‘Kantara will definitely get a sequel’
Vijay Kiragandur, whose Hombale Films backed two back-to-back blockbusters in KGF 2 and Kantara, as he talks about the vision for his production house, and more
Published: 04th January 2023 08:52 AM | Last Updated: 04th January 2023 04:57 PM | A+A A-
KOCHI: In a year that reiterated South Indian cinema’s storytelling excellence, and put the Kannada film industry on the global map, the presence of one name cannot be ignored Hombale Films. Having backed KGF 2 and Kantara, two of the biggest blockbusters of the year that made a theatrical and non-theatrical business of Rs 2,000 crore, Vijay Kiragandur’s Hombale Films is a production house that clearly has the vision to become the brand connected with content-driven films that also set the cash registers running.
In this exclusive conversation with CE, Vijay Kiragandur and his business partner Chaluve Gowda, speak at length about their blockbuster 2022, their five-year plan, and priority projects.
Both KGF and Kantara were blockbuster successes, do you have a favourite?
Compared to Kantara, the KGF franchise was made on a big canvas and budget, but there is no doubt that both were phenomenal successes in their own ways with brilliant returns. I can’t pick a favourite. From the production point of view, if KGF helped us to reach places across India, Kantara further strengthened it.
What were your takeaways from the reception to KGF and Kantara?
2022 was a good ride, especially since this happened post the pandemic. Honestly, we did expect something from KGF Chapter 2, but Kantara was a big surprise, which I guess was a divine blessing. Two films have given a massive turnover to the concept of pan-Indian films, and has impacted the theatre economy too. Prashant Neel and Yash’s KGF was a massive commercial success, and the credit will go to the team and the technicians. Apart from the huge success, Kantara also gave a message about our rooted culture, which should be passed on to the next generation. We owe it all to Rishab Shetty. The success of these two films has given us more responsibility and helped us to plan better for 2023 and 2024.
When did the idea of launching Hombale Films start in your mind?
The drive to enter the film industry started at a very young age. Actually, catering to the huge and diverse population of India was a fascinating idea, which is a financially viable prospect. Another important reason is that films have the power to inform a generation. What was earlier spoken through drama and Harikathas started coming through the medium of cinema. Each film has been a learning experience for me, and every film has taught us something, Learning is a never-ending process, and understanding the evolution of our vision has helped us execute our projects better.
You are stepping into Bollywood at a time when your regional films are doing well in the Hindi-speaking belt.
Honestly, when you look at the business perspective, it is not that we have to do Hindi films. Our dubbed films are doing good business already. But just like how we are making films in all languages in the South, we want to make our presence felt in Bollywood too. Moreover, some subjects that come our way will work for actors and directors of that region. Though most films are considered multilingual today, the face of the story becomes important, and that is one of the primary reasons to move into the Hindi market. However, we are sure that the linguistic barriers are being pulled down, and even a dubbed Kannada film will have its takers in the Hindi market.
You have been quite vocal about the `3,000 crore investment plans you have for the next five years
With Indian cinema now being industry-driven, and multiple mediums like OTT becoming game changers, there is a huge vacuum in the entertainment industry. Anyone interested in making movies should make use of these options. China has 50,000 theatres, and the US has 33,000 theatres, But India’s population of 140 crores has just 9,000 theatres with around 5,000 theatres coming in. Cinema as a medium, irrespective of where we watch it, will work only when it has good content. That content can come through only if the right kind of writers, directors and production houses fill the vacuum. So we plan to invest at least `500 to 600 crore per year in all sectors of entertainment mediums, and our main focus will be on films. We believe that the entertainment industry will grow more and more, and we are looking forward to bringing a bag of stories across various languages.
Hombale Films has an exciting pan-Indian lineup of films for 2023 and 2024...
In 2023, Hombale Films has some really huge pan-Indian films like Prashant Neel’s Salaar (Telugu), starring Prabhas, Pawan Kumar’s Dhoomam (Malayalam) with Fahad Faasil and Aparna Balamurali, Raghu Thatha (Tamil) with National award winner Keerthy Suresh directed by Family Man writer Suman Kumar. All of these films will release in multiple languages. Then, in Kannada, we have Bagheera with Srimurali, which is written by Prashanth Neel and directed by Dr. Suri. Then, we are launching Yuvarajkumar in a film directed by Santhosh Ananddram. Even in 2024, we have pan-Indian films lined up like Prithviraj Sukumaran’s Tyson, and Rakshit Shetty’s Richard Antony. There is also another film with Rishab Shetty and a project with director Sudha Kongara. Finally, we have one more project with Prashant Neel that will go on floors after he completes Salaar.
We can’t help but ask about the sequel and threequel prospects of Kantara and KGF
The Kantara series will happen, for sure. We will get more clarity once we have a discussion with Rishab Shetty. As for KGF 3, we have no plans to take up the project anytime soon.