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.)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Round-up for March 2012

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (March, 2012): 14
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of March 31, 2012): 174

Dosth, Vaanchinathan, Manoharam, Seethanam, Ammai Kosam, Bachi, Solo, Ramachari, Bhalevedivi Basu, Preesthod Thappa, Veerabhadra, Simchalam, Panchamirtham, Thalainagaram
This may have been a record month in number of films watched (and only three  had subtitles.) Which is probably why it’s taken me nearly 2 months to write all of these up. Lots of cops (corrupt and noble), evil-doers, and doting fathers.
shp 2012-03-10 16.18
My head hurts from writing this all up!


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Dosth (Tamil, 2001)shp 2012-03-03 14.16

Date Watched: 3/3/2012    
Role type: Prakash Cop
The story: From a very  very helpful online review, which I wish I’d read before I watched it, since it was a bit of a challenge without subtitles.
“Vishwanath(Sarathkumar) is a wealthy widower and thinks the world of his daughter Nila. His close friend Raghu(Raghuvaran) however is a man willing to sell his soul if gets the right price. On Raghu's wedding anniversary, Vishwa and Raghu set out in a boat. Things get heated when Raghu, after a few drinks, accuses Vishwa of carrying on an illicit relationship with his wife(Indu). Vishwa is furious and threatens Raghu but then passes out. When he wakes up, he finds a bloodstained knife and Raghu's blood is all over the boat but his body is nowhere to be found. So he is arrested as Raghu's killer. But he soons finds out that Raghu is alive and kicking the whole thing was his setup to get his hands on some insurance money. Vishwa escapes and goes after Raghu while an honest police officer Neelakanda Brahmachari (Prakashraj) is assigned the task of finding him.”
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) I had a bit of trouble following the first part, and on the first go around I missed what it was that set up the fake murder plot. Once Vishwa escaped and was plotting revenge, it was easier to follow.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The character was a savvy, effective policeman, who was evenly matched to Sarathkumar’s character. The linked review noted that this is a remake of the Hollywood film Double Jeopardy. In that film, Tommy Lee Jones played the equivalent character, and I can see a similar wily, gruffness in both actors’ performances.shp 2012-03-03 14.06shp 2012-03-03 14.07
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: He made a memorable entrance—taking down really bad guys, while disguised in a yellow chicken suit.shp06 2012-03-03 14.04



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Vaanchinathan (Tamil, 2001)shp 2012-03-03 21.58  

Date Watched: 3/3/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: (from Wikipedia)Vanchinathan (Vijayakanth) is naturally the supercop who has been transferred from Gujarat. He is someone who is not averse to using the law in his own ways by killing someone and picking a suitable alibi, as long as the person is evil and will not be punished by the law. Chidambaram(Prakashraj) is a newspaper magnate who thrives on chaos and confusion which will help him boost sales of his paper. Their enmity becomes personal when Chidambaram challenges Vanchinathan to arrest him when he cleverly commits a murder in broad daylight in front of Vanchi's own eyes.”
Thoughts on the film: The main storyline (“upright police officer fights corruption”) was pretty standard, but the focus on the media as the instigator of bad stuff was interesting and different.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: When the character of Chidambaram was first introduced, his role and nature weren’t quite clear, and the film did a good job of gradually revealing his evilness.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: 
shp 2012-03-03 21.52
Listening to jazz.
shp 2012-03-03 23.02
Getting beat up on a pool table.



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Manoharam (Telugu, 2000)   vlcsnap-2012-03-04-16h26m59s203

Date Watched: 3/4/2012
Role type: Prakash Cop
The story: “The story revolves around Basha, a terrorist who spreads violence and chaos blasting bombs in Hyderabad, Coimbatore and many other places in the country. But the police wrongfully implicate Anand (Jagapathi Babu) in these blast cases and label him as ISI agent. The TADA court sends him to jail. Meanwhile the government asks CBI officer Srinivasamurthy (Prakash Raj) to investigate the cases. How Srinivasamurthy , Anand and his wife Usha (Laya) foil Basha’s intentions to destroy the country and how they eliminate him makes the climax.”
Thoughts on the film:  This was in the middle of a whole string of “good men falsely accused” movies, and I think I liked this one of the best. The combined tension of freeing Anand and foiling the terrorists moved the story along, and it was great to see the heroine playing an active role in solving the mystery, even wielding a knife at one of the terrorists. She even finds the key clue to the false accusation when she looks at a broken door number, and realizes that the police misread the dying terrorist informant’s “6” as a “9.” vlcsnap-2012-03-04-15h32m47s198 vlcsnap-2012-03-04-15h32m51s233
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Yet another savvy policeman. It could get old to see him in these same roles, but really, it’s always the high point of the film when he’s interrogating suspects, looking for clues, and participating in epic fights.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: When Srinivasamurthy first has Anand in custody, he takes him to the room where the hanging will take place and shows him the noose (as a way to get Anand to spill about the plot.) The officer puts his own head in the noose, and then falls off the platform. When Anand saves him, SrinivasamurthyAnand isn’t a murderer.vlcsnap-2012-03-03-18h46m30s191



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Seethanam (Tamil, 1995)vlcsnap-2012-03-06-21h13m57s121 

Date Watched: 3/8/2012
Role type: Prakash Cop
The story: “An honest police officer seeks revenge after being framed for murder in this Indian crime story. Corrupt cop Kalimuthu (Vinu Chakravarthy) falsely implicates Muthumanickam (Prabhu) in a homicide, and he winds up in jail. After serving time for the crime he didn't commit, Muthumanickam is determined to punish the guilty parties. But when Kalimuthu's daughter Radha (Ranjitha) becomes involved, his mission gets more complicated.”
Thoughts on the film:  (watched without subtitles) There were lots of flashbacks and reveals, and it was hard for me to keep track of what exactly was happening. Although I did enjoy Prabhu’s red headband.vlcsnap-2012-03-06-21h17m28s183
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: I think what happens is that when Kalimuthu is on his revenge spree, Radha sends the cop (Prakash Raj) to confront him. Kalimuthu beats up Prakash Cop, who testifies against Kalimuthu in court, but then is dismissed from the police force.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: This very intense conversation with Radha, which is the last we see of his character. She seems very disappointed in him. If any Tamil speakers can comment on the content of this scene, I would love to know.



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Ammai Kosam (Telugu, 2001)   shp 2012-03-10 16.22

Date Watched: 3/10/2012
Role type: Prakash Dad
The story: (From the Fullyhyderabad review.) ‘So here we have four good-for-nothing vagabonds who feel that man is the greatest gift of God to mother earth and who revel in giving themselves an ego-boost by tormenting women, and how they are 'transformed' when all of them fall for the same girl (Meena), who, in an unconvincing performance, makes them realize how stupid they look doing all the crap.”
Thoughts on the film: (Watched without subtitles.) This was another one of these ensemble comedies from the early 2000’s, that sadly seem to have disappeared from Telugu cinema. I enjoyed the interactions of Ravi Teja, Ali, Vineeth and Siva Reddy as the friends. Although there were a few plot points that I couldn’t follow, I liked how the female lead set the goofball boys on their individual paths to success.shp 2012-03-10 14.19
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film:  He plays a concerned father, and got to do lots of yelling and scolding at other characters. Plus he’s paired with my favorite “mom/wife”, Sudha.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: 
shp 2012-03-10 15.20
scolding,
shp12 2012-03-10 16.06
scolding some more.



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Bachi (Telugu, 2000)  vlcsnap-2012-03-13-23h15m30s208

Date Watched: 3/13/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad/Comedy
The story: (From the Telugu one review.) “A police officer in the special branch, Jagapati Babu one day receives a boy Habibi (Master Teja) in a courier from Dubai. Claiming that his mother had told him that Jagapati Babu is his father, the boy starts addressing him father. The uncomfortable Jagapati Babu tries various methods to get rid of the boy but his ways serve only to get him drawn towards the boy and become friends ultimately. Meanwhile, Jagapati Babu falls in love with Neelambari who gets annoyed at seeing the boy in Jagapati Babu's house. The former manages to convince the fuming Neelambari that the boy is not his son and so the matter ends there although it crops up now and then in their discussions. Meanwhile, Jagapati Babu is the chief security officer for Prakash Raj, the Rs 50-crore winner of the Paris lottery. But Jagapati Babu's search for the boy continues and he manages to nail the father by his name, Bachi (Prudhvi) and arrests him. But is he the real villain of the piece?”
Thoughts on the film: (Watched without subtitles.) I liked how the film started out with all of these different subplots—romance, kid, comedy, crime—and wove them all together by the end of the film.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He was hilarious in all of his scenes, as he goes from beggar to lottery winner, and basks in his new riches. There were lots of great, silly interactions with Jagapati Babu and with Kota Srinivasa Rao.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
vlcsnap-2012-03-13-20h47m41s93
on the couch w/Kota.
vlcsnap-2012-03-13-21h04m31s211
Hiding behind Jagapathi Babu.



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Solo (Telugu, 2011)


Date Watched: 3/15/2012
Role type: Prakash Dad
The story: (from Wikipedia.[2]) "Gautham (Nara Rohith) is an orphan who always wishes to get married to a girl from a joint family to experience the love of relationships and elders. He falls in love with Vaishnavi (Nisha Agarwal) who belongs to a joint family. He tries to woo her and finally she agrees and fall in love with him too. Vaishnavi shares a very good relationship with everyone at home especially her dad Naidu (Prakash Raj.) One day he gets to know about his daughter and Gautham's relationship. He dislikes it as he always wanted to get his daughter married to a guy who belongs to a good family. He sets an alliance with someone else."
Thoughts on the film: Despite a slowish start, I ended up liking this film a lot. The dramatic arc of the young man searching for a family was really sweet, and I thought they did a nice job of fleshing out the reasons that Naidu resisted the marrying his daughter to Gautam. The relationship between Naidu and his sister (played by Jayasudha) was really nicely developed.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Yet another film where the supporting character has a stronger arc of growth and change than either of the leads, and Prakash Raj did a great job.
Favorite Prakash Raj scenes: The many scenes where Naidu talked with his sister, wife, and daughter. Domestic dialogue isn't always the hallmark of Telugu films, but I think that Prakash Raj does such a fantastic job in these smaller conversations with actresses. I'd love to see more of it across the board.
 
 



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Ramachari (Kannada, 1991)vlcsnap-2012-03-17-20h27m20s63  

Date Watched: 3/17/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: Ramachari (Ravichandran) is the simple village boy. He becomes a valued servant to a factionalist leader and his three sons. Over time, the leader’s daughter (Malashri) falls in love with Ramachari, which leads to drama, fighting, and reconciliation.
Thoughts on the film: The main character seemed to be developmentally delayed, so while the romance was sweet, I felt like he wasn’t really sure of what he was getting into as he romanced the sister of his goonda bosses.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: So far this is the earliest film appearance I’ve seen, and it’s fun to see all of the trademark P.R. mannerisms in full effect so early. He was great at brooding, glowering and threatening.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
vlcsnap-2012-03-17-19h12m48s138
Taking a bath
vlcsnap-2012-03-17-21h33m56s86
Feeling remorse.


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Bhalevadivi Basu (Telugu, 2001)  shp 2012-03-18 14.22

Date Watched: 3/18/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: Sagar (Bala Krishna) is a forest ranger. Shilpa (Shilpa Shetty) is the boss of Sagar, Nemali (Anjala Zhaveri) is a tribal woman, and both women fight for Sagar’s affections. At the interval, it’s revealed that Sagar is in fact a petty thief named Prabhu. In the second half flashback, Prabhu describes how he became friends with Sagar, and then helped Sagar’s mother and sister by committing a crime. Prabhu ends up in prison, escapes, sees Sagar mortally wounded in a car accident, and takes over Sagar’s identity in order to help the mother and sister, and stop the criminal mastermind (Prakash Raj.)
Thoughts on the film: Watched without subtitles. The early scenes promised some interesting terrorism and international crime angles, but then in reverted to the forest ranger story.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: I wanted more action-y terrorism, and this bad guy didn’t have as many fun, evil tics as some of his villains.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:When he’s creepily holding the kid and a gunshp04 2012-03-17 22.45.shp 2012-03-18 14.11



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Preethsod Thappa (Kannada, 2001)shp 2012-03-18 14.51

Date Watched: 3/18/2012
Role type: Prakash Dad
shp 2012-03-18 21.47The story: (From the Shemaroo Kannada youtube description.)  “Shilpa Shetty loves the notorious Ravichandran but family comes in the way. A small mistake by their ancestors is the only reason that is stopping them to tie the knot and become one in mind and soul. Would they fight vigorously and never lose hope on the love?”
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles.) There was lots of crazy medicine only possible in Bollywood, when Shilpa Shetty’s character comes twirling out of the operating theater after nearly dying.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He played a very sweet, concerned father.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
shp 2012-03-18 21.20
Chatting with Shilpa.
shp 2012-03-18 21.46
Pacing at the hospital.
 

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Veerabhadra (Telugu, 2006)shp 2012-03-19 22.58

Date Watched: 3/19/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad/Funny
The story: (From wikipedia.) “Murali (Balakrishna) is pursued by the brothers of Peddaraju (Sayaji Shinde), who is cooling his heels in jail. We are not told why they are look after him. Murali is the loving brother of a handicapped woman, whom he carries to the college everyday. Of course, Murali has fun escapades with a girl in his neighborhood (Sada). And slowly but surely we are let into the past of Murali and as to what happened between him and the arch villain. It had something to do with Peddaraju's sister (Tanushree Dutta). And in the end, all is well, and you know well.”
Thoughts on the film: Of the two Balakrishna movies in March, this one was definitely more fun.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He had lots of scenes of outrageous behavior, as he tried to hand the hero over to the bad guys.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: All of his crazy, Hawaiian shirts. (Similar to those in Varsham.)
shp 2012-03-19 23.12 shp 2012-03-19 23.41 shp 2012-03-19 20.32 shp 2012-03-19 20.37



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Simhachalam (Telugu, 2003)shp 2012-03-25 12.35

Date Watched: 3/25/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: (From telugucinema.com review.) “Simhachalam (Srihari) is a sincere DCP (Deputy Commissioner of Police). He arrests Sivarama Raju in a bomb-blasting case. Doraswamy raju, the brother-in-law of Sivarama Raju, is a big factionist from Rayalaseema comes to Hyderabad to release Sivaramaraju. Then the war begins between Simhachalam & Doraswamy Raju. How Simhachalam wins the battle is the rest of the story.”
Thoughts on the film: (Watched without subtitles.) It was fun to watch Srihari in full-on vengeance mode, and there were lots of crazy, over-the-top scenes, including one where Prakash Bad buries Srihari, so that a cobra can kill him. But the cobra has other ideas.
shp 2012-03-25 17.43shp12 2012-03-25 17.42 
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: There is lots of overloaded emoting, shouting, and thrusting his hands into the camera.
shp 2012-03-25 12.40shp 2012-03-25 13.27
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: When Prakash Raj arrived in this helicopter, I had my fingers crossed that Srihari would destroy it a dramatic way. Alas, he did not.
shp 2012-03-25 18.17   


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Panchamirtham (Tamil, 2008)shp 2012-03-31 12.42

Date Watched: 3/31/2012
Role type: Prakash Ravana
The story: (Edited from Wikipedia.) “A well knit tale, the story begins at Ravana's (Prakashraj) abode and the time of Ramayana when he orders his brother Mareesan (Jayaram) to transform into a deer to abduct Seetha. Mareesan argues with Ravana but finally complies since Idumba (Raju Eswaran) and Ravana threaten the life of Mareesan's lover (Samiksha).  Mareesan gets struck by the arrow by lord Rama, he becomes a rock but not before he transforms Idumba into an anklet and wears it on his leg. Times change and the modern day comes. Rajaram (Nasser) is a very rich man who owns tea estates and he has Seetha (Saranya Mohan) as his cook and Sri Rama (Arvind Akash) as the dietician, who are in love. Rajaram's relatives (M S Bhaskar and Mayilsamy) plan a plot to take the property, and plan to kill Seetha by pushing her from a mountain top. Seetha falls directly on the rock idol of Mareesan and he returns to his human form. At the same time, his anklet falls off and is eaten by a fish. That fish is caught by fisherman Manickam (Nasser again) and Idumba gets his human form. While Mareesan vows to protect Seetha, Idumba plans to help Manickam get Rajaram's property as half brother.”
Thoughts on the film: (Watched without subtitles.) This was an interesting take on the transposing of the supernatural and modern day. There were some funny parts, but overall I found it lesss less fun than some of the other films in this vein.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He seemed suitably Raavan-like in his very brief appearance. Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Arriving by chariot.
 shp 2012-03-31 12.39 shp 2012-03-31 12.40



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Thalainagaram (Tamil, 2006)shp 2012-03-31 18.035

Date Watched: 3/31/2012
Role type: Prakash Cop/Bad
The story:  (From Indiaglitz review) “In a nutshell, Thalainagaram dwells on a gang of kind-hearted henchmen who face several troubles after they decide to reform. Right (Sundar C) and Balu (Bose Venkat) work as henchmen to a don Bhai (Judo Rathnam). Enters Dhivya (Jyothirmayi), who settles down in the same locality where Right lives. Meanwhile Right develops a difference of opinion with Bhai. Right ends up killing Bhai's son. Bhai takes revenge by killing Balu. It brings a change of heart in Right and his men. When they decide to reform and lead a decent life, enters bad cop  Prakash Raj, who forces them to take up rowdyism again. Meanwhile Bhai is on the pursuit of putting an end to Right.”
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles). The subplot with the auto driver friend, and how he’s harassed by the police was the most interesting part of the film.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He’s the corrupt cop who tortures and kills the friend of the hero. This was another film where it took awhile to reveal the true, vile nature of the bad guy.
shp 2012-03-31 17.53shp 2012-03-31 17.23
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: On the riverbank, when he’s finally getting his comeuppance.
shp 2012-03-31 18.10

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I would love to see the Prakash Ravana film! Though sad his appearance isn't very long in it, I guess, so probably not really worth it?

    ReplyDelete