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, July 26, 2015

Round-up for May 2015

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total: 5 (May, 2015)
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total: 234 (as of 05/31/15)
Hai, Thekkekara Superfast, Juniors, Preethi Prema Prenaya, Bimba
Still working through the early 2000s. The find of the month were two great Kannada films directed and written by Kavita Lakesh, that were really interesting "slice of life" films with well-developed female characters.

Hai (Telugu, 2002)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Dad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles): Aryan (Arya Rajesh) returns from studying in the US and falls in love with Priya (Nikita). Aryan’s parents approve the match, but Priya’s father (Prakash Raj) doubts the depth of their love. He send the couple on a month trip abroad, as a test of their affection.
During the trip to Dubai they argue, and when they return Priya’s father arranges another match. In the end, the two are reconciled.
Thoughts on the film: The most interesting thing about it were the scenes in Dubai. This was shot in 2000 or 2001, and Dubai seems like a large resort city in the film, but doesn’t yet have all of the iconic skyscrapers. It’s interesting to me that more Indian films don’t have scenes (or at least songs) shot in the Gulf, so I wonder if those countries limit it, and how this movie happened to shoot there.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Another perfectly fine, strict Dad role.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:

Thekkekara Superfast (Malayalam, 2004)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bad Cop
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
Bus drivers (Mukesh, Jagathy Sreekumar, and others) fight against bad guys romance ladies, and get doublecrossed by a corrupt police officer (Prakash Raj).

Thoughts on the film: I liked the view into the world of bus drivers, what they experienced day to day and some of their efforts to take collective action. There were a lot of characters, so it was hard to keep track of what was going on and which characters were the leads.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The character only showed up towards the end. He seemed helpful to the heroes (defeated the first round of bad guys), but then took the heroine hostage.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Most of the early scenes showed him talking to the lead characters on the phone, and I wondered if his role was added on in post production, but he was in the big, final showdown scene.

Juniors (Telugu, 2003)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Pal/Dad
The Story:(watched w/out subtitles)
A group of students (Allari Naresh, Shireen and others) come together in friendship and romance. They decide to run away from the stress of studies and parents, but find out that life is harder than they thought.

Thoughts on the film: The scenes in school were interesting, but the comedy and melodrama of their escape could have been more impactful.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He plays the professor at their school, who ultimately helps the students return to their families in the conclusion.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:

Preeti Prema Pranaya (Kannada, 2003)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Son
The Story: Dr. Chandrashekhar (Ananthnag) is a widower who helps widowed Sharadha Devi (Bharathi) when she is in an accident. They form a friendship and then love. Their adult children (Prakash Raj, Arun Sagar and others) oppose the match, but their 
grandchildren (Sunil Rao and Anu Prabhakar) decide to support the older couple, while starting their own romance.
Thoughts on the film: This movie was fantastic! I loved seeing the how the relationship between the older characters grew over a series of conversation and phone calls. Anant Nag and Bhavani were fabulous, all of the other performances from grandchildren to children were good. The plotline with Bhavani’s son and his mistress seemed underdeveloped, but it was so great that all of the daughters-in-law came together at the end to approve the relationship.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Nice to see him as part of the extended family, and his relationship with his father, wife, son, brother, and others.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Lots of excellent hand gesturing and a cute, smooshy scene with the character's wife. Bonus: the extended family watches "Mad About You" together.

Bimba (Kannada, 2004)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Cad
The Story: Indu (Baby Raksha) is a child actress whose performance in a play brings her to the attention of film producers. Her mother, Saroja (Daisy Bopanna) promotes her daughter’s career, over the concerns of her father, Arvind (Sampath Kumar.) As Indu’s career grows, her mother becomes more caught up in the world of showbusiness, and his pursued by dissolute actor Raj (Prakash Raj.) Soon, the strains of show business take a toll on the young actress and her family.

Thoughts on the film: Another really good film from Kavita Lakesh, who also directed Preeti Prema Pranaya. Baby Raksha and Daisy Bopanna were fantastic as the actress and her mother. You could see each of them being drawn into the film world, and their different moments of disillusionment.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He did a great job as the jaded, veteran actor who is at turns mentor and tormentor to Indu, and tries to seduce Saroja. I wonder how much of his performance was pulled from behind-the-scenes experiences and observations on movie sets.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: All of the "making-of-the-movie" scenes were fantastic, with lots of smart, funny lines. Prakash Raj must have enjoyed overacting in the actual crazy movie scenes.

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