My Year of Prakash Raj

Some people spend a year
cooking Julia Child's recipes, or following all of the rules in the Bible, or reading books by people who spent a year doing something. My quest is to watch the 200-some films of South Indian character-actor-extraordinaire, Prakash Raj. (It'll probably take more than a year... and I'll post about some Prakash-less films here as well.)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Prakash Raj is Like Salsa

After I'd seen 10-plus films with Prakash Raj, it became clear that his presence always seemed to improve the experience of watching the film.  He always added a little something extra--he spiced things up--and it occurred to me:
(Note: I imagine that a more culturally appropriate analogy is probably Prakash Raj = Indian Pickle/uppinakaayi/pachchadi/oorugai/achar, but I've mostly lived in the salsa-eating regions, so salsa it is!)

Salsa makes great food taste even better.  What would make home-made tamales more delicious? Tomatillo salsa!
Prakash Raj makes a good or great movie even better.  Pokiri is, in my opinion, a nearly perfect film. It's got a great hero entrance, fantastic fights, and one creepy, corrupt cop (played by Ashish Vidyarthi)--but in the second half, things really get rolling with the arrival of the true force of evil, Ali Bhai.

Salsa makes so-so food taste better. Back in college, a favorite late-night snack was the always reliable cheese quesadilla. Slightly stale tortillas and industrial cheese were made palatable with the addition of good old Pace Picante. Did you overcook the eggs? Salsa can help with that.
Prakash Raj makes a so-so movie better.  Wanted (the Hindi remake of Pokiri) is a polarizing film. But I think that even the non-fans who make it past the interval would agree that Ali Bhai's theatrics (especially his scenes when he's in custody) are pretty entertaining.

Salsa is great on its own.  Chips are delicious, but mostly as a delivery mechanism for fresh salsa.
Prakash Raj is great on his own. Kanchivaram is the rare Indian film that really shows the arc of a character across time, and Prakash Raj does an amazing job of realizing Vengadam's humor, pride, and tragedy.

A little salsa can go a long way. It just takes a few drops of Cholula salsa to make eggs (or Bloody Marys) perfect.
A little Prakash Raj can go a long way. In Mass he's the sleezy lawyer to Rahul Dev's baddie.  He's only onscreen for three minutes, but in that scene he hatches the plan that nearly destroys the hero (spoiler alert: Nagarjuna wins in the end!)

Salsa is great is unexpected ways.  I give you the paleta de pico de gallo, a Mexican popsicle made of chopped mangoes, cucumbers, and chiles. Sweet, spicy, frozen salsa on stick.

 Prakash Raj is great is unexpected ways. In Mozhi, Prakash Raj busts a move!

With Prithviraj! On the beach! In the sugarcane!

And again!

Check out the Jack Sparrow costumes at 1:10, and there's saxophone playing at 2:50!


  1. Yes I like my Prakash spicy! Great post. I too think he is the spice that adds flavor to alot of the movies he is in.

  2. *love*
    Salsa's also great at parties. Now if only Prakash would show up for the next one I threw...

  3. this is totally my new favourite blog. if only because it brought the joy of Prakash Raj busting a move into my life :)

  4. ROFL! Love it! Especially the part where he makes a mediocre product worth it. There are quite a few movies in that category for me (but I still refuse to watch Wanted, and not even PR can make me) :)

    Dying to see what you'll come up with next! This is going to be so much fun! :D

  5. Great analogy!! (Metaphor?) Great Something!!

    Nice post :D