ZERO STARS OUT OF FIVE (1 star is too generous)


NZ RELEASE 14/4/22






Review written by U.P.N for Indian Weekender


Strong protective instincts had kept me from watching K.G.F Part 1 released in late 2018. Out of a dutiful sense of homework, I recently watched it in preparation for reviewing K.G.F Part 2. The awe-inducing legend of the great hero Rocky who cuts down innumerable baddies with a flick of his finger and thereby saves suffering hordes of tortured labourers in the Kolar Gold Fields (K.G.F) by becoming their benevolent overlord, is one of the worst, loudest and crassest movies in cinema history. It takes a special director indeed to outmatch the awfulness of that first instalment and it is this rare treat that awaits the discerning viewer in K.G.F Part 2.

The all-powerful messiah Rocky (played by ‘Rocking Star’ Yash – that’s how the opening credits introduce him, not my invention) is now the kind, generous owner of Kolar Gold Fields. The previously brutalized labourers have had houses built for them and given a decent standard of life (in real life, Kolar ex-workers roll in misery). They fawn over him with such gratuitousness that any international rockstar would be put to shame. Children worship him, and just the mention of his name makes the women screech to a halt and cover their mouths in awe.

Rocky’s enemies mushroom like a nuclear blast cloud and conspire to take him down. A man like him cannot be truly great unless the Prime Minister (Ramika Sen, played by Raveena Tandon) is obsessed with him, so the P.M gets wind of him and declares war after appointing him the country’s greatest criminal. His love-interest from the first film, Reena (Srinidhi Shetty) must be the sort of lady who aspires for at least two marriages in her long-term life, and that is why she decides to first hitch with a bloke like Rocky.

It is a telling indictment of the general quality of mainstream Kannada cinema that it has lost its market share – the original Kannada film has not released in New Zealand, while dubbed Hindi and Telugu versions rule the roost.

Those amongst us who are new to usual human behaviour may take note that the spectrum usually includes moments of relaxation, pleasant demeanour and some mature discussions. K.G.F Part 2 sports constant anger, violence, tense behaviour, shouting, screaming, crying and scheming. Moments of even stray happiness and balance are absent. The mass of labourers in the gold fields must be so severely traumatized that a return from anxiety is impossible – few movies have been so powerful at showing such a pervasive sense of mass hysteria, mass screaming and mass caterwauling.

This is an action film, and yet no serious action aficionado will fall for this artificial trash. Not a single punch or swipe is covered in a clean take – two or three hyperkinetic editing cuts will always obscure the action and make it seem highly fake. Human life is given little value in these casual killings.

You’re then left with what was never the movie’s focus. Any aesthetics are sacrificed in favour of helter-skelter narration and feverishly rushed editing. Plot development mainly revolves around Rocky’s multiplying great nature, and the goon squad’s multifarious mediocre attempts to topple him.

Srinidhi Shetty is the film’s best act, purely because others loaf off. Shetty’s moderate shades of annoyance and some tender expressions are all the more remarkable as she has to contend with third-rate direction that has no idea how to extract good acting.

‘Rocking Star’ Yash (name as per the opening credits) takes wooden acting to new levels. Sandalwood (the ignominious name given to the Kannada film industry) would be flattered to note the similarity in material. Not to be outdone, Sanjay Dutt, in one of his worst roles (as the villain Adheera), is as expressive as a lump of pig iron. Raveena Tandon is fastidiously one-dimensional and cashes in on the South’s call to Hindi stars to pitch in with zero acting for wads of cash (Hurry while stocks last).

Pic’s last scene tantalizingly, thrillingly warns of Part 3. All the gold in the world will not make me come under the third attack of the devastating Rocky.


U. Prashanth Nayak for Indian Weekender,  16/4/22