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.)

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Round-up for November 2015

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total:  5 (November 2015)
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total: 297 (as of 11/30/15)
Lion, Heart Attack, O Kadhal Kanmani, Thoongavanam, Size Zero

The end is in sight! Only five movies this month, and then several TV shows, which will be updated in another post. Themes for the month: dramatic deaths and looking at computers:

O Kadhal Kanmani

Lion (Telugu, 2015)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Bad
The Story: Bose (Balakrishna) wakes up from a long coma, surrounded by strangers who claim to be his parents and wife, and tell him that his name is Godse. wife. He travels to Hyderabad to find the people he things are his parents and wife, but they tell him they don’t know him. A flashback reveals that Bose was a CBI officer who was investigating the corrupt CM (Prakash Raj). The bad guys beat up his family and hit Bose on the head. His family agreed to go along with amnesia to protect him, but Bose decides to finish his fight.
Thoughts on the film: The production values were good, but the bad guys seemed not very effective. I’m not sure why they set up this elaborate plan to convince him he was someone else, when they could have just killed Bose, or dumped him in another country. Trisha was great in the flashbacks.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: This was a pretty boring bad guy, more corrupt than evil. It definitely seemed like one of the “corrupt official” roles that I’m used to seeing Kota Srinivasa Rao or Shiyaji Shinde play.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Negotiating, getting angry, dramatically dying.

Heart Attack (Telugu, 2014)
Date watched:
Role Type:
Prakash Dad
The Story:  Varun (Nithin) is traveling in Spain when he spots Hayathi (Adah Sharma) and fakes a heart attack to get her attention. Varun helps Hayathi to convince her friend Priya’s father to let her marry an African musician. Varun and Hayathi kiss, but then she leaves Spain. He follows her to Goa, only to find that she’s about to be married to an evil crime lord who kidnaps women. Varun makes a deal with a wealthy businessman (Prakash Raj) to rescue his kidnapped daughter, and then defeats the bad guys.
Thoughts on the film: Again, the production values were good, and the foreign and Goa locations were done pretty well. I don’t know that the different parts of the film (romance, comedy, action) came together that well. The comedy storyline with the African boyfriend and Brahmanandam was not as awful and anti-black as I thought it was going to be, but it was still plenty problematic.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: A very tiny part in the last 10 minutes of the film. I’m really not even sure the part was needed for the film, there was plenty of motivation for Varun to go beat up the bad guys without financial incentive. (TIL: Indian craiglslist is a clearing house for hiring hit men.) I suspect the role was written as a way to just stick Prakash Raj in the film.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Arguing with the kidnappers, handing over the reward money.

O Kadhal Kanmani (Tamil, 2015)
Date watched:

Role Type:
Prakash Pal
The Story: Aditya Varadarajan (Dulquer Salmaan) is a video game developer, who moves to Mumbai and meets Tara Kalingarayar (Nithya Menen).  After a quick romance, they decide to move in together in the room that Aditya rents from the elderly couple Bhavani (Leela Samson) and Ganapathy (Prakash Raj.) Aditya and Tara intend to make the most of their short-term relationship before they each move abroad, but re-evaluate their intentions as they become more entwined in the lives of the older couple.
Thoughts on the film: Such a nice film. I’d forgotten how great Mani Ratnam is at showing the day-to-day happiness of people in a romantic relationship. The scenes with Aditya and Tara spending time together were really fun to watch, and set up the foundations for their later fights, which were so raw and real. Prakash Raj and Leela Samson rooted the film with their performances, and were a delight to watch in every scene.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: This was such a lovely, nuanced role, especially in the interactions with Bhavani. There was a nice trajectory has he softened to Aditya and Tara.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes:

Thoongavanam (Tamil, 2015)
Date watched:

Role Type:
Prakash Bad
The Story:  (Watched w/out subtitles) Police officer Diwaker (Kamal Haasan) bust a narcotics ring, but the drug lord Vital Rao (Prakash Raj) kidnaps Diwaker’s son in retaliation. Diwaker must try and outsmart the criminals and corrupt cops to save his son, and finds an ally in his colleague Mallika (Trisha.)
Thoughts on the film: Stylish, but it didn’t seem like there was enough conflict or plot to carry the film for the full running time. It was probably more fun for the die-hard Kamal Haasan fan. I did enjoy Trisha’s role as the straight-laced police officer who becomes suspicious of her colleague.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: I liked that Prakash Raj was playing the mid-level criminal, so he alternated between threatening people and then groveling to his crime overlords.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: Laughing diabolically and smoking stylishly.

Size Zero (Telugu, 2015)
Date watched:

Role Type:
Prakash Bad
The Story: (watched w/out subtitles) Sweety (Anushka Shetty) is happy living with her widowed mother and brother, and working in a high-end Chinese restaurant, but she’s been rejected in marriage proposals because of her weight. She becomes friends with one rejected suitor, Abhi (Arya), and slowly falls in love with him. When she finds out that Abhi is in love with NRI Simran (Sonal Chauhan), Sweety decides to go to the Size Zero clinic run by Satyanand (Prakash Raj) to lose weight. Sweety learns that Satyanand is cheating and harming people, and starts a crusade to bring him down and promote healthy weight loss.
Thoughts on the film: So many thoughts on this film. Heroine-centric Telugu films are rare enough, and this may be the first I’ve seen that is not a revenge thriller. It reminded me very much of Korean dramas (there are enough K Dramas with similar plotlines), and Sweety could hold her own with any K Drama heroine. Anushka was great. As several reviews noted, I was surprised that the film didn’t make fat jokes at Sweety’s expense, and showed her perspective. Arya’s character seemed pretty blah, and the big finale with the celebrity-led spin class seemed more like a PSA than a useful plot development.
Thoughts on Prakash Raj in the film: He was a flamboyant, oily character, but I’m not sure if he was a worthy oppotent for Sweety. His big scam didn’t seem that awful, and at a certain point, the scam seemed like more work and investment than just running a legit gym/weight loss program.
Favorite Prakash Raj Scenes: He sings and performs the title song. I can't find a video of it yet, but here's a video of the "making of."

1 comment:

  1. Prakash Raj is Every green Artist
    so many Best Villan character in TeluguMovies


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