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, July 20, 2015

Round-up for April 2015

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total: 6 (April, 2015)
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total: 229 (as of 04/30/15)
Preminchalani Vundi, Adrustam, Usire, Baava Bamaida, Premakke Sai, Dhaya
Still working my way through turn-of-the millenium films, full of dancing and saxophone-playing psychopaths.

Preminchalani Vundi (Telugu, 1999)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles):
Ayesha plays a lawyer, who defends a student (Vineeth). In the process, the sort of bad guy businessman (Prakash Raj) falls in love with her. He pines for her, and ultimately kidnaps her and takes her to his island hideaway, but she isn’t swayed.
The heroine returns home, and makes plans to marry the hero. On the way to the wedding another group of rowdies try to kill the hero, but Prakash Raj rushes to save him and makes a sacrifice to save his true love’s fiance.
Thoughts on the film: Most of the film, especially the romance, wasn’t very engaging, but the section where Prakash Raj is trying to woo her on the island lair is delightfully over the top.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Like Pandipadda last month, got to see him playing different aspects of the character: lovesick, angry, ambitious, noble.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Prakash Raj’s villain character tries to serenade Nanda with a saxophone, adn when that doesn't work he lures playback singer SPB to the island then forces him at gunpoint to sing a romantic song to her.

Adrustam (Telugu, 2002)
Date watched:

Role Type:
Prakash Cop
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
Tarun (Tarun) is a poor, rough-at the-edges kid who falls in love with rich Keerthi (Gajala), but is being chased by her vengeful fiance. Asha (Reema Sen) runs away from her impending marriage. The two end up on the run together, in a series of mishaps and misadventures.
Thoughts on the film: It was a slow start, and 45 minutes before the main plot even kicked in, and another 15 minutes the hero and heroine met. But once the action kicked in, it was fun, and reminded me a lot of Kshana Kshanam. The ending was unexpected, and very abrupt. I wish that I had kept track of how many cars they stole.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: The usual upright, but frustrated police officer who tries to track down the couple.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:
His exasperation at constantly loosing the couple on the run.

Usire (Kannada, 2001)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Dad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
Muthu (Ravichandrran) is a loyal servant to landlord Rudre Gowda (Prakash Raj.) Muthu falls in love with Chandri (Rachana Banerjee), Rudre Gowda’s daughter.
Because they are different castes and because of his loyalty, Muthu will not declare his love for Chandri, and she is betrothed to a wealthy neighbor. Chandri kills herself and Muthu throws himself on her funeral pyre. In the end, Rudre Gowda is reconciled with his other daughter (who had eloped), his son-in-law, and grandchildren.
Thoughts on the film: A pretty straightforward plot, with not a lot of twists, but plenty of angst for the main lovers. I wish I’d been able to follow the side plot with the sister who elopes.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: There were some different shades to the character: the upright landlord, the vengeful father, and then the humbled grandfather.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: His final scene, meeting with the grand kids on the train platform.

Baava Baamaida (Kannada, 2001)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bro in Law
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
Raju (Sivrajkumar) comes to live with his older sister and her husband (Prakash Raj.) Raju is a bit of a rowdy, but good hearted. When the brother-in-law’s daughter from his first marriage (Rambha) comes home, she and Raju fall in love.
The brother-in-law falls in love with a dancer and decides to take her a his second wife. Raju objects, and there’s lots of drama. The brother-in-law realizes the error of his ways, and turns to Raju to restore things.
Thoughts on the film: Fine enough romance/family drama. I wish the relationship between Raju and his sister had been given more screentime.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He did a good job with the transition as the character realized that he’d made a very bad choice with the girlfriend.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Some nice scenes with girlfriend and fights.

Premakke Sai (Kannada, 2002)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
Remake of Chiru Navutho. Venu (Ravichandran) is supposed to marry Vedha (Kashturi). Vedha leaves him at the altar, he travels to the city and meets Sandhya
 (Shaheen Khan) who is engaged to Prakash Raj. When Vedha returns, Venu is torn between the two loves.
Thoughts on the film: I’ve seen quite a few Ravichandran films recently, and on the one hand, I’m impressed that Ravichandran was playing a pretty wide range of roles. On the other, I’m not sure he does as good a job of playing the “slightly bad boy withe heart of gold” as the Telugu heroes of that era.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: Pretty much the same character as Chiru Navutho, but maybe a little bit sleazier?
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: He really worked the satin-y baseball jersey and the sunglasses.

Dhaya (Tamil, 2002)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bad, Bad, Bad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles)
From Thiraipadam: Dhaya (Prakashraj) is a rowdy in Chennai, with enough political clout to make the police look the other way when he indulges in his nefarious activities. Thulasi (Meena )moves into his neighbourhood but all her attempts to reform him fail.  Rudraiya(Raghuvaran), an ex-army man who has a score to settle with Sharada Amma (Lakshmi), hires
Dhaya to discredit her. Sharada Amma runs an orphanage for abandoned children and is a good woman who turns a deaf ear to Thulasi's warnings about Dhaya's real character. Dhaya earns Sharada Amma's trust and gets himself hired as her car driver, while secretly planning her downfall.
Thoughts on the film: This film was a little bit different and enjoyable, with all of the double-crossing between the evil characters, and the ultimate reveal of the relationship between Sharada Amma and Rudraiya. Interesting that this was one of Prakash Raj’s first movies as a producer, and it's always enjoyable and bittersweet to see Prakash Raj and Raghuvaran playing agains each other.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: So bad, so many awful things, especially poisoning the orphanage kids by putting frogs in their food.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:

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