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.)

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Round-up for June-July 2012

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total:
 *June 2012 - 8
 *July 2012 - 2

Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of July 31, 2012): 201

Keerthi Chakra, Veerappu, Harakeya Kuri, Bodyguard, Subash, En Swasa Katrae, Ajay, Premaku Swagatham, Koduku, Pistha.
Note: I'm writing this 2 1/2 years late, so my descriptions and impressions of the films is going to be fuzzy, at best.)

Prakash Raj in water seems to fit films
I watched in the summer.


Aran/Keerthi Chakra (Malayalam, 2006)

Date Watched: 6/1/2012
Role type: Prakash Officer
The story: Army commandos (Mohanlal and Jeeva) fight terrorists.
Thoughts on the film: Interesting enough military/action movie. I watched Aran, the Tamil version.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He was only in 1-2 scenes that were specially added to the Tamil version.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: The one(s) where he sit at a desk and talks on the phone/gestures with his hands a lot.


Veerappu (Tamil, 2007)
Date Watched: 6/2/2012

Role type: Prakash Dad
The story: From Wikipedia: "Puli (Sundar C) is a local rowdy and the son of a math teacher Prakash Raj. Prakash Raj hates his son for being a rowdy and for not being proficient in Mathematics. The story revolves around the ego clash between dad and son. As part of a flashback it is shown that young Puli was very good in Physics but being a Math teacher his father wanted him to excel in Math which he was unable to do so."
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) I think the lack of subtitles made it difficult to appreciate the math v. physics clash, which sounded kind of intriguing, and an unusual basis for the over-the-top South Indian father vs. son theatrics. There was an interesting subplot about how the family regroups that I enjoyed.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The first part of the film was a little bit more of the by-the-numbers "straightlaced dad who hates his carefree son", but the second half had more character development as he confronts his own failings and the impact on his family.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
Discovering a shirt that his ne'er do well son has destroyed.

Happy ending, repainting a sign on the house.

Contemplating his predicament.


Harakeya Kuri (Kannada, 1992)

Date Watched: 6/11/2012
Role type: Prakash Husband
The story: A newly married couple (Geeta and Prakash Raj) are take hostage or provide shelter for a political rebel (Vishnuvardan.) According to the blurb for the play that it was based on: The Play depicts the strong political influence prevailing in the society, the story revolves around a corrupt politician and how he uses the power and the innocence of public to fulfill his ambitions and achievements. In this process common man has been shown as scapegoat.
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) I suspect that I missed out on A LOT without the subtitles. There seemed to be lots of conversations and speeches about politics and philosophy. I'm really curious about Geeta's role, since her character seemed to have an equal number of scenes and dialogues as the male leads.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Harakeya Kuri is listed as one of his first lead roles, and he does a great job, playing well against both Geeta and Vishnuvardan.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: There are lots of sweet scenes setting up the relationship between the couple,

There was a sweet song, where Prakash Raj's character is singing (along to the radio, maybe) while writing. (Direct link to song.)


Bodyguard (Telugu, 2012)

Date Watched: 6/17/2012
Role type: Prakash Dad
The story: From idlebrainVenkatadri (Venkatesh) works in a security office and he is very loyal to Varadarajulu (Prakash Raj) - a landlord from Rayalaseema. He joins Varadarajulu as a bodyguard. Then he is assigned as bodyguard to Keerthi (Trisha) - the daughter of Varadarajulu. Since Venkatadri is being too strict with her, Keerthi calls from an anonymous number to distract Venkatadri’s attention. Venkatadri becomes fascinated with phone girl and falls in love with her. But Keerthi’s marriage is already fixed with her baava (Subbaraju). 
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles): I think I'd already watched the Hindi version, but the operatic family dynamics and over the top emotions translated better from the Malayalam original to the Telugu film. Plus it had the usual A-list of Telugu film supporting actors.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The usual stern father who comes around at the end, and another role where the skip ahead in time allowed him to play the same character at different life stages.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: There were some "action-y" scenes, where Varadarajulu beats up Venky, and another where he runs from an explosion.


Subash (Tamil, 1996)

Date Watched: 6/21/2012
Role type: Prakash Politician
The story: Subash (Arjun), a rebellious-youth-turned-army officer, fights against a corrupt religious leader and corrupt politicians, including his own brother (Siddique).
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) The plot wasn't that unusual, but the elements of the corrupt, machine-gun-toting swami was engaging, and the big showdown between the two brothers on the train was well done.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He plays the non-corrupt politician who is murdered by his rivals halfway through the film. He and Siddique had the same bouffant hair, round wire-frame glasses and mustache, so in the second half of the film, I had a few "wait, isn't his character dead?" moments.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: He did a nice job of looking terrified right before his death, which lead to another portrait/garlanded image of Prakash Raj for the collection.


En Swasa Katrae (Tamil, 1999)

Date Watched: 6/24/2012
Role type: Prakash MBad
The story: From wikipedia: A seemingly down to earth guy Arun (Arvind Swamy) by day leads a life of a computer hacker and thief by night. When he meets a girl (Isha Koppikar) whom he fancies, he wishes to turn over a new leaf. But Arun's rogue brother (Prakash Raj) who has been blackmailing him since young to do his dirty deeds does not think likewise. A deep love-hate relationship between them which unfolded during their childhood days traps Arun into a life of crime. How Arun chooses between his family and his love forms the crux of the story.
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) I have very few memories of this film, but it had some really beautiful song picturizations, and a big standoff with all of the characters pointing guns at each other in the forest. The whole thing is up on youtube. Man, there was A LOT of smoking in this film.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Another conniving, bad guy character, who has big dramatic confrontations with his brother, his father, the heroine and many other characters.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
Splashing around in his pool.

Kid versions of Arvind Swamy and Prakash Raj
show the roots of their conflict.


Ajay (Kannada, 2006)

Date Watched: 6/24/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: Kannada remake of Okkadu. Kabaddi player Ajay (Puneeth Rajkumar) rescues Paddu (Anuradha Mehta) from Prakash, hides her in his house and then has a big showdown at the kabaddi match.
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles) Okkadu was great, so when the remake sticks to the story beats, it all works well.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: This is such a fun, scenery-chewing bad guy, so it really doesn't get old to see Prakash Raj playing him again and again.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:


The thrill of machetes...

...the agony of defeat.


Premaku Swagatham (Telugu, 2002)

Date Watched: 6/30/2012
Role type: Prakash Dad
The story: From Idlebrain: Mahendra (Prakash Raj) is a multimillionaire and a famous industrialist businessman. Lahari (Soundarya) is his only daughter and lucky talisman. He is very fond of her and does anything that satisfies his daughter. Balaji (Chakri) is a newly joined car driver for the one of the tens of cars Lahari uses depending up on her mood.
Lahari and Balaji fall in love, complications ensue, Balaji tries to make Lahari hate him, but love wins in the end.
Thoughts on the film: (watched without subtitles). It's such a pleasure to see these older films with Chakraborty and Soundarya, even if it's a pretty standard rich girl/poor, righteous boy plot.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The usual protective, upper class father, who is ultimately won over to see the worth of the man who loves his daughter.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
Final confrontation, discussion on the train.

End credits, Dad is driving the driver. Everyone laughs.


Koduku (Telugu, 2004)

Date Watched: 7/7/2012
Role type: Prakash Pal
The story: Vikram (Vikram) trains in wrestling/martial arts to defeat the bad guys who kicked his father out of his village martial arts academy and romancesAditi Agarwal's character.
Thoughts on the film: Definitely a second tier Telugu action movie. The wrestling plotline was kind of interesting and a good way to make a lot of the action organic to the plot. Another review that I read said that this was supposed to be the launch movie for Vikram, who is MS Narayana's son.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Prakash Raj plays an NRI who shows up to do something (start a business? marry Aditi? promote a wrestling match? I can't remember) and ends up marrying Mounika, who I think was Vikram's sister. I always suspect that these good-humored, sophisticate characters are the most like the Prakash Raj's real personality.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: He got some nice lines, some of which made very little sense, and others which probably went over well in the cinema.


Pistha (Thoronai) (Telugu, 2009)

Date Watched: 7/13/2012
Role type: Prakash Bad
The story: From wikipedia: Guru (Kishore) and Thamizharasu (Prakashraj) are dreaded gangsters
in Chennai. They are against pitted each other and fight to establish their supremacy in city. They indulge in gang war painting Chennai red. Enters Murugan (Vishal). A native of Madurai, he comes to Chennai with a mission. He leaves his village promising his mother (Geetha) that he would return only with his brother, who had run away from the house about two decades ago.
Murugan gets the help of his friend Veluchamy (Santhanam). He comes across the gangsters and a sequence of events results in him incurring both their wrath. In a bloody duel with Guru, he comes to know that he is his brother, whom he has been searching for long. Now he is entrusted with the task of protecting him from Thamizharasu. How he accomplishes his task forms the crux.

Thoughts on the film: Don't remember very much about this one, probably a standard Telugu mass-y action plot.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Another paint-by-the-numbers gangster baddy.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: 
Being evil means you have unlimited drinks...

..AND basic cable!

Underwater fights...

..and gun face-offs.

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