Year 2022 belonged to Hombale Films
Kannada film production house 'Hombale Films' had the biggest laugh in 2022. In the second half of the year otherwise expected to be a difficult year, Hombale Films saw two of its movies smash box-office records.
KGF: Chapter 2 and Kantara became pan-India successes. No wonder a multiplex-owners Vijay Kiragandur and Chaluve Gowda of Hombale Films to congratulate them on being the “most profitable studio”.
Sons of farmers from Mandya and the first in their families to get into business, Kiragandur and Gowda set up a construction company in 2010. Three years on, they got into film production, acting on Kiragandur’s belief that construction and entertainment were industries that would persist against odds. The friends see Hombale as doing “their bit towards keeping the Kannada culture intact, especially for the young generation”. “We had the dream of conveying a good social message through a medium. We chose entertainment to do so, given its strength and reach,” they say.
The first film from the banner was Ninnindale (2014) with Puneeth Rajkumar. It was one of the first Kannada films to be shot in the US for 30 days, which Kiragandur says was “unheard of in Kannada cinema”. Next year came Masterpiece starring Yash, followed by another Puneeth Rajkumar film, Raajakumara (2017), also Hombale’s first superhit. But it was with KGF: Chapter 1 in 2018 that the studio experienced success beyond Karnataka—the Hindi-dubbed version collecting Rs 48 crore.
“We always believed language is not a barrier in entertainment and we weren’t going to restrict ourselves to the Kannada-speaking market,” says the duo. Kiragandur and Gowda are acting on their words. Their 2023 slate has six titles, including Salaar, a Prashanth Neel-directed and Prabhas-starrer “event film”, which much like the KGF films will release in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam. There’s also a Tamil film with National Award-winning actress Keerthy Suresh and a Malayalam film with the acclaimed actor Fahadh Faasil. Hombale is looking to venture into Hindi film production too. “We try to finalise the script and director first,” say Kiragandur and Gowda. “Once we have the script ready, we will look for a hero.”
KGF: Chapter 1 became the first Kannada film to show that a Kannada film could appeal to audiences in the Hindi belt and make inroads into global markets. KGF: Chapter 2 was even bigger, grossing Rs 937 crore in India alone. The feat was all the more impressive given KGF was primarily a Make-in-Karnataka endeavour.
Kantara initially wasn’t seen as a nationwide success, but when word flew from Karnataka about the film’s merit, Hombale swept into action, dubbing the film in four languages—Hindi, Tamil, Telugu and Malayalam—within 10 days.
Hombale’s upcoming Kannada films include Bagheera, written by Neel and another a thriller-action titled Richard Anthony with Rakshit Shetty. All eyes are now on the film company to see what their next pan-India hit will be.
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