'Kabzaa' is this year's newest pan-India film. Here is our review of the movie originally made by Sandalwood technicians and artists.
The film is set in the early decades of Independent India, roughly in the 1970s. Arka (Upendra) is a trainee pilot who is in love with aristocrat Veer Bahadur’s daughter Madhumathi (Shriya Saran). When his brother Sankeswaran is beheaded by a powerful gangster, it falls on Arka to take up the cudgels. In the process, he becomes a dreaded gangster himself. Can the system and his chief rival tame him?
This reviewer suspects that 'Kabzaa' was made after the director of the film stumbled across wasted footage of 'KGF'. Or, to put it somewhat charitably, the director had access to a word document in which scenes discussed and rejected during the scripting of 'KGF' were stored. He built a story based on those abandoned scenes. 'Kabzaa' was not written after conceiving the premise, the lead character, so on and so forth. Everything in 'Kabzaa' exists because 'KGF' exists. There is no other way to put it.
There are gang wars that feel like they have been staged by unpaid apprentices who worked on 'KGF'. The narrative style is entirely and lifelessly borrowed from 'KGF'. The exception is that Upendra is truly terrible. Shakalaka Shankar made a movie behaving as if he is some Pawan Kalyan. Upendra, who became popular among the Telugu audience in the late 1990s by making some really overrated and slightly perverted movies, should have at least imitated Yash to redeem himself in the eyes of KGF's fans. That would have fetched him more respect than standing in front of the camera with one-and-a-half expressions for 136 minutes. With his lacklustre body language, he looks demotivated.
The love story between Arka and Madhumathi is epic - compared to the third-rate aesthetics and senseless action.
As a gangster action drama, this one is exaggerated at every turn. Characters here turn into gangsters to exact revenge and are shown to become frightening monsters in no time. The whole system is helpless against them. They remind us of Vivek Oberoi from 'Vinaya Vidheya Rama' at worst. The audience is expected to appreciate this excessive, larger-than-life setting because 'KGF' and 'KGF 2' were made by Prashanth Neel. It is as if the producers of 'Kabzaa' said this to themselves: "If Rocky Bhai could rock it, Arka can crack it too." They recruited the same composer (Ravi Basrur) who did 'KGF'.
'Kabzaa' is an insufferable period action drama that feels like leftover footage of 'KGF'. There is going to be 'Kabzaa 2', but we feel 'KGF 3' has to be made first. Otherwise, where will they get ideas from?