Yash, the Kannada superstar’s popularity has gone up manifold after the release of KGF. In an interview with Subhash K Jha the affable humble superstar, talks about how the film’s success has changed his fan–profile, the release of KGF on the digital platform and for the first time, his plans to start shooting KGF 2 in April.
Yash, months after its release, KGF continues to run in many centres?
I am aware of it. We’ve been tracking its course through the weeks and frankly, though we expected the film to succeed, the level of success has left us quite dazed. Of course, we wanted this level of success. And KGF is available on the digital platform since February 5. So we have millions and millions of added viewership.
Who wouldn’t want this level of success? But not everyone gets it?
True. I guess someone up there likes me.
And down here also, quite a few?
Ha ha yes. I am grateful and quite dazed. Earlier I used to be recognised and approached only in Karnataka. Now wherever I go, be it Andhra, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala or Mumbai, I am given the same love and respect everywhere.I feel at home everywhere now.
Now you belong to the whole country ?
Yes, that’s the best part of the success of. It has brought me closer to the entire country. I feel the love wherever I go. KGF can’t be called only as a Kannada film.
So KGF Part 2?
We will begin by the end of April or the beginning of May. We’ve locked in the script and it’s now in pre-production. The scale of presentation this time would be much higher. Now that KGF is a recognisable brand we have huge expectations to live up to. Not that we were any less careful in the first part. Only technically this time we need to be a little more sophisticated. There are a couple of very complex action scenes in the sequel. For this we may get help from foreign technicians.
Do you feel Indian technicians lag behind in action scenes?
Not at all! No no, never. In fact I believe Indian technicians are the best in the world. In the first chapter we achieved everything with Indian technicians and most of them were from Karnataka. Our action scenes in KGF have been appreciated everywhere including outside India.This time again we will be using the same team. Only if foreign technicians are required we will consider them. Only because they have the resources that we perhaps don’t. Otherwise we don’t lag behind in talent. But most of the technicians again will be local, and that’s the way I want it. Mind you, in Hollywood there are several Indian technicians working.
Are you looking at penetrating the international market with Part 2?
The first part too penetrated the into international market, though not as much as we’d have liked to. This time we hope to be well equipped to make inroads abroad. Lots of foreigners have watched KGF. This time we hope to make a world-class film.
You did consider doing something else before doing KGF again. I remember you told me that the last time we spoke?
I did. But then audiences expectations are so high we don’t want to disappoint them by breaking their concentration from the first part to the second. If the second part comes later it would be of no use. People really want to watch it now. We wanted to make sure they get what they want. The most important factor for doing KGF 2 right after the first chapter is my look. It took one helluva long time to grow this beard. To shave it off and then grow it back again would be quite an ordeal.
How is your recently-born daughter doing? What have you named her?
According to our tradition, we can only name her after five or nine months. We will have a big ceremony after five months where her name will be officially announced. It will be a bigger function than her first birthday. I can tell you this much. She will be named after a Hindu goddess. In the mean time we have a whole lot of nicknames for her.
Do you get to spend enough time with the little one?
No matter how much time I spend with her it’s not enough. Right now before I begin shooting for KGF 2. I spend as much time as possible with her. Even when I begin shooting I will make sure I spend some time with her every day. Shootings will continue to happen. But this precious time when she’s growing will never come back.
Success hasn’t changed you at all?
I am no stranger to success. Even before KGF I had seen ample success in Karnataka. What this film did was to broaden my fan base many times over. If I was a newcomer in KGF you may have found me walking with my head in the clouds.
Your message to fans?
Please give the second chapter of KGF even more love than you gave the first chapter. We will be in theatres in the summer of 2020.