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.)

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Round-up for December 2010

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (December, 2010): 3
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of 12/31/10): 62
Only three movies, because I was cranking on getting caught up in the past few months. All three films did have Prakash Raj's characters dying pretty spectacular deaths.

Sri Anjaneyam (Telugu, 2004)

Date watched: 12/4/10
Role TypePrakash Dad
The story: A corrupt politician kills an engineer (Prakash Raj) and his wife (Ramya Krishnan?). Their orphaned son, Anji (Nitin) is raised by the temple priest. When the corrupt politician decides to demolish and rebuild the temple, Lord Anjaneya (aka Hanuman) comes to Anji in human form (Arjun).  With Anjaneya's mentoring, Anji is able to stand up to the bad guys, stop the temple from being demolished, and complete his father's project of building the Seetama Talli Dam.

Movie Rating: 3.75/5 Even though the film when on a bit longer than it needed to, it was pretty fun.  I enjoyed seeing a devotional film set in a modern context. This was one of Nitin's first films, and he does some young (and suitable for the role.) I loved the humor in the film, especially Charmi's forward, flirty village girl.  The true highlight was Arjun as Anjaneya--he invested the character with lots of small, fun "monkey" mannerisms, and did a nice balance in the glee that Anjaneya felt and tricking the humans and a sense of gravity in his task to get Anji to fulfill his dharma.
Arjun watches Charmi berate a statue of Anjaneyam.
Prakash Raj Rating: 3/5  His character was only onscreen for maybe 5 minutes at the beginning, but his scenes were very nice, and sepia-toned, to show that it was the past.
There's a great montage of his character planning and constructing the dam. Love the model, it has real water!
I was rewatching Abhiyum Naanum at the same time I watched this film, and it really struck me how natural Prakash Raj is in his interactions with kids, and how it does seem to make the kids seem more at ease and natural as well. 

His character dies a classic Prakash Raj horrible death (since this happens in the first few minutes, and it's described in the dvd synopis, it's not too much of a spoiler.)
The old pipe in the back.
But he's a happy soul-angel-ghost.

Sivamani (Telugu, 2003)
Date watched: 12/7/2010
Role TypePrakash Bad
The storyCop Sivamani (Nagarjuna) takes on Vizag mafia don, Dattu (Prakash Raj) and falls in love with Vasanta (Asin).  Dattu kidnaps Vasanta, and Sivamani takes up as fisherman, until newspaper editor Pallavi (Rakshita) makes it her goal to track down Vasanta.
Movie Rating: 3.25/5  A solid mass entertainer. I liked the character of Pallavi, and that her initial drive to reunite Shivamani and Vasanta was rooted in her goal to sell more newspapers. Nagarjuna was fun as the loose cannon cop, and later as a boat driver. (It's like they look for excuses to make his characters hippies.)
Prakash Raj Rating: 3.75/5  This is a pretty standard bad guy role, but he is decidedly evil, and very fun to screen cap.
Favorite Prakash Raj scenes: There were just a lot of fun scenes of evilness:
Dattu's birthday party.
Dattu plays basketball over a guy he's just had killed
Dattu kills Shivamani's mother.
Dattu confronts Shivamani on the beach, wearing a jaunty scarf.
Dattu and Shivamani's final showdown. See how Shivamani is so mad he rips his shirt off? I love the huge crowd watching, but they do play an important role, since they ultimately trample Dattu to his death--that's him the sand.
Fun, random disguises.
Sneham Kosam (Telugu 1999)
Date watched: 12/19/10
Role TypePrakash Bad
The story: Note: I actually watched the Hindi-dubbed version, Main Hoon Rakhwala, so I may mix up the names from the Hindi and Telugu versions. Veeru (Chiranjeevi) is the trusted servant of a wealthy family. When the youngest daughter, Prabhavati (Meena) comes home, sparks fly. Meanwhile, the family's elder daughter, Rani (???) is married to her mother's brother Peddabbayi (Prakash Raj), and he is plotting to take the estate from the family patriarch. When Veeru's father (also Chiranjeevi) is released from jail, a number of family secrets are revealed.
Movie Rating: 3.5/5   This was another long one, with a pretty convoluted plot. I enjoyed Chiru in both of his roles, and there were some stronger characters for the women in the film. It was especially fun to see Brahmi playing a pretty negative, conniving version of his comedic roles. Also, there's been ongoing discussion on twitter and the BollyWHAT boards about traditions of women marrying their maternal uncles, and how it's represented in film, so this was another interesting example of that situation in which the uncle is not a good choice.
Prakash Raj Rating: 3/5  This is a really creepy character, so there's several fun scenes of hammy sliminess and false outrage. Also, since there are scenes in the past and the present, we get to see two different looks (clean shavenPeddabbayi. While the character escapes death at the hands of Chiru, he is ultimately killed in a satisfying way. 
Because this version was dubbed in Hindi, it was odd to hear another voice coming out of Prakash Raj, and was equally weird to hear different voices coming out of Chiru, Brahmi, Kota Srinivasa Rao and others.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
All of the scenes where the young version of Peddabbayi plots and connives.
All of the scenes where the older Peddabbayi connives and threatens.

1 comment:

  1. I totally agree with your thoughts on Sri Anjaneyam.

    Haven't told you this before but I love how you categorize Prakash's characters in the films.

    Thanks for sharing your Prakash film journey with us :)


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.