The most significant success of SS Rajmouli’s Baahubali was to take the first leap in melting away the notion that Indian films can never compete with Hollywood. His efficiently made two-part fantasy film made the domestic audience proud, for the first time, mainly for levelling with the quality and technical wizardry of the American blockbusters. Now, three years later, KGF Chapter 2 appears to be taking the tide further, as the teaser trailer has received a tremendous response.
The Yash starrer Kannada film follows a similar formula to Rajmouli’s tour de force. The action-thriller was an ambitious project for the producer Vijay Kiragandur and the director, Prashanth Neel. The expansive, non-linear story demanded a considerable budget, the highest ever for a Kannada film, ratifying a two-part release to reap the most revenue.
The first part, titled KGF Chapter 1, achieved great success, grossing revenue thrice it’s budget at the box office. The critics and audience were thrilled by the action and cinematography, laying the seeds for an even grander sequel.
The second chapter, first scheduled to release in 2020, was moved ahead to this year, provided the closure of cinemas nationwide. The teaser was purposefully launched on its lead actor’s birthday, which has accumulated over a whopping 160 million views.
The only films who lie ahead of KGF Chapter 2 teaser YouTube views are Avengers: Endgame (233 Million) and Avengers: Infinity War (243 Million). How bonkers is it?!
The epic superhero films were two of the most anticipated movies in the history of cinema, which were backed by a massive global audience. Provided even 5% of the total audience of Avengers hasn’t seen KGF, the success of KGF Chapter 2 teaser is manifold. And it makes three things very clear:
Indian Movie Goers Dominate Social Media
During midway in 2020, the unexplained demise of Sushant Singh Rajput infuriated the Indian moviegoers, who willfully made his last film (a mortifying remake of The Fault In Our Stars) a colossal success. Dil Bechara recorded a viewership of 7.5 Crores within 24 hours of its release on Disney Plus Hotstar, the highest ever for an OTT platform. It also became the 5th highest streamed movie of 2020. And believe it or not, it temporarily dethroned The Shawshank Redemption for the number 1 spot on IMDb’s Top 250 films (it isn’t on the list anymore).
Sentiments have always played a significant role in influencing the Indian audience. But no one foresaw the impact they can have on a film, provided their monstrous engagement on social media.
Nearly 9% of the world’s total YouTube views come from India, and the figures are certainly higher for reaction videos channels, who specifically target the Indian audience. Even for Facebook and Twitter, India has the second, and third-largest userbase in the world. Whenever a film has connected well with the audience (Dangal, Baahubali 2, Bajrangi Bhaijaan), the social media response has been instrumental in making the film a global success.
Considering the record-breaking response to the KGF Chapter 2 teaser, it is inevitable that the movie will do well at the box office, despite the pandemic, or even a mediocre critical reception.
Producing Big-Budget Films In India Is No Longer A Self-Slaughter
Even by comparison to the most expensive Indian films ever made, the ₹100 Crores budget of KGF Chapter 2 feels moderate. It is undoubtedly the most ambitious film of the Kannada film industry, but the numbers don’t ring in your ears, since the title is seized by Rajnikanth’s 2.0.
Having a budget of around or over a ₹100 Crores a decade ago was counted as self-slaughtering. Whether it was a Shah Rukh Khan lead vehicle or a Kamal Hassan globetrotter, it was too risky for a producer to invest the said amount for the least chances of recovering the money, let alone break even. The advent of social media and likewise, online promotions, later on, helped reduce the marketing costs and swell the chances of making profits.
Yash Raj Films’ Dhoom: 3 was the most expensive Indian film of its time (2013 release), which became the first film to be extensively profitable, despite the high budget. It grossed ₹556 Crores at the box office, giving hopes to other ambitious filmmakers to make large-scale movies while making fair use of online promotions.
Since the film connected well with the domestic audience, fans contributed to word-of-mouth publicity, heightening the curiosity among the western audience. The same thing happened with Baahubali: The Beginning, War, Saaho, and KGF Chapter 1.
Indian Movie Goers Can Make Indigenous Actors A Global Celebrity
Prior to the success of KGF, Yash’s popularity was limited to the Kannada audience. It wasn’t that he was a newcomer. He had 19 films under his belt. But the success of KGF made him an overnight star.
Unlike usual Indian actors, Yash boasts an imposing persona and a phenomenal screen presence. Prashanth Neel fully exploited his charisma in the first chapter, and it did wonders. People were fascinated by Yash’s larger-than-life appearance, akin to Prabhas, making him a household name in the country.
Given the excellent response KGF Chapter 2 teaser has been receiving, the fan following of Yash has only expanded. The western audience has already developed a liking for Prabhas, which made his last film a notable success. Seeing more Indian faces will swell their interest in other Indian movies, evidently leading to the overall growth of indigenous films industries and the actors involved.