Why Nag Ashwin's 'Kalki 2898 AD' is more pan-Indian than the likes of 'Baahubali', 'RRR' and 'Pushpa'

'Kalki 2898AD' features star cast from various industries. Photo | Imdb

The Telugu blockbuster 'Kalki 2898 AD', which hit theatres last week, is on its way to rewriting Indian box office history. While it is being praised for its visual spectacle and mind-blowing Hollywood-style VFX, one cannot deny that the Nag Ashwin directorial has taken a step towards emerging as a true pan-India film.
Hit filmmaker S. S. Rajamouli was instrumental in redesigning the concept of pan-Indian films into what it is today, building on the foundation laid by the films of Mani Ratnam and Kamal Haasan. However, with 'Kalki', featuring 'Baahubali' star Prabhas in the lead, the concept has gained a refined and complete form. Not only have the makers marketed the film in multiple languages, but they have also brought together top actors from various industries under one banner, something that Rajamouli partly achieved with the Telugu movie 'RRR', which featured Alia Bhatt and Ajay Devgn.

Anna Ben in 'Kalki 2898AD'

The storyline, with its references to the Mahabharata, also adds to its pan-Indian appeal. Malayalam actor Anna Ben and veteran star Shobana's presence in the film has impressed Malayali fans. Though Shobana has acted in a couple of Telugu movies, her appearance in 'Kalki' came as a pleasant surprise, as her last Tollywood film was Ramprasad G's directorial 'Game' in 2006.
Anna Ben, known for her groundbreaking roles in Malayalam cinema, has made her foray into Telugu with 'Kalki', playing the peppy character Kyra, a rebel from Shambala, a secret city. The actor is winning praise for her mass, action-oriented performance in the movie. Dulquer Salmaan, who won the hearts of the Telugu audience as the romantic hero in 'Sita Ramam', plays a small yet effective cameo in 'Kalki'. Netizens are confident that he will get a bigger role in the next part, as his character Captain seems to have an important link to some of the other characters in the movie.

Amitabh Bachchan. Photo | Imdb

However, what is interesting is how well the director has used veteran Bollywood star Amitabh Bachchan in the Rs 600-crore film. Big B may not be new to Telugu films, as he has produced and acted in some in the past, including 'Sye Raa Narasimha Reddy' starring Chiranjeevi, but his towering presence as Ashwatthama in 'Kalki' was still a treat to the eyes.
Though Ulaganayakan Kamal Haasan's character—the Supreme Yaskin—gets very little screen time in the film, fans need not be disappointed, as the actor has confirmed that his character will be fleshed out in the second part. The cameos by Mrunal Thakur, Vijay Deverakonda, and Bollywood actor Disha Patani were also effective.

Shobana. Photo | Imdb

The decision to involve Bollywood star Deepika Padukone in 'Kalki', marking her foray into Tollywood with this movie, is yet another reason why it deserves its pan-Indian tag.
Even actors from Bollywood have started a discourse on 'Kalki' being a pan-Indian film. Arjun Kapoor, who shared his response after watching 'Kalki', took to X to express his thoughts about the film. “Kalki- The game changer! What a cinematic vision from Nag Ashwin. I bow down to your visual take on this epic sweeping saga that spans generations... there is only one Amitabh Bachchan, and he is awe-inspiring as Ashwatthama. Forget North, South, East, West; this is a true Pan Indian film of epic proportions," (sic) he wrote.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.