Deccan Chronicle

Franchise-films, the way forward?

Deccan Chronicle.| Sashidhar Adivi

Published on: March 17, 2022 | Updated on: March 17, 2022

The South has been betting big on films that have multiple instalments

From the movue F3. (By Arrangement)

From the movue F3. (By Arrangement)

The south is seeing a flurry of franchise-based films - so much so that such films seem to be becoming the norm.

There was a time when audiences weren’t too receptive to the idea of franchise-based films. But that is changing now. From Pushpa: The Rule, HIT and F to Karthikeya in Telugu, and the Adi Kapyare Kootamani, Indian and KGF series in Malayalam, Tamil and Kannada respectively, franchise-based films seem to have caught the imagination of the public.

However, it’s a tricky business, making sequels, as the success of the original inevitably raises expectations.

Most of the filmmakers announce sequels after a movie is a success, but how does a film typically qualify for franchise stature?

Anil Ravipudi, who is directing F3, a sequel to F2, states that if a film has to qualify as franchise material, there should be enough spark in the characters and the story.

"The plot of the F series has universal appeal. The characters have wide acceptance, which was why I tried to take forward the strengths in F2, including lead characters, mannerisms and gestures," explains Anil, adding that there could even be an F4 and F5.

The director reveals that he is fascinated with the idea of franchise-based films because of Bollywood movies like Golmaal and Houseful. "I believe there is a section of the audience which loves to watch such laugh-riots," he says.

A global trend

As the stakes of filmmaking continue to rise and people are eager for more interesting and innovative stories, isn’t making a franchise-based film a risky proposition?

Screen writer Gopi Mohan feels there are some story ideas which filmmakers love to explore further and turn into a franchise. Modern audiences are exposed to world cinema and both Hollywood and Bollywood are coming up with franchised-based films, he points out.

"Audiences of today welcome franchise-based films. For instance, Marvel Studios come up with a series of scripts and release them in parts. At present, in the South, filmmakers don’t write scripts with a franchise in mind. However, I’m confident that here too, filmmakers will come up with such ideas" Gopi Mohan says.

Citing the examples of Baahubali, Pushpa and KGF, the writer says that the super success of these films is prompting more filmmakers to explore the idea of franchise films.

It’s all about character and story

Franchise films are concept-oriented rather than star-oriented. A lot depends on whether the filmmakers can explore a new world within the same universe.

But how ready are stars to fall in love with such a script? Why are stars showing great interest in being part of franchise films?

Nagarjuna, who recently, delivered a super hit - Bangarraju, a sequel to Soggade Chinni Nayana (SCN) - reveals that while he was shooting for SCN he realised that the script had the potential for a franchise if the audience accepted the characters.

Actor Nagarjuna.

Director Sukumar who made Pushpa: The Rise, feels that the first part should leave the audience curious enough to want to watch further episodes.

"Somewhere during the shooting of Pushpa: The Rise, we felt that the principal character had more to showcase. That gave us The beginnings of the idea of a franchise. As the film neared completion, we realised that if we could leave the audience wondering about the lead character (Allu Arjun) at the end of the first part, there was scope for a riveting sequel," explains Sukumar, who is currently on a location recce for the second part.

He shares that the character-driven narrative was what attracted Allu Arjun to the idea of  a franchise. "Allu Arjun was hooked to his character arc and layered role," asserts Sukumar, adding that for franchise-based films, the lead character’s graph should be very steep.

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