A slew of good films are lined up for release in the second half of the year
Last Updated: 12.52 PM, May 11, 2023
The first five months of the year have not been confidence inspiring for Kannada movie audiences. Challenging Star Darshan’s Kranti failed to set the box office on fire, while R Chandru’s Upendra led gangster flick Kabzaa had audiences rebuking him for spoiling the good name the industry got in the year gone by. Actors like Prajwal Devaraj, Jaggesh and Dhananjaya also had film releases, but they didn't create much buzz. April and May were also dull owing to multiple factors, including the ongoing exam and IPL season and election campaigning. Now that the polls are over and results expected over the weekend, things are likely to pick up again in Sandalwood, with film teams figuring out their release plans.
Big-ticket pan-India films play a major role in deciding dates of other smaller players. For instance, the release dates of, say, Adipurush, Jawan and Salaar, will have film teams scampering to secure a spot in the weeks preceding or following and avoid a clash. In Sandalwood, for instance, the release dates of big films like Martin and Kaatera also matter, but so far, there is no clarity on either of the films, which puts the rest in a dilemma about when to fix a release date.
So, what’s the second half of 2023 looking like for Kannada cinema? This year, fans of Rocking Star Yash and Kiccha Sudeep have nothing to look forward, with both stars yet to announce their next films. Sudeep, at least, has promised that he’s starting his next in June. Challenging Star Darshan’s fans may be lucky if he manages to finish Kaatera before the end of the year, but the team has provided no such indication. Dhruva Sarja’s Martin, which was to have released for Dasara last year, is still not complete, with the actor yet to shoot for the songs. The Action Prince has shed all the weight he’d amassed for Martin and is shooting for KD now, and while the team of Martin is hopeful of a September release, that looks doubtful.
Let’s take a look at what will come to theatres soon. Junior Rebel Star Abishek Ambareesh’s relaunch, directed by Duniya Suri, and Golden Star Ganesh’s Baanadariyalli are apparently contenders for June releases. Rakshit Shetty’s long-in-the-making and much-awaited Sapta Sagaradaache Ello will be an end of July release, he had said. Raj B Shetty has apparently made not one but two films already – Swathi Mutthina Male Haniye and his own production Toby. He is yet to officially announce ‘his’ film, but that could be a surprise package in theatres this year. Yuva Rajkumar’s much talked about debut, which has been called Yuva, was launched with a teaser announcing that it will be a December 22, 2023 release.
Yuva’s brother Vinay has two films ready for release, namely Pepe and Andondittu Kala, both of which are being prepped for release. Vikram Ravichandran’s second film Mudhol, Duniya Vijay’s next directorial Bheema and Sriimurali’s Bagheera are all still in production and there is no guarantee that they will be in theatres this year. What we could expect is Shivarajkumar’s film with MG Srinivas, Ghost, which has created a lot of buzz already as well as Upendra’s return to direction UI. Both these films are contenders for the fag end of the year. Not to forget the films from Rakshit’s Paramvah Studios – Strawberry and Ibbani Tabbida Ileyali.
In terms of content, there is an exciting list of films lined up; the question, though, is, which of these will Kannada audiences shower with love? While pre-pandemic audiences complained that a lack of quality content kept them from theatres, post-pandemic, they are still not turning up as frequently as filmmakers hope for. A-list starrer big productions are the favoured ones on the big screen, while the rest get their due only when they eventually drop on an OTT platform. But that’s a discussion for another day. For now, you have a list of films to look forward to. The next step is to plan which of these to watch in theatres.