Banner: Anand Pandit Motion Pictures
Cast: Upendra, Shriya, Murali Sharma, Shiva Rajkumar, Kichha Sudeep, Nawab Shah, Tanya Hope and others
Music: Ravi Basrur
DOP: A.J. Shetty
Editor: Mahesh S Reddy
Producer: Anand Pandit, R Chandru, Alankar Pandian
Written and Directed by: R Chandru
Release Date: March 17, 2023
Following the massive success of the "KGF" franchise, the Kannada film industry has consistently produced pan-Indian action dramas. "Kabzaa" is the latest one that has sparked interest.
After his brother is murdered by the notorious gangster Khaleed, Arakeshwara aka Arka (played by Upendra), an air force pilot, ascends to the position of don of Amarapura. After killing Khaleed, Arakeshwara takes over Amarapura.
Later, two more dons and a cop show up to finish off Arakeshwara, but they meet the same fate as Khaleed.
Meanwhile, Arka marries his childhood sweetheart Madhumati (played by Shriya), who is a descendant of a royal family. However, her father Bahadur (played by Murali Sharma) does not approve of their marriage. Later, it becomes clear that Bahadur had been plotting Arka's death.
When Bahadur abducts his daughter Madumati and her children, the Indian government dispatches police to kill Arka. The question is, what will Arka do?
Upendra, who has been in a lot of fantastic movies, seems miscast in this chaotic and pointless drama. His performance is clichéd. All the other actors have the same exaggerated features and dated dialogues that he does. The antagonists are satirical caricatures.
Murali Sharma, playing a member of the royal family, is another actor who fails to impress. To play Upendra's mother, Sudha goes completely over the top.
Shriya looks straight out of 1960’s movies. Tanya Hope’s item song adds no value. Both Kichcha Sudeep and Shivarajkumar, superstars of the Kannada film industry, make cameo appearances.
The background score, composed by Ravi Basrur of "KGF" fame, features loud noises. The cinematography and production design are both solid (albeit mostly a rip-off of "KGF"). Ludicrous dialogue
No rhyme and logic
High decibel sound
"Kabzaa" tries to imitate the blockbuster "KGF" from start to finish, but in the process, it becomes a laughingstock. The setting of Prashanth Neel's "KGF" provides a solid foundation for the story, while "Kabzaa" takes place in the fictional city of Amarapura in the 1970s.
As in "KGF," the protagonist becomes a formidable don, and mafia leaders from other cities vow to kill him. In "KGF," an Indira Gandhi-inspired Prime Minister gives the protagonist Rocky Bhai the order to kill him.
Here, a minister named Pandit orders his assassination and dispatches a police force armed with cannons. Despite the film being set in 1975, the police force comes out with the firangis (cannon guns), which seems ridiculous.
Every ten minutes or so, we see Upendra becoming the target of some don, and of course, he finishes them off, usually by beheading them. When he isn't smoking cigars and doing slow-mo stunts, he walks around with the beheaded men's heads or weapons in his hands. Those who come out to kill him are all killed within minutes, and this farce continues on and on.
In addition, there's a voice-over in the story that tells us this and that, and music composer Ravi Basrur provides high-decibel background music. At one point, Upendra declares that he prefers silence to sound, and the audience shares this sentiment. The eardrum-shattering noises cause a headache.
And the story doesn't end there. With the arrival of veteran Kannada superstar Shivarajkumar on the scene, "Kabzaa 2" is announced. Overall, "Kabzaa" turns out to be a pointless exercise and a mess in trying to be another "KGF."
Bottom line: Close Your Ears