K.G.F vs K.G.F: Why I like Chapter 1 better than Chapter 2

Kartik Dayanand KGF blog

If ever there is a competition to determine who is the biggest fan of K.G.F Chapter 1, I would either win that contest hands down or end up as one of the strongest contenders.

 

I lost count of the number of times I watched that film, but I am sure it will be over 100 times. As a keen observer of films, and how they work on our psyche, I’ve been fascinated by the appeal of this film. So much so that I’ve started writing a book about it. It’s the second book in my upcoming book series ‘Movies Beyond Stars’.

 

As a natural outcome of my fascination for K.G.F Chapter 1, I turned into the unofficial cheerleader of K.G.F Chapter 2 on Twitter.  For a few years now I have been repeatedly saying that Chapter 2 had the best chances of success as a pan-India film compared to all other films, even above RRR.

 

So, when the big day arrived, I was not surprised to see the outcome - the record breaking collections of Chapter 2.

 

I went ahead and watched the film too.

 

However, by the end of the film, I wasn’t really convinced with the output - the content of Chapter 2.

 

This was the gist of my feeling: K.G.F. Chapter 1 is an infinitely superior film than K.G.F Chapter 2!

 

It might seem like a stupid thing to say in the backdrop of the humongous success of Chapter 2, but I have my strong reasons to feel that way.

 

Unlike Chapter 1 which needed multiple viewings to grasp the full depth and beauty of the film, one viewing of Chapter 2 was enough to make sense of what made me unhappy.

 

I am in no way saying that Chapter 2 is a bad film. If it were, it wouldn’t be still running to packed houses weeks after its release.

 

This post is my attempt to explain the reasoning behind why I feel Chapter 1 is better than Chapter 2. I am basically pitting K.G.F against K.G.F, but only as a true fan of this brand and not to belittle the efforts of the makers.

 

Let me know what you think once you are done reading the post.

 

Here it goes…

A little bit about K.G.F Chapter 1

 

I mention ‘a little bit’ because if I start speaking about Chapter 1 in detail, there won’t be an end to this post. I’ll share all those ideas in my book.

 

What I want to highlight instead is a key aspect of why I think Chapter 1 is such a compelling watch. It involves the process of laying a foundation.

Foundations:


The foundation laying process when it concerns movies is the method through which we are introduced to the emotional core of any story or character. The more we get to know about that world; the characters’ circumstances, motivations, and struggles, the more we are invested in their journey.

 

There are three easy ways to achieve this:


  1. A narrator setting the context at the start of the movie, and at other intervals as the story progresses.
  2. Linear progression of the story where the hero is not a hero yet, typically a kid who faces struggles, and ends up becoming some sort of a superhero eventually.
  3. Non-linear progression where a powerful flashback is introduced to give us additional context about the making of our superhero.

Most movies employ one or more of these techniques. Here are some examples.

 

Narrator Technique:

Ram Gopal Varma’s Satya and Company start with a strong voiceover that sets the context for what’s going to unfold. It immediately pulls us into the world of those movies. Even the recent pan-India blockbuster ‘Pushpa: The Rise’ starts with an interesting narration that lays the ground for the rest of the movie.

 

Linear Progression:

Think of Amar Akbar Anthony, or most Amitabh Bachchan films from the 70s where he’s a kid on the streets who grows up into a don or whatever. This is probably the most popular technique. Even Marvel and DC superheroes like Spiderman, Superman, Iron Man, Batman, all begin with an origin story.

 

Non-Linear Progression:

A flashback episode once we are well into the movie is the standard formula here. Rajinikanth as Baashha is probably the best example. The auto driver from the present and the don from the flashback complement each other in an extraordinary fashion. Indra and Narasimha Naidu in Telugu are two other movies that come to my mind immediately.

 

I am sure you can think of countless other examples that follow these templates. It is also applicable for villains and other characters.

 

However, what we are most interested in is the story of our protagonists. It’s critical that their foundations are the strongest of them all.

 

A natural by-product of a strong foundation is an elevation!

 

Elevations are those awe-inspiring moments when the protagonist makes some bold moves that make us clap and whistle for them, or as some would like to say - create goosebumps moments.

 

That’s the holy grail that every commercial movie aims to achieve. It’s not possible without a strong foundation powered by one or more of the three techniques I spoke about earlier - a narrator’s support, linear progression through action, and non-linear progression via a flashback.

 

K.G.F Chapter 1 cracks this formula extraordinarily well.

Foundations of K.G.F Chapter 1:

 

At first viewing Chapter 1 seems like a chaotic movie with a lot happening simultaneously on screen. Any given scene seems to be happening in multiple locations, spread across the film’s present, past, distant past, future, and current times, and with different people.

  

It has a narrator in the form of Anant Nag’s character, a story that progresses linearly (more about that in a bit), and a solid flashback - not as one big episode but as sharp slices in every scene.

 

The beauty of K.G.F Chapter 1 lies in how it employs all the three foundational techniques simultaneously!

 

We keep switching between Rocky’s time as a young boy, his interactions with his ailing mother, her emotions, his bold moves in the past, present, and future (May I come in…?), stories or reactions about him from others, and so on.

 

Let’s take the introduction of Yash as senior Rocky:

  • He’s hanging by a chain surrounded by goons who are kind of scared of him.
  • We cut to a scene in the sea where smugglers are fearful about approaching the coast until Rocky is caught.
  • We cut to the father of the main goon, and his iconic dialogue “Toofan ko latkate nahi…”.
  • And there’s Shetty’s den where Chacha mouths the other famous line “Chotu, khushka cancel, biryani leke aa…”.
  • All this after we’ve been exposed to Anant Nag’s narration, and an episode of young Rocky asking for “Duniyaaa!”
  • And to top it all, Rocky himself spending a minute speaking about how the streets of Mumbai turned him into what he is now, before going ahead and bashing up all the goons singlehandedly.
  • And not to forget the memorable “Mumbai kya tere baap ka hai…” line in-between.
  • And finally, there is Andrews’ phone call in Bangalore - leading to the Salaam Rocky Bhai song and the umbrella scene post that.

For a simple hero introduction scene this is a massive amount of data processing - and as I mentioned earlier - such amount of foundation building leads to not just our investment in the character but also elevations of the highest order.

 

And this isn’t about one scene, the entire movie is built in this fashion, aided by its stunning editing and screenplay structure.

 

I can’t think of any other movie that does this so effectively in such a uniquely meticulously and subconscious manner.

 

K.G.F Chapter 1 is the baap of all foundations and elevations in the history of Indian cinema!

 

If we keep the foundation building aspect of it aside, Chapter 1 is fundamentally a very simple linear film. 

The Process:


If one were to summarize the story of K.G.F Chapter 1 - it’s about Rocky being given the task of killing Garuda and he managing to do that by the end of the film.

 

The backstories keep kicking in at a frantic pace to get us totally involved in Rocky’s journey, but the real meat of the film lies in the process of him getting to that point of killing Garuda.

 

In our linear story there are…

 

-   a cascading list of exponentially powerful villains

-   encounters with Reena that reveal parts of Rocky’s personality

-   failed attempt to kill Garuda

-   entry to Narachi

-   mother and son who get shot for crossing the line

-   forbidden cart with grains

-   girl child under threat

-   father who sacrifices himself for Rocky to survive

-   old man and the hammer episode

 

Everything in the movie leads to that one conclusion of Rocky killing Garuda.

 

There is a singular purpose to the story, and the detailing in the process keeps us hooked. While this film is a build-up to Chapter 2, it doesn’t leave anything incomplete. It works as a complete product by itself, tying up all sorts of logic and possibilities together.

 

It massively helps that all the technical departments complement the narrative very well, and the icing on the cake is the swagger with which Yash carries his role.

 

None of these would have mattered if the foundation wasn’t strong.

 

Let’s now move on to the sequel.

Foundations & Elevations of Chapter 2:

 

My biggest issue with Chapter 2 is that it completely misses, and in some cases messes with the formula of Chapter 1.

 

I will break it up for you using the three narrative techniques that I presented earlier. Let’s start with the narrator.

Technique 1 - The Narrator:

 

Prakash Raj instead of Anant Nag

 

Anant Nag in Chapter 1 was not just a narrator but an integral part of the story. Interestingly we get to know about his deep involvement because of Chapter 2.

 

Compared to him, Prakash Raj’s character is a proxy and cannot provide the same amount of relatability to the proceedings like his father did. He is relying on second hand information and doesn’t know or understand most of the story - hence his narration is also choppy.

 

This gets evident when we look at the linear progression of the story in Chapter 2. Let’s dig deeper. 

Technique 2 - Linear Progression:

 

Purpose and Process

 

While kill Garuda was the objective of Chapter 1, the sequel is about Rocky fulfilling his mother’s dream, for him to die as the richest man.

 

While the movie hurtles towards that mission – it glosses over a lot of critical info, and the process is broken.

 

Here are some examples of processing issues:

 

Reena’s Reset:

She was supposed to be in love with Rocky in Chapter 1 but is back to square 1 when Chapter 2 begins - does she love him or hate him, did she ever love him?

 

Maybe Prakash Raj’s character had no idea about her and was cooking up a new story.

 

Also, what did she do between the years 1978 and 1981. That’s an obvious question lots of people have been asking.

 

Wait for Chapter 3 is not a convincing answer.

 

Gangster and Monster:

A gangster always comes with a gang, but a monster comes alone. That formula worked beautifully in Chapter 1 where Rocky was still alone fighting his way to the top. He was like Rambo on a secret mission, so ALL his fights were solo fights, he alone taking on multiple bad guys. There’s a solid reason for him to be like that.

 

In Chapter 2 he already has an army. Why would he go alone to save the heroine? That too into Adheera’s territory. It looks good as a hero elevation device but falls flat since foundationally it is a very weak premise for an elevation.

 

Narachi:

The people and the establishment. There are two aspects to this world. What happened after Rocky killed Garuda. What exactly did he do?

 

Since all the workers there were forced, rather kidnapped, into hard labour there, did Rocky give them an option to go back home?

 

Since I am so invested in those people after watching Chapter 1, I want to know what happened. The film just glosses over it.

 

And what about all the other staff in Narachi? Did they just accept Rocky as it is? It is shown as if he owns the place right away without any struggle. Where’s the process?

 

Adheera:

He’s introduced as this menacing villain. He makes the first move and mistake too by sparing Rocky. That can be excused. But for a villain with such power, he’s totally missing in action for 3 years. What was he up to during this time?

 

And then he suddenly appears in the climax to inflict maximum damage. Seemed illogical to me despite all that logic about a secret tunnel.

 

The Parliament:

How does Rocky get into the parliament? Where’s the Indian army? How does he get back to KGF? And after all that, how does he manage to get all that gold onto the ship without the army or anyone else noticing?

 

This is like a maths problem presenting its answer without telling us the process of getting there. If it were a real exam the examiner would fail that candidate.

 

Inayat Khaleel’s men in India:

So many villains, all gone with one phone call to chacha. It’s too big a thing to happen with too little process on display. Very unlike the first part where the process was the story.

 

The Father:

Rocky’s father pops up suddenly, out of nowhere. There isn’t enough backstory to even think of him. It’s too sudden.

 

Salaar:

Unless it’s a build-up to Salaar as some have been speculating, there’s not much need for the young Muslim boy and his mother to have such prominent roles. They introduced new characters while ignoring some of the earlier set of already established characters from Narachi. Remember the guide, the one who introduces Narachi to the new set of workers? And where’s that madman who tells everyone stories? Where did he go?

 

Maybe Prakash Raj’s character doesn’t have any insights into any of these things.

 

There are so many other questions too - Why did Ramika Sen not bomb the new city Rocky built? What livelihood did those people have post KGF? And how did Rocky turn KGF into a no-fly zone? How or when did he bribe all the politicians? Where’s the process? I’ll leave it at that for now.

 

Let’s now look at the third technique - the flashbacks, or slices of which we are so used to from Chapter 1.

Technique 3 - Non-Linear Progression:


Mother & Young Rocky:

One of the major plus points of Chapter 1 was young Rocky. He provides us the right amount of emotional backstory to root for senior Rocky. Senior Rocky is left to fend for himself in Chapter 2. Young Rocky is badly missed in this film, obviously because they shot this movie much after Chapter 1 and the kid would have grown up.

 

All the burden of the backstory falls on the shoulders of the mother alone, and there isn’t much she can offer in terms of emotional impact with a toddler in arms. Unlike Chapter 1 her portions here seem forced and not organic in nature.

 

There isn’t much else happening in this flashback department, and it robs the film of its emotional depth. Something many people complained about after watching the film - they enjoyed the adrenalin rush of watching it but did not feel the connect.

 

Luckily for the movie, Chapter 1’s foundation is so strong that most or almost everyone is willing to overlook the gaps in the PROCESS of Chapter 2’s story.

In Conclusion:

 

The beauty of Chapter 1 was in telling a simple story with enough backstory to get us emotionally involved and detail out the process in a brilliant fashion.

 

Chapter 2 has a fundamental advantage over Chapter 1. It doesn’t have to try hard to build a foundation from scratch since Chapter 1 did that for it already. But it takes that foundation for granted.

 

It doesn’t provide any meaningful additional layers of context to make us root for the characters.

 

Chapter 2 is reaping all the goodwill generated by Chapter 1.

 

I am by no means saying it is a bad film. It is extraordinarily mounted and executed, but it pales in comparison to what Chapter 1 achieves as a film.

 

I am going to be speaking a lot more about Chapter 1 in my upcoming book. Stay connected to know more. You can catch me on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

 

And yes, I would love to see and hear K.G.F Chapter 2 from the viewpoint of Anant Nag’s character. That would have been an entirely different and fulfilling film. I hope he recovers in time to narrate Chapter 3 for us.

 

Let me know what you think.

 

Till then,

Cheers!!!

Kartik Dayanand Boddapati




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