On October 6, 2016, Nikhil Kumaraswamy, the son of former Karnataka chief minister, HD Kumaraswamy, and grandson of former prime minister HD Deve Gowda, officially became a part of Sandalwood, when his film Jaguar released
Nikhil Kumaraswamy has always been clear that he will follow in the illustrious footsteps of his father and grandfather and get into active politics (which he did unsuccessfully in 2019), but what he also wanted to do was try his hand at acting. It helped that his father, former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy, is also a film producer and distributor.
Once Nikhil made his intentions known, the decks were cleared to launch him with a project under the home banner Channambika Films. And boy, did they go all out to make an action-packed entertainer, Jaguar, which would well and truly mark Nikhil’s entry into the industry. For this, they got SS Rajamouli’s father KV Vijayendra Prasad to write a story, Mahadev to direct and S Thaman to score music and based on this strong Tollywood connect, even released the film with a Telugu version.
High on glitz and glamour and low on content, Jaguar was just what hardcore masala film lovers wanted. Made at a rumoured Rs 70-75 crore budget, there was song and dance and action galore, all of which Nikhil owned. Although the film had Mollywood-import Deepti Sati as his romantic interest and actors like Ramya Krishna, Sampath Raj, Aditya Menon, Ravi Kale, Brahmanandam and Jagapathi Babu on the ensemble cast, it was Nikhil’s show from start to finish. The high-point, of course, was Nikhil’s masked vigilante avatar in the film, as he kicked his way around villains, while also delivering crowd-pleaser punchlines. As a bonus, there was also a special number featuring Tamannnaah Bhatia. Also, nearly 80% of the film was shot at the Infosys campus in Mysuru, which gave the visuals a rather fresh look, considering it was a hitherto unexplored location.
Despite its shortcomings, what Jaguar set out to do and achieved is to put Nikhil firmly on the map of Kannada heroes to look forward to. In the time since, he has cemented that with his second, Seetharama Kalyana and is set to take it a notch higher, with his next, Rider.