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.)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Round-up for August 2011

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (August, 2011): 3
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of August 31, 2011): 112
Mrugaraju, Choodalani Vundi, Mirapakaay
August was light on film-watching, but big on film-blogging, with the Nag Panchami Film Fessssstival. For Chiranjeevi Megabirthday Celebration at Cinema Chaat, I finished watching all of  Prakash Raj's films with Chiranjeevi, and I also caught the recent release Mirapakaay.

Mrugaraju (Telugu, 2001)
Wearing a costume later used in "Kilmanjaro" and "Chulbuli."
Date Watched: 8/17/11
Role type: Prakash Pal
The story: Big game hunter Raju (Chiranjeevi) and engineer Aishwarya (Simran) build a railroad bridge, deal with a man-eating lion, and rekindle the flames of their thwarted romance.
Thoughts on the film: Imagine The Ghost and the Darkness retooled as a Telugu-masala flick, with Chiranjeevi playing the Michael Douglas role, and Simran in the Val Kilmer role, throw in some wacky natives, and you have Mrugaraju. If there is a version of this film with subtitles, I was not able to find it. For me, at least, the OTT action and straightforward plot rendered subtitles pretty superfluous (except maybe in figuring out the key misunderstanding between Raju and Aishwarya.)

Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: When I first started watching South Indian films, there would often be this exciting moment when Prakash Raj appeared, often times as a complete surprise. However, since I started this blog, I've generally selected the film because it has Prakash Raj, and I'm keeping my eyes peeled for him to show up. I was almost to the end of Mrugaraju when I thought "wait, where's Prakash Raj?" and then I realized that I'd been watching him in this outlandish comedy role for the last 45 minutes, and hadn't even realized it. So it was delightful to again be surprised by his appearance. This is the sort of crazy comedy role usually reserved for Brahmanandam, Venu Madhav, or M.S. Narayana, and  it was fun to see Prakash going full on with the crazy accent and mannerisms.

Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: In the flashback, at the engagement reception, Prakash Raj and the other "native" friends of Raju show up with the gift of a peacock, with tragic results:

Choodalani Vundi(Telugu, 1998)
Date Watched: 8/21/11
Role type: Prakash Bad 

The story: Ramakrishna (Chiranjeevi) is a mechanic living in Kolkata. Padmavathi (Soundarya) helps him to find his long-lost son, and learns the story of Ramakrishna's first love, Priya (Anjala Zaveri) and how her evil father (Prakash Raj) separated the lovers.
Thoughts on the film: I also watched this one without subtitles, but it wasn't quite as enjoyable as Mrugaraju. I think there was probably some interesting detail in the setting of the colony of Telugu-speaking folks liking in Kolkata.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Definitely among the more "action-intensive" Prakash Raj roles, with scenes that range from standard finger wagging to full-on fist-fights:

Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
The big finale, where Chiranjeevi and Prakash Raj fight it out in and on a giant truck:

Mirapakaay (Telugu, 2011)
Date Watched: 8/27/11
Role type: Prakash Bad

The story: Police Inspector Rishi (Ravi Teja) goes undercover as a Hindi lecturer in order to catch underworld kingpin Kittu Bhai (Prakash Raj). "Professor" Rishi catches the eye of his female students, including  Vinamra (Richa Gangopadhyay) and Vaishali (Deeksha Seth)-the daughter of Kittu Bhai.
Thoughts on the film: I really can't explain my soft spot for Ravi Teja, I think it's that he's clearly enjoying the roles and that he's willing to make a happy, energetic fool of himself. Mirapakaay had plenty of goofy, energetic Ravi Teja--in action scenes and cutesy romances with anti-heroine and heroine:

I also really enjoyed Ajay's emoting as one of the Kittu Bhai's goonda son and Brahmaji using his comedic chops as Rishi's policeman rival.

Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Another over-the-top mafia don, along the lines of Ali Bhai in Pokiri, but with even more extravagant sartorial options:
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
Kittu Bhai's introduction, when he calls the rival crimelords together to explain that he will be taking control of evildoing for all of India:

1 comment:

  1. I think Prakash Raj is what we call one of the versatile actor in Hollywood. I really love his portrayal in movie Mirapakaay. He really gave justice in his kingpin/head of mafia role.