James (2022 film)
|Directed by||Chethan Kumar|
|Written by||Chethan Kumar|
|Produced by||Kishore Pathikonda|
|Cinematography||Swamy J. Gowda|
|Edited by||Deepu S. Kumar|
|Box office||₹150.7 crore|
James is a 2022 Indian Kannada-language action thriller film written and directed by Chethan Kumar. It stars Puneeth Rajkumar and Priya Anand. This is Puneeth's posthumous appearance following his death on 29 October 2021. The film marked the second collaboration between Puneeth, Priya and Sarathkumar after Raajakumara (2017). The film score and soundtrack are composed by V. Harikrishna and Charan Raj, respectively.
The movie had a theatrical release on 17 March 2022 on the occasion of Puneeth Rajkumar's birthday. The film was considered it as a fitting tribute to Puneeth Rajkumar by the audience. and became a blockbuster at the box office and broke the record for the biggest opening day collections for any Kannada film by grossing around ₹28 crore  to ₹32 crore on the first day. The film grossed ₹100 crores within 4 days of release  and became the second highest-grossing Kannada film at the time of release whilst also becoming the fastest Kannada film to gross ₹100 crores at the box office at that time only to be surpassed by K.G.F: Chapter 2 in less than a month.
The crime syndicate which is operating in Bangalore is divided into three groups namely Golden Horse syndicate owned by Joseph Anthony who is operating from Miami, Scorpion syndicate owned by Rathanlal is operating from West Bengal and Gayakwad Syndicate owned by Jayadev Gayakwad and his son Vijay Gayakwad are operating in Bangalore.
Vijay Gayakwad is embroiled into a life-threatening situation when Jayadev is murdered by unknown assailants sent by Joseph, when Joseph learns from an informer that Vijay was the one who killed his brothers John, Peter, Robin and sent his son Vicky into a coma. After realizing that his family is also in danger, Vijay appoints Santhosh Kumar, who is the manager in J-Wings security agency, as his bodyguard due to his skills and tactics in handling his assignments. Santhosh helps Vijay in his business dealings, while also having Rathanlal killed, when he tries to conquer the Gayakwad Syndicate. Vijay then requests Santhosh to protect his sister Nisha Gayakwad, who has returned to India after completing her medical studies from Singapore. After an attack, Santhosh and Nisha escape to a village in Madikeri, where Nisha falls in love with Santhosh. She requests Vijay to accept their relationship, Vijay reluctantly accepts.
At the party, Vijay announces his decision to handover his business dealings to Nisha, Vijay also introduces Santhosh. At this point of time, Santhosh asks Vijay whether he fears anything in his life, only to start a shootout where he kills his other bodyguards and reveals that he was the one who had Jayadev assassinated so that Vijay could hire him. At the same time, Joseph's hitmen barge into the party and are shocked to find Santhosh, who they recognize as JAMES, their nemesis who was presumed dead. One of them informs this to Joseph, before getting beheaded by Santhosh. Joseph learns that the informer had lied regarding Vijay about his brother's death and kills him (as the informer wants to seek vengeance on Joseph for killing his friends earlier). Santhosh brings Vijay and Nisha to the security agency's interrogation room. When Nisha insults Santhosh, Santhosh's colleague Rakesh Kumar Pirangi reveals Santhosh's past to Nisha.
10 months ago, Santhosh was an Indian Army Major in Kashmir, who arrived to Pondicherry with Pirangi for his IAS officer friend, Ekanth's wedding and meets their friends Jagan, Amar, Madan, who are also working in various Government departments. Two days before the wedding, Jagan reveals to Santhosh that when he took charge as NCB officer, he had arrested John, Robin and Peter for smuggling, led by the Golden Horse Syndicate. Santhosh also reveals that Golden Horse was also operating in Kashmir when they were in a mission to rescue their colonel from terrorists. It is revealed that John, Peter and Robin were actually associated with Gayakwad Syndicate for the operation. During Ekanth's wedding in Pondicherry, Under Vijay and Joseph's advice, Joseph's brothers barge in and kill everyone present at the wedding. Santhosh, who survives due to Rakesh's help, leaves for Miami as JAMES. JAMES drags Robin from his birthday party and kills him. Later, he tracks Peter at his Miami island where he decapitates him and lures John into his drug lab and brutually finishes him. After which he returns to India by faking his death and is detained by his higher officer where Santhosh seeks his higher official's approval to destroy the syndicates, to which they agree and their secret mission - MISSION NORC is launched where he arrives at Bangalore and started planning to bring down the syndicate with the help of his squad officers by opening J-Wings agency.
In the present, Vijay, with Joseph's help escape from the agency. Santhosh, with Nisha's help lures Joseph, Vijay and his gang into Sangihe Islands where the squad officers arrest the syndicate members. The film ends with Santhosh saluting the Indian flag with the satisfaction of having accomplished his friend's mission.
- Puneeth Rajkumar as Santhosh Kumar/James (voiceover by Shiva Rajkumar)
- Priya Anand as Nisha Gayakwad
- Anu Prabhakar as Vijay Gayakwad's wife
- Srikanth as Vijay Gayakwad
- R. Sarathkumar as Joseph Antony
- Madhusudhan Rao as Jayadev Gakaywad, Vijay Gayakwad's father
- Mukesh Rishi as Rathanlal, supporter of Joseph Antony
- Aditya Menon as Prathap Aras, associate of Vijay Gayakwad
- Rangayana Raghu as Rakesh Kumar Pirangi, Santhosh's colleague
- Avinash as Higher army officer of Santosh
- Sadhu Kokila as Santhosh's assistant
- Tilak Shekar as Jagan, ATS officer
- Gajapade Harsha as ACP Amar,
- Chikkanna as Madan, chief editor of Janadani newspaper
- Shine Shetty as Ekanth, IAS officer
- Suchendra Prasad as Jessie's father
- Padmaja Rao as Mary, Jessie's mother
- Ketan Karande as gang member of Joseph Antony's mafia syndicate
- Mohan Juneja as a rich person in hospital
- Girish as a fake rich person
- Prasanna Baagin as Rathanlal's son
- Vajragiri as Rathanlal's son
- John Kokken as John, Joseph's brother
- Taarak Ponnappa as Peter, Joseph's brother
- Yash Shetty as Robin, Joseph's brother
- Vajrang Shetty as Prathap Aras' Son
- Kavya Shastry as Jagan's wife
- Hamsa as Amar's wife
- Nayana Gowda as Madan's wife
- Sameeksha as Jessie , Ekanth's fiancee
- Shivamani as Joseph's associate
- Anil as Vijay Gaikwad's associate
- Krishna Hebbale as a police offficer
- K S Shreedhar as orphanage head
- Amit as Santhosh's associate in the agency
- Baby Aradhya Chandra as Amar's daughter
- Master Anoop as Jagan's son
- Govindegowda as marriage broker
- Swapna as Dechamma
- Sillilalli Anand as the guy at ashram
- All Ok as the rich kid at the bar
- Dattanna as Chowdhury (cameo)
- Shiva Rajkumar in a cameo appearance as Anandraj , a soldier
- Raghavendra Rajkumar in a cameo appearance as Santhosh's orphanage head
Prior to his demise, Puneeth had finished most part of the shoot except one song and voice dubbing. The movie team tried it's best to retain Puneeth's voice captured during shoot but when it seemed difficult, Shiva Rajkumar, the eldest brother of Puneeth, dubbed for his brother's character in the Kannada version.
Priya Anand was signed for the female lead role. The makers also announced that Srikanth, Hareesh Peradi, Mukesh Rishi and Anu Prabhakar would be seen in prominent roles. In 2021, R. Sarathkumar, Tilak Shekar, Shine Shetty, Chikkanna joined the film's cast.
The film is produced by Kishore Pathikonda under the banner Kishore Productions. The first schedule of the shoot started from 19 January 2020 in Bengaluru. The second schedule of the film started from 14 October 2020 in Hampi. A quick schedule was also wrapped in February 2021 in Kashmir featuring important action sequences of Puneeth Rajkumar. After returning from Kashmir, Puneeth became busy in the promotional activities of his other film, Yuvarathnaa which released on 1 April amidst the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The James team resumed shoot once again from 5 July at a brisk pace after the Government of Karnataka gave nod to restart filming activities.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Charan Raj chronology|
|Singles from James|
|1.||"Bolo Bolo James"||Chethan Kumar||Chandan Shetty, Shashank Sheshagiri, Impana Jayaraj, Vijeth Krishna||1:59|
|2.||"Trademark"||Chethan Kumar||MC Vickey, Aditi Sagar, Chandan Shetty, Sharmila, Yuva Rajkumar||3:59|
|3.||"Salaam Soldier"||Chethan Kumar||Sanjith Hegde, Charan Raj||3:16|
|4.||"Dhikkara Ninage Devare"||Chethan Kumar||Charan Raj||3:33|
The film released in theatres on 17 March 2022 in Kannada alongside dubbed versions in Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil, and Telugu. It released in 4000 screens on the first day including 400 single screen theaters in Karnataka alone  and 900 shows in multiplexes  making it the biggest release at that time in Karnataka. The Telugu film RRR had postponed its release by one week due to release of this film.
On 18 April 2022, Chethan Kumar announced that a Hyderabad-based team was able to recreate Puneeth's voice using Shivrajkumar's modulation and Puneeth's voice samples from his previous films and hosting endeavors. Kumar announced that consequently James will be re-released in theaters with the new voice on 22 April 2022.
The movie was estimated to have grossed ₹27 to ₹30 crores on its first day which was the highest opening day domestic box office collections for a Kannada film at that time. It was reported to have grossed ₹6 crores from Bengaluru alone - marking it the first time a movie has grossed above ₹4 crores in the city on its opening day. The net collections at the end of the first day was reported to be around ₹18 crores  to ₹22.5 crores.
It was reported to have grossed ₹10 crores on the second day  with the total gross around ₹37 crores to ₹45 crores in 2 days. It was speculated that the gross theatrical collections for 3 days to be around ₹54 crores to ₹57 crores with a net collections of ₹38 crores for the same period. The net collections for 4 days was reported to be around ₹50 crores. Multiple media outlets reported that the movie had grossed ₹100 crores within 4 days based on the official announcement by the makers on the twitter page of the movie. The movie grossed more than ₹125 crores at the box office within 6 days of its release. The theatrical collections of the movie crossed ₹150 crores in 13 days.
The film received positive reviews from critics and audience. It was praised for its visuals, stylish execution, production values, action sequences, background score and cast performances.
Times Of India gave the movie 4/5 rating and praised the movie for its stylish presentation. Deccan Herald praised the movie for its high octane slick action sequences. Firstpost said the movie is "impressively shot and edited" and praised the production values and noted that the sets are "classy and pristine". The News Minute praised the "visual effects and smart camera angles". India Today gave the film a rating of 3/5 and praised Puneeth's performance "from enacting emotional sequences to nailing difficult dance steps ". The Hans India noted that gave a rating of 2.5/5 "Director Chetan Kumar has done a passable job with the film. Though he chooses a routine story, he packed it with good mass elements and showcased Puneeth Raj Kumar in the best way possible. Music by Charan Raj is very good but his BGM was even more effective. The production values are top-notch and the rich visuals impress. The action part needs a special mention as all the fights are done superbly". The Indian Express noted that "one cannot escape the strong sense of melancholy that comes with the knowledge of the fact that it will be the last time one would see Puneeth on-screen".
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- "Yash's KGF Chapter 2 grosses Rs 134.5 crore on its opening day, off to a phenomenal start".
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- "ಪುನೀತ್ ನಟನೆಯ 'ಜೇಮ್ಸ್' ಮೂರು ದಿನಕ್ಕೆ ಗಳಿಸಿದ್ದೆಷ್ಟು? ಇಲ್ಲಿದೆ ಸಂಪೂರ್ಣ ರಿಪೋರ್ಟ್". 20 March 2022.
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- James [@JamesTheMovie1] (21 March 2022). "88 ವರ್ಷದ ಕನ್ನಡ ಚಿತ್ರರಂಗದ ಎಲ್ಲಾ ದಾಖಲೆಗಳನ್ನು ಮುರಿದು ಹೊಸ ಇತಿಹಾಸ ಬರೆದ ಜೇಮ್ಸ್.! @PuneethRajkumar @BahaddurChethan @PRKAudio #KishorePathikonda #PuneethRajkumar #BoloBoloJames #JamesDarbaar #James100crClub t.co/328jswh2hY" (Tweet) (in Kannada). Archived from the original on 22 March 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2022 – via Twitter.
- S Shyam Prasad [@ShyamSPrasad] (21 March 2022). "#James makes official announcement on Rs.100 Crore milestone. @JamesTheMovie1 becomes the fastest ever in the history of Kannada film industry to reach the mark. #PuneethRajkumarLivesOn @BahaddurChethan @PRKAudio #James100crClub t.co/Da19Rkncmb" (Tweet). Archived from the original on 21 March 2022. Retrieved 27 March 2022 – via Twitter.
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