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 30, 2011

Round-up for September 2009

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (September, 2009): 2
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of 9/30/09): 3

Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana, Bommarillu
I almost had this post finished, and then accidentally deleted it all in html editing mode. So this is gonna be short and sweet.

Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana (Telugu, 2005)
Date watched: 9/1/09
He's a philanthropist!
Role TypePrakash Dad
The story: Santosh (Siddharth) is spoiled by his parents (Prakash Raj and Geetha). Santosh returns from London for his cousin Lalita's wedding, where he meets Lalita's friend Siri (Trisha). The two initially lock horns, but then fall in love while saving the wedding. After Santosh's mother insults her, Siri returns home with her protective and doting brother, Sivarama Krishna (Srihari.) Santosh comes to win Siri back, and Krishna   promises that the two can marry if Santosh successfully harvests a larger crop than Krishna.  
Movie rating: 5/5 This was the first Telugu film that I saw, so it holds a special place in my heart. When I watched it the first time, I liked the second half on the farm slightly more than the first half at the wedding. "Adire Adire" continues to be one of my favorite songs in Telugu film, with it's dancing cows and puppets, and all of the songs have the same sort of organic placement and match the playful tone of the film really well. Srihari really shines as the caring older brother in this film, and as possibly the only person in Telugu-film-land who has served prison time for the killing of a bad guy. There were too many bad guys, and their motives, threat, and overall impact was diluted by the climax.
Prakash Raj Rating: 4.5/5 This was also the first appearance (for me) of the cosmopolitan, "fun" dad. The interaction between Santosh and his father helped to establish the characters and drive the story. The father had a nice story arc when he visits the farm, and at first rejects his son's work, but then understands that Santosh is growing up in a way he hadn't expected, or might have been able to facilitate. 
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
*This particular scene, when Dad eats the spicy country food, and desperately searches for water, is probably the moment when I first thought "hey, this actor is pretty fun to watch.  What's his name?"

The video ends right before this moment:

I'm sure he picked those chairs, not his wife.

Bommarillu (Telugu, 2006)
Date watched: 9/5/09
Role TypePrakash Dad
The story: Siddu (Siddharth) is the pampered and protected son of businessman Aravind (Prakash Raj). Aravind controls all aspects of Siddu's life, from clothes to work. After Aravind arranges his son's engagement to a wealthy girl, Siddu meets and falls in love with Hasini (Genelia D'Souza). Siddu convinces his family to let Hasini live with them for a week, certain that they will come to love her as much as he does.
Movie rating: 3/5 Bommarillu was really slow to get started, and there were things that kept pulling me out of the story. The one thing I did like about this film were the women in Siddu's family, even with their pathological fear of Aravind. One tiny thing I also liked that it showed Siddu manning up and telling the fiancee that he was breaking the engagement, and her and family are sad, but not murderous.
Prakash Raj Rating: 3/5  I'm torn, because I really, really didn't like the character, but I think Prakash Raj did a good job of playing him. I've always been conflicted about the "stern father" roles in Indian film, starting with Amrish Puri in DDLJ.  They are supposed to be sympathetic and admirable within their cultural context, but because I'm not hardwired into that, I just find them to be pompous, overbearing, jerks. I'm also not sure how I feel about how Aravind was set up in contrast with Hasini's more lax, alcholic father (Kota Srinivasa Rao.) Aravind did have good scene where he explains his motivations, and acknowledges his shortcomings. I'm happy that he took the first steps in forging a new, better relationship with his son, but it's disappointing that he didn't similarly apologize to the rest of the family, who were even more impacted by his controlling ways. On the other hand, I totally sympathized with his annoyance at the Manic Pixie Dream Girl his son brought home.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
*Every exasperated facial expression and hand gesture that Aravind makes as his family and son disappoint him, over and over and over again.

*When Aravind finally breaks down, I love how he perfectly communicates with his face and hands. (Which of course, has to be repeated in dialogue a moment later, but Telugu film-making is not known for its subtlety.)

*The end credit sequence, where Aravind has to go back to Hasini's father to get him to accept Siddu as a prospective son-in-law.

1 comment:

  1. I remember thinking when I saw Bommarillu that Prakash Raj was too young to be playing Siddharth's father, isn't it? Allow me to share a nice screen cap I took of Prakashji from the same filum:

    All the best!


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