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.)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Round-up for May 2009

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (May, 2009): 1
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of 5/31/09): 1

I definitely watched part of Bombay in the summer of 2003 when it was on TCM, although I don't think I made it as far as the first scene with Prakash Raj's character. Therefore, May, 2009 marks the first time I saw Prakash Raj on film!


Bombay (Tamil, 1995)
Date Watched: 5/6/09 (partially watched in June 2003)
Role TypePrakash Cop
The story: Aspiring journalist Shekhar (Arvind Swamy) returns to visit his Hindu family in their Tamil Nadu village, where he falls in love with Shaila Bano (Manisha Koirola), a Muslim girl. The two marry, move to Mumbai, and have twin boys. Their families finally reconcile with their marriage and come to visit them in the city, only to be separated by the events of the 1992-1993 riots.
Movie Rating 4.5/5 A beautiful, moving story. The courtship story in the first half is both quiet and lyrical, and Mani Ratnam does a stellar job of showing how romance develops and grows in everyday moments. I liked how the Mumbai apartment building was populated with engaging and realistic characters, so when the violence began, you had a real sense of who was impacted. In typing all of this up, I was blown away to realize that the film was released only 3 years after the riots. In particular, I was impressed with the scenes where Shekhar interviews people and surveys the damage after the first round of riots. I'm not as big a fan with the final scene where everyone joins hands, but I loved how the scene of Shekhar saying "enough" is part of a montage of other ordinary Mumbaikars standing up to stop the violence. I get goosebumps at that part. A lot has been written about the strenghts of this film, and I'll just add a hearty "here, here!"
Prakash Raj Rating: 4/5 Prakash Raj plays an IPS officer, who we see in three scenes:
-when Shekhar is trying to get him to say how many people were actually killed in the first round of rioting
-when Shekhar and Shaila Bano come to the police station to look for their missing sons
-in the final scenes, trying to stop rioters.
He does a good job of conveying the frustration and decency of the harried officer, who in turn is representing the nuanced police role in, and perspective of, the actual events.

Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: At the police station during the nights of the riot. It starts on the police officer in the middle of the crowd, then tracks out to show the crowd filling the station, and spilling out onto the steps of the station, where Shaila Bano and Shekhar hover on the edge of the crowd, trying to get in to find information about their sons.

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