Kanchana 4 to go on floors: Taking a look at Raghava Lawrence's tryst with horror-comedies - Hindustan Times
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Kanchana 4 to go on floors: Taking a look at Raghava Lawrence's tryst with horror-comedies

ByAalokitaa Basu
Jun 06, 2024 07:09 PM IST

Raghava Lawrence will be returning to direction with Kanchana 4. The franchise revisit adds another chapter to his long-spanning romance with horror-comedies

Raghava Lawrence's footprint in cinema since the inception of his career, has spanned a wide portfolio of roles. Having begun as a dance choreographer, he soon paved a path for himself in front of the camera. After achieving a palpable stronghold over the audience as an actor, Raghava then proceeded to don the director's hat. Kanchana 4 not only marks his return to the director's seat but also to the horror-comedy genre, with which the actor shares quite the history.

Raghava Lawrence is set to return with Kanchana 4
Raghava Lawrence is set to return with Kanchana 4

The year 2007 proved to be a watershed moment in Raghava's career as he chanced upon what would grow to become his quintessential niche in the industry. Not only did Raghava direct Tamil language horror-comedy film Muni, but also penned the script for it. Incidentally, this is a pattern the multi-faceted personality has followed for all his directorial ventures, spanning 9 titles as of today. The premise of the film follows a young man who gets possessed by the spirit of a kind-hearted person, killed as a result of political crossfire.

A still from Raghava Lawrence's Muni
A still from Raghava Lawrence's Muni

On its release, Muni received a lukewarm response with many critics pointing out how the comic elements in the film evidently overpowered the elements of horror. Muni did not really live up to its potential. However, it has achieved a bit of a cult status for fans of the actor, considering the fact that it lay down the foundation for Raghava's keynote franchise, Kanchana.

The official poster for Raghava Lawrence's Kanchana
The official poster for Raghava Lawrence's Kanchana

The first installment of the franchise, simply titled Kanchana (2011) was mounted by Raghava as a spiritual sequel to Muni, 4 years after the latter's release. Still new to direction, the interim period saw Raghava try his hand at helming a Telugu action flick, Don (2007), notably starring Nagarjuna. This stint evidently refined his skills as a director. Right off the bat, Muni and Kanchana carried multiple common themes among them such as phasmophobia, possession and redemption-ridden climaxes.

Kanchana however, was a cut above Muni, owing to the stronger punch of horror it carried, tied in well with an appreciable dose of emotions and drama. More specifically, the sensitive treatment of the themes of transphobia and autism is what presumably helped Kanchana find favour among the audience.

The official poster for Kanchana: Muni 2
The official poster for Kanchana: Muni 2

Not only did Kanchana mint profits manifold times its humble budget, but also spawned two more franchise installments, now soon to be complimented with a third. Raghava's faith in the Kanchana franchise is evident from the fact that it is the only set of films the actor-director has turned producer for. Kanchana 2 (2015) saw Raghava essay a dual role as he directed a star-studded cast comprising of names such as Taapsee Pannu, Nithya Menen and Jayaprakash.

Raghava Lawrence and Taapsee Pannu in a still from Kanchana 2
Raghava Lawrence and Taapsee Pannu in a still from Kanchana 2

Though Kanchana 2 ranked lower in terms of sensitivity when compared to the original movie, there appeared to be a general consensus among critics over Raghava Lawrence having delivered well on the brand of the franchise. Kanchana 3 (2019) dipped further when it came to living up to an engaging plot. However, the franchise's goodwill carried the film through to a fairly strong box office performance.

Raghava Lawrence and Oviya in a still from Kanchana 3
Raghava Lawrence and Oviya in a still from Kanchana 3

Away from the legacy of Kanchana, Raghava's most recent revisit to the horror-comedy genre was the Kangana Ranaut starrer Chandramukhi 2. Despite the movie being intensely promoted, it still emerged as a commercial failure.

Raghava Lawrence's character poster from Chandramukhi 2
Raghava Lawrence's character poster from Chandramukhi 2

It remains to be seen if Kanchana 4 will manage to revive the franchise holistically.

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