Mirroring The Industry: Yash, KGF franchise and the subsequent rise of Kannada Film industry

Has Yash put the Kannada film industry on the National Map following the success of KGF? Pinkvilla discusses.
Mirroring The Industry: Yash, KGF franchise and the subsequent rise of Kannada Film industry
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Since the start of cinema in India, the film industry has been split into Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Kannada. While Tamil, Telugu and even Malayalam cinema has got frequent coverage in the national media due to the constant crossovers between the industries and the national presence of superstars like Rajinikanth, Chiranjeevi, and Mohanlal among many more, but seldom has the Kannada industry got the kind of attention that it deserved, despite the production of quality content. One of the reasons for that is probably because the talent from the industry has generally stayed away from Hindi films and not many Kannada films have been remade in Bollywood.

While quality content has been a constant in Kannada industry, the Hindi audience didn’t take notice of it, even in the time when dubbed films started to rule the television channels. But things took a massive turn in 2018 with the release of the Yash fronted KGF: Chapter One. As Rocky, Yash arrived as an underdog from the underworld, but proved to be a monster at the box-office. What connected with the audience was the treatment of lead character similar to Amitabh Bachchan from the 70s and 80s – Angry Young Man, with grey shades, standing up for the society.

The audience base of KGF has increased from just 30 lakhs on the big screen in Hindi to over 2 crore now for the sequel, thanks to the television runs, that reached out to the least common denominator of the society.
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Yash excelled in this larger-than-life character of Rocky, and his conviction made the audience believe in the power of the universal cinema language.  Today, Rocky is synonymous to him. The film did phenomenal business outside Karnataka in other South Indian states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Nizam and AP, but what surprised one and all was the way it fared in the Hindi speaking states. Despite a clash with Zero, it proved to be a success at the box-office. And what more? The brand value of KGF and reach of Yash has spiked up  the last 3 years due to repeat runs on television. The audience base of KGF has increased from just 30 lakhs on the big screen in Hindi to over 2 crore now for the sequel, thanks to the television runs, that reached out to the least common denominator of the society. It has made Yash a household name, and more so among the masses, who now see him as their hero. Similar phenomenon was witnessed in Bahubali as well, wherein the gap between part one and two actually amped up the market potential.

The success of KGF has shifted the tides for Yash. It spiked his value to the extent that television channels of Hindi films went hunting for the dubbing rights of other Yash films. While pre-KGF figure of all his dubbed films are not available, a glimpse at YouTube will speak volumes about Yash popularity and the relative upswing of Kannada cinema in Hindi film.  His 2015 release, Masterpiece has got over 135 million streams on YouTube, whereas his 2016 release, Santh Straight Forward is another hit on digital world with over 100 million views. His two other films, Drama and Meri Jaan have fetched 60 Million and 35 Million views respectively. The aforementioned figures are only from YouTube as the dubbed version is available on other platforms too. His KGF: Chapter One too is a smash hit on YouTube with over 150 million views in just 3 months, and that too, over and above the streaming on Amazon Prime, and Television.

A glimpse at YouTube views will speak volumes about Yash popularity and the relative upswing of Kannada cinema in Hindi film. His 2015 release, Masterpiece has got over 135 million streams on YouTube,
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There is a demand for consuming the films featuring Yash in the Hindi circuit, and this is always a positive sign of an actor. This would also reflect in the opening of KGF 2 in Hindi belt. At this point of time, it wouldn’t be wrong to term Yash as the face of Kannada industry and with KGF2 round the horizon, the stakes are bound to spike up. While there have been ample of Pan-Indian films being made, it’s just Rajinikanth (2.0, with added presence of Akshay Kumar), Prabhas and Yash, who have managed to cross the regional barrier. In-fact, if KGF: Chapter 2 fares as well as expected, Yash well will be on the path of becoming the superstar with Pan Indian presence, as his appeal will not just be restricted to Bangalore, but spread across the country, particularly the north belt which is like a goldmine for theatrical business. Yash has certainly moved over the era of films becoming a success with business of Rs 30 and 40 crore, as with the Pan-Indian market up for grab, one would talk in 100s of crore from his films, and well, while that's a rare feat to attain, it's definitely a responsibility too.

The rise in reach will lead to spike in budgets, which in turn will elevate the stardom further with every passing film. His next after KGF 2 is also set to release in Hindi and from what we hear, even that’s going to be a massive commercial entertainer, with Vishnu Induri being one of the producers he is speaking to. Yash with KGF has brought the Kannada industry in the eyes of the dubbing rights giants and with every passing day, the portfolio of Kannada dubbed films is increasing through the acquisition of some lesser-known Kannada films, which can strike chord with the television audience. It’s a win and win scenario and a film that crosses the regional barriers (be it KGF or Bahubali) is acting as a big step in the right direction for the respective film industry, upping the stakes of not just the leading man, but also the industry across the country. Probably, if not for Yash and KGF, a lot of Kannada film would have never seen the day of light in dubbed market. It's been a brave step from Yash to dream and bring KGF to the spectacle across the country and this shall probably give wings to a lot more filmmakers to fly and explore the market potential outside Karnataka. So well, here’s to more from the Kannada industry.

Also Read| Mirroring The Industry: Is social media the reason why Bollywood hasn’t found a SUPERSTAR post Hrithik Roshan?

Anonymous 3 weeks ago

Awaiting for kgf2. Loved KGF1

Anonymous 3 weeks ago

Is Vishnu Induri is producer in Narthan directorial film?