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Kanche

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Kanche
Kanche Poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Krish
Produced by Y. Rajeev Reddy
J. Sai Babu
Written by Krish
Sai Madhav Burra
(dialogues)
Starring Varun Tej
Pragya Jaiswal
Nikitin Dheer
Music by Chirantan Bhatt
Cinematography Gnana Shekar V.S.
Edited by Suraj Jagtap
Rama Krishna Arram
Production
company
Release date
  • 22 October 2015 (2015-10-22)
Running time
125 minutes[1]
Country India
Language Telugu
Budget 180 million[2]
Box office 200 million[3]

Kanche (English: The Fence) is a 2015 Indian Telugu-language war film written and directed by Krish. It features Varun Tej, Pragya Jaiswal, and Nikitin Dheer in the lead roles. Y. Rajeev Reddy and J. Sai Babu produced the film under their banner, First Frame Entertainment. Kanche revolves around the enmity between two friends—Dhupati Haribabu and Eeshwar Prasad. Haribabu and Eeshwar's sister Sitadevi graduate from the University of Madras in the late 1930s and fall in love. Due to the prevailing casteism in their native village, Eeshwar opposes their relationship and kills Sitadevi accidentally. Years later, Haribabu joins the British Indian Army as a captain to fight against the Axis Powers in World War II and Eeshwar, now a colonel, is his commanding officer.

Krish began research on the film's subject after seeing a bomb, dropped by the Imperial Japanese Army, preserved in a museum in Vishakhapatnam during the filming of Vedam (2010). He worked on the film's screenplay for nine-and-a-half months and considered it his most ambitious project. Chirantan Bhatt composed the film's soundtrack and score, marking his debut in Telugu cinema. Gnana Sekhar V.S. was the film's director of photography; Sahi Suresh was the film's art director, and Sai Madhav Burra wrote the film's dialogue. Principal photography commenced on 27 February 2015 in Hyderabad. Kanche was filmed in Tatipaka, Draksharamam, Kapotavaram, and in Peruru Agraharam near Palakollu. Major sets were erected in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. The war sequences were filmed in Georgia and the film's unit was allotted 700 guns, four tanks, and a machine gun from the Georgia Military Institute a military training school. Principal photography was wrapped up on 6 July 2015. Kanche was filmed in 55 working days, 35 of which were in Georgia.

Promoted as Telugu cinema's first World War II-based film, Kanche was released worldwide on 22 October 2015, on 700 screens, and received positive reception from critics. It grossed 200 million on a budget of 180 million, and became the 14th highest grossing Telugu film of the year. Kanche earned the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu at the 63rd National Film Awards ceremony, and the state Nandi Award for Best film on National Integration. The film was screened at the 2016 edition of All Lights India International Film Festival.

Plot

In 1936, Dhupati Haribabu and Rachakonda Sitadevi meet at the Madras Cultural Club in Madras Presidency on the latter's birthday and realise that they are studying at the same college, the University of Madras. Sitadevi is the princess of Rachakonda estate, whereas Haribabu belongs to a lower caste and is the grandson of a local barber. By the time they graduate, they have fallen in love, and leave for their native town, Devarakonda. Haribabu is introduced to Sitadevi's brother Eeshwar and they become friends.

Eeshwar, and his grandfather Pedababu, learn of Haribabu and Sitadevi's affair and instigate a fight between people of both castes. Hundreds of people from both sides die and a fence (Kanche) is erected to separate the two groups forever. While Eeshwar and Pedababu decide to marry off Sitadevi to a bridegroom of their choice, Haribabu arrives back from town and is severely injured when he is stabbed. Sitadevi looks after him secretly in her bedroom, and on the wedding day, a frustrated Haribabu marries Sitadevi, in the presence of her grandmother, and leaves. That evening, Eeshwar and Haribabu duel, and in the process Sitadevi is killed accidentally.

During World War II, as a member of the allied nations, the British Raj send over two and a half million Indian volunteer soldiers to fight under British command against the Axis powers. Haribabu joins them as a captain and Eeshwar, now a colonel, is his commanding officer. In May 1944, the Nazis attack the Indian army in the Italian Campaign, and capture them. Haribabu, his friend Dasu, and three other soldiers escape. They decide to save the captured troops and follow the Nazis. They take shelter in an Italian baker's house and his granddaughter saves them from the Nazis. She reveals that the Nazis want to kill a little girl whose parents were a German doctor and a Jew.

The Nazis find the doctor and a group of civilians, and Haribabu, along with his cohorts, rescues them. The soldiers find the captured troops in an old building and rescue them from the Nazis. When Eeshwar asks Haribabu why he saved him despite the rivalry between them, he replies that Sitadevi's love for Eeshwar made him do so. They leave with the civilians and find a German base near a river which they can use to escape.

When Haribabu formulates a plan, Eeshwar, who still hates him, points out that the plan is flawed. Haribabu reminds him that World War II commenced because of racism and he does not want to see the same bloodshed repeated here that happened in their village. The soldiers raid all the tents and find a boat in which the civilians and the other soldiers board. To divert the German army's attention, Haribabu continues to fight alone until the boat reaches safety. Severely injured, Haribabu dies with a smile, thinking of the memories of his life with Sitadevi.

Eeshwar is shocked to see Haribabu die and carries his body back to his village. He also reads the letters Haribabu had written to Sitadevi during the war and realises that humans should not be divided by caste. He reaches the village and asks Haribabu's grandfather to dig the grave. Eeshwar calls Haribabu a great human, soldier, lover, son and mainly a good friend whom he never recognised. He acknowledges that without the borderlines of caste, Haribabu would have been happy with Sitadevi and salutes him. Pedababu orders the fences' removal and the people continue to live happily.

Cast

Production

Development

During the filming of Vedam (2010) in Vishakhapatnam, Krish visited a museum which displayed a bomb dropped by the Imperial Japanese Army on the city during World War II. The bomb was used with the intention of creating a situation similar to the attack on Pearl Harbor. After further research, Krish learned that over 2.5 million Indian soldiers participated in World War II, and 2000 Telugu people from Madhavaram, West Godavari were sent to the war by the British government in India.[1] Krish worked on the film's screenplay for nine-and-a-half months, and cited the process of obtaining accurate details as the reason for the length of time it took to finish. Krish gathered most of the information using the Google search engine and two teams were employed—one in India, the other in Italy.[1] He chose to narrate a love story set in the 1930s and focused on the macro and micro divisions between people, countries, races and religions.[1]

During the production of Gabbar Is Back, Krish's collaboration with Varun Tej was reported in January 2015; Ramoji Rao was to produce the film under the banner Ushakiron Movies jointly with Krish's banner First Frame Entertainment.[4] Pragya Jaiswal, who auditioned for Gabbar Is Back, was signed as the film's female lead.[5] The film was officially launched on 27 February in Hyderabad and was titled Kanche.[6] Kanche translates to fence in English and Krish relates that the film focuses on the effects of a fence on friendship.[7] On the 75th anniversary of World War II, Krish told the Indo-Asian News Service on 1 September that Kanche is his "most ambitious project" and also the first Telugu film set in World War II.[8]

Sai Madhav Burra, who collaborated with Krish on Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum (2013), was signed to write the film's dialogues.[9] V. S. Gnanasekhar was signed as the film's director of photography, and Sahi Suresh was selected as the film's art director.[10] Because of discontinuing his studies at a young age, Suresh was not knowledgeable about World War II, and spent three to four months watching old war films and reading about the war.[11] Chirantan Bhatt, who collaborated earlier with Krish on Gabbar Is Back, was signed to compose the film's soundtrack and score. Kanche marked Bhatt's debut in Telugu cinema.[12] Rama Krishna Arram and Suraj Jagtap edited the film.[13] Kanche was produced on a budget of 180 million.[2]

Casting

Varun Tej played the role of Dhupati Haribabu, a captain in the British Indian Army. Varun Tej described the first phase of Haribabu's character as a 23-year old "college pass-out, happy-go-lucky, chilled out guy". He had to modify his diction according to the timeline and observed the dialogue delivery of actors in old Telugu films. For the second phase, Varun Tej was trained by an army officer on a soldier's body language, and the way to hold guns among other things. He watched films like Saving Private Ryan (1988), The Thin Red Line (1998), Inglourious Basterds (2009), and Fury (2014) as well.[14] He underwent training in a boot camp for more than a week, during the gap between the Indian and Georgia schedules. During the filming of the war sequences in Georgia, Varun Tej was provided with an original Thompson submachine gun, which was manufactured in 1939, and used during the actual war.[15]

Jaiswal played the role of Sitadevi, a princess whose character was modelled on Maharani Gayatri Devi of Jaipur.[16] After auditioning for the role, Jaiswal watched Krish's Vedam and Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum to understand his work and was "really touched" by the former.[17] Krish advised her not to watch any old Telugu films but try to analyse old English and Hindi films instead. Jaiswal opined that her character needed to focus "more on expressions than acting". She joined kathak classes after the film's shoot began, and no workshops were conducted for her.[16]

Nikitin Dheer was chosen to play Colonel Eeshwar Prasad in the film,[10] because Krish, who wanted an actor to match Varun Tej's persona, was impressed with his performance in Chennai Express (2013).[1] Srinivas Avasarala was cast as Dasu, Haribabu's friend and another volunteer soldier from the British Indian Army, who quotes writer Sri Sri as his friend Srinivasa Rao.[10] Avasarala was trained in the use of guns in Hyderabad and received training from an army officer along with Varun Tej on body language and other important aspects.[18]

Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and Sowcar Janaki were cast as Haribabu's grandfather and Sitadevi's grandmother respectively.[19] Filmmaker Singeetham Srinivasa Rao made a cameo appearance as a pianist in Madras Cultural Club, where Haribabu works as a part-time employee. Krish described Rao's cameo a "colourful" one and added that his look was inspired by that of Colonel Sanders, the founder of Kentucky Fried Chicken.[20] 700 people were required to form an army and the film's unit selected nearly 100 Non-resident Indians apart from the local people. They were given formal training before they went on the film's sets.[18]

Filming

It was like a proper military camp that we were living in. There were tents on the location and we pretty much lived there. Georgia has sunsets at 9 pm and we used to begin shooting in the morning 6 am and wrap up only after the sunset. There were 400-500 people on the sets on an average day.
Varun Tej on film's shoot in Georgia with The Times of India[15]

Principal photography commenced on 27 February 2015 at Hyderabad.[21] The second schedule commenced on 23 March at Tatipaka, a village near Razole in East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh.[22] Apart from Draksharamam and Kapotavaram, the village portions were filmed in Peruru Agraharam, Palakollu as Krish wanted a primitive settlement with poor infrastructure and palaces, resembling one of the pre-independence era. The film's crew then put up flower and fruit markets, and purchased antiques from a flea market.[1] The local people extended their support to the film's crew in return for the laying down of proper roads.[10] In other villages where there was better infrastructure, Suresh and his crew spoke to village heads and covered most of the roads with sand and mud. The houses were whitewashed for the film's shoot and were restored with their previous colours later.[11]

As all the houses in those villages were constructed using reinforced concrete, a team of 70 members were summoned from Hyderabad to recreate 1940s style. According to Suresh, the "nativity feel came alive" due to the presence of coconut trees.[11] The steam engine and the interiors of the first class compartments in the train Haribabu and Sitadevi travel in from Madras to Devarakonda were designed in Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. Suresh's experience working as an art director on Venkatadri Express (2013) helped him.[11] The construction of the palace where Sitadevi lives took four to five days to complete at a cost of 4 million.[11] The war sequences were filmed in Georgia. The film's crew finalised 20 locations and the filming of the war sequences lasted for 35 days.[18]

Few key sequences were filmed at the Ananuri Bridge (pictured) in Tbilisi, Georgia.[18]

With the assistance of the Government of Georgia, huge sets were erected, including a German military base camp fitted with trenches and bunkers.[1] For the film's shoot, Krish hired a few telegraph machines, typewriters, and coffee cups and saucers manufactured during the timeline of the World War II.[18] Some key action sequences were filmed in a few old, dilapidated buildings located near Georgia and Varun Tej performed his stunts without a body double. A few sequences were filmed at the Ananuri Bridge in Tbilisi, Georgia.[18]

700 guns, four tanks, and a machine gun used in the war were allotted from the Georgia Military Institute military school. The Georgian Armed Forces trained the film's unit to use these weapons properly. The rent for each tank was 5000 dollars per day, and another tank was designed by Suresh and his crew.[18] Thousands of bullets were used every day and 15 people were employed to load the guns. On the last day of the filming of the climax episode, Varun Tej used more than 7000 bullets. For filming few bomb-blast sequences, the film's unit consulted several Hollywood technicians.[18] Principal photography was wrapped up on 6 July,[23] after a shoot of 55 working days.[2]

Music

We tried to approach the battle scenes like the way Hollywood would. Some of these war scenes were like nine-minutes long. There’d be a few minutes of lull followed by some aggressive fighting, so we had to constantly innovate with the music to keep the interest level intact.
Chirantan Bhatt on film's re-recording with Indo-Asian News Service[12]
Kanche
Soundtrack album to Kanche by Chirantan Bhatt
Released 17 September 2015 (2015-09-17)
Recorded 2015
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Length 28:07
Language Telugu
Label Aditya Music
Producer Chirantan Bhatt
Chirantan Bhatt chronology
Gabbar is Back
(2015)Gabbar is Back2015
Kanche
(2015)

The official soundtrack of Kanche composed by Chirantan Bhatt consists of six songs, including instrumental theme music. The lyrics for the remaining five songs were penned by Sirivennela Sitaramasastri.[24] Kanche marked Bhatt's debut in South Indian cinema. Krish worked with Bhatt on Gabbar Is Back and asked him to compose a song for Kanche. Impressed with it, Krish signed him as the film's music director. Bhatt found Kanche to be "an intense and emotional story" and ensured that the music was not generic and in sync with the film's scale.[25]

Krish also provided a few references to the works of Ilaiyaraaja and M. M. Keeravani to Bhatt during the composing sessions. Bhatt used tabla tarang (an Indian melodic percussion instrument consisting of more than ten drums) and sarod (an Indian lute-like stringed instrument) predominantly in the instrumentation as he felt that the songs had to: "depict a lot of mood and emotions".[12] The song "Nijamenani Nammani" was composed using Charukesi raga and Nandini Srikar, who provided the additional vocals along with Shreya Ghoshal who was not listed in the album's credits.[26] Abhay Jodhpurkar initially provided the vocals for the raw cut of the song "Itu Itu Ani Chitikelu Evvarivo", which was recorded in two hours at his friend's studio. Bhatt found his voice apt and retained it in the final version without any further improvements.[27] The songs "Itu Itu Ani Chitikelu Evvarivo", and "Bhaga Bhagamani" were composed using the Natabhairavi, and Kamavardani ragas; Bhatt used both Charukesi and Kamavardani ragas for "Raa Mundadugeddam".[28]

After releasing a teaser of the song "Nijamenani Nammani" on YouTube, Varun Tej released the song "Itu Itu Ani Chitikelu Evvarivo" sung by Jodhpurkar and Ghoshal at the Radiocity FM station in Hyderabad on the eve of Ganesh Chaturthi (17 September 2015). The soundtrack, marketed by Aditya Music, was released at a promotional event on the same day at Hyderabad with actor Ram Charan in attendance as the guest of honour.[29]

Karthik Srinivasan of The Hindu called "Nijamenani Nammani" the soundtrack's best song and praised the renditions by Ghoshal and Srikar.[26] The Times of India gave the soundtrack 3.5 stars out of 5 and opined that the themed style of the soundtrack is a: "delightful change from the song and dance routine seen these days".[30] Behindwoods gave the soundtrack 3.25 stars out of 5 and called it a: "musical and lyrical feast for the ears".[28]

Track listing[24]

All lyrics written by Sirivennela Sitaramasastri.

No. Title Artist(s) Length
1. "Itu Itu Ani Chitikelu Evvarivo" Abhay Jodhpurkar, Shreya Ghoshal 5:11
2. "Ooru Erayyindi Eru Horettindi" Shankar Mahadevan 5:11
3. "Nijamenani Nammani" Shreya Ghoshal 4:48
4. "Bhaga Bhagamani" Vijay Prakash 3:00
5. "Raa Mundadugeddam" Vijay Prakash, Keerthi Sagathia 6:49
6. "Love Is War" Chirantan Bhatt 3:08
Total length: 28:07

Release and reception

Kanche was initially scheduled for a worldwide release on 2 October 2015.[31] The film's release was postponed to 6 November to avoid clashing with the releases of Puli and Singh Is Bliing.[32] Due to a delay in post-production activities, Akhil: The Power of Jua, which was initially scheduled for a worldwide release on 22 October, was postponed and Kanche was confirmed for release on 22 October during the Vijayadasami festival season.[33] Kanche was released at 400 screens across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, and at 150 screens in rest of India.[34] Though 80 screens were booked initially in the overseas market for the film's release,[35] the screen count was later increased to 150, of which 130 screens were in the United States.[34]

Critical reception

Kanche received positive reviews from the critics.[36] Sangeetha Devi Dundoo of The Hindu remarked that Kanche is a film that does not stand out "merely by being different, but also because it’s earnest", and added that Krish "Step[s] across the fence to a new world of storytelling".[37] Praising Krish's choice of genre, Suresh Kavirayani of the Deccan Chronicle gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5, stating, "If you are looking for a change from the regular action-masala-song-dance-drama kind of films, you should watch Kanche". Kavirayani added: "The war scenes look authentic. Credit to cinematographer Gnana Sekar V.S for capturing the war scenes. Kanche is no less than any Hollywood film as far as the war scenes are concerned".[38] Rajeswari Kalyanam of The Hans India also gave the film 3.5 stars out of 5 and stated: "With Kanche, Jagarlamudi Krish has once again proven his ability to choose an offbeat theme, weave an engrossing tale and give it a technically brilliant cinematic rendition".[19]

Pranita Jonnalagedda of The Times of India gave Kanche 3 stars out of 5 and stated: "Kanche is a daring attempt for mainstream [Telugu cinema]. While there's an interesting story which is told really well, you will be left with the lingering feeling that it could have been a lot better".[39] Sify too gave Kanche 3 stars out of 5 and called it a film that is "[s]uitable only for discerning audiences" and praised the storyline, performances, production design, and dialogues.[40] Behindwoods gave the film 3 stars out of 5 as well and called it a "commendable attempt" and added:

You don’t get to see too many Indian films being made on war, especially South Indian industry hasn’t made many.(sic) Even the ones that have been made have not made a huge impact, especially with it comes to battle scenes. But that is where Kanche scores big time. The war sequence looks authoritative and intriguing. It travels throughout and the intensity has been maintained right through".[13]

Box office

Kanche grossed approximately 55 million and collected a distributor share of 38.5 million globally, thereby performing better than Raju Gari Gadhi and Columbus.[34] According to trade analyst Taran Adarsh, Kanche earned US$53,057 from its paid previews; it amassed US$46,751 on its first day and US$92,998 on its second day, taking its two-day United States box office total to US$192,806 (12.5 million).[41] The first weekend global box office gross and distributor share figures stood at approximately 130 million and 70 million respectively.[42]

In its first weekend at the United States box office, Kanche collected US$380,361 (24.7 million). It earned US$6,826 (0.443 million) from two screens in Canada and MYR15,921 (0.243 million) from 2 screens at the Malaysian box office in its opening weekend, thereby managing to recover 100% of the overseas distributors' investments.[43] In ten days, Kanche collected US$489,701 (32.1 million) at the United States box office, US$9,261 (0.607 million) at the Canada box office, and MYR19,316 (0.295 million) at the Malaysian box office respectively, taking its ten-day overseas box office total to US$503,461 (33 million).[44]

Kanche earned US$522,325 (34.7 million) in 17 days at the United States box office.[45] After losing many screens due to new releases in the United States, Kanche's 31-day total stood at US$527,724 (35 million).[46] In its lifetime run, Kanche grossed 200 million globally, with a distributor share of 140 million, and was declared a commercial success and also the 14th highest grossing Telugu film of the year.[3]

Accolades

Kanche earned the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu at the 63rd National Film Awards ceremony.[47] Kanche earned the state Nandi Award for Best film on National Integration, and was screened at the 2016 edition of All Lights India International Film Festival in the "Indywood Panorama" section.[48]

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External links

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