For the first time in its 85-year history, three big-budget movies — with their makers raising an yet-unheard budget of a total of Rs. 150-crore — are slated for release in the next few months.

Last year, the Kannada film industry had 200-plus releases and registered a total turnover of Rs. 500-crore, according to sources in the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce (KFCC). The combined estimated budget of the three films —
Kurukshetra, The villain
and
KGF
— which have an impressive line-up of stars, covers almost one-third of the total turnover last year.

“Earlier films were being made at a budget as low as Rs. 25 lakhs. Now, we have high budget films. Besides the rise in the number of films, Kannada movies are appealing to the audience beyond borders in terms of its quality, content and box office success,” says S.A. Chinne Gowda, president KFCC.

Huge star cast

Kurukshetra
, produced by Congress MLA Munirathna, narrates the Mahabharata from the perspective of Duryodhana. Though film industry sources peg the investment at Rs. 50-crore plus, Mr. Munirathna refused to speak about the budget. “I have placed no limit on the budget, as it is my dream project. Spending is primarily based on what the script and making of the film demand,” he says.

The audio by V. Harikrishna will be released by mid-August and the film may hit screens in September, said Naganna, director of
Kurukshetra
.

This mythological film has an impressive star cast including Ambarish, V. Ravichandran, Arjun Sarja, Sneha, Meghana Raj, Bharathi Vishnuvardhan, Nikhil Gowda (son of the Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy), Sonu Sood and Shashikumar. “The film was shot in huge period sets erected in Ramoji Rao Film City for nearly 100 days,” says Naganna. According to him, the Hindi film industry has already bought the dubbing rights of
Kurukshetra
.

Top stars

The villain
is directed by Prem of
Jogi
fame and is produced by Janata Dal (Secular) MLC C.R. Manohar. It has two top stars — Shivaraj Kumar and Sudeep. Ami Jackson is making her debut in Kannada films in this film. Mithun Chakraborthy is essaying an important character. Sources in the film industry peg the budget at Rs. 55 crore. According to sources,
The villain
is slated for release in August.

Film in two parts

KGF,
starring Yash, is said to have been shot at a cost of about Rs. 45 crore. Karthik Hombale, one of the producers, says that the film will hit the screens by year-end. The official teaser, which was launched recently, got over 2 million hits.

According to director Prashanth Neel, it is the story about the underworld of KGF. The film is a complete period drama based in the ’70s. The film may be released in two parts because of its length, said the director.

These three films have broken the myth that the Kannada film industry works with low budgets. The future of big-budget films in Kannada depends on the box office success of these three films.

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