh Khan starrer Zero. No comparisons were being drawn, not all mainstream Hindi film critics reviewed the film either and nothing much was written about it till the opening Friday collections started pouring in.
By the time the first day numbers were out, there were whispers being heard in the trade circles as well as industry alike. Even though first day collections of the Hindi version were not great at Rs 2.10 crore, they were still fair enough to showcase some sort of a start at the least. As for the all-India collections (18 crore), they were next only to Zero (Rs 20.14 crore).
The gap started narrowing down as the weekend progressed and soon the film collected Rs 59.60 crore, which was better than Zero's weekend collection (Rs 59.07 crore). Now when both films have completed a week at the box office, Zero is struggling to reach the 100 crore mark as it has amassed a mere 90 crore. On the other hand KGF has already gone past the 100 crore mark and in the process has emerged as the first film ever in the history of Kannada cinema to achieve this feat.
What is further remarkable is the fact that the Hindi version too has contributed close to Rs 23 crore already and is still counting. On an all-India level, the film will go past the 150 crore mark easily, hence turning out to be the second biggest grosser from South to have achieved this feat across languages. Of course, 2.0 is far higher with collections to the tune of close to Rs 425 crore. However that was a film with budget in excess of Rs 500 crore whereas KGF is said to have cost its producers somewhere around Rs 60-70 crore.
All said and done, is heartening to see a surprising blockbuster emerge out of the film industry and that too from Karnataka, hence opening up additional avenues for films made in India. Though Prabhas-starrer Saaho is the next big film from South that would be seeing a major pan-India release in 2019, one just hopes that more and more filmmakers bring their films that eliminate the North-South boundaries. That would only bring on tremendous entertainment quotient for the audiences.(Joginder Tuteja is a trade expert and film critic, and loves to talk and write about anything that is related to films. Views are personal)