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.)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Round-up for August 2010

Monthly Prakash Raj Movie Total (8/31/10):  4
Overall Prakash Raj Movie Total (as of 8/31/10): 39




Premaku Velayara (Telugu, 1999)
Date watched: 8/3/10
Role TypePrakash Bad
The story: Madhavi (Soundarya) is the daughter of business tycoon Venkata Narayana (Prakash Raj).  She runs into Manohar (J. D. Chakravarthy), her father's (maternal?) nephew, who is scheming to get rich by marrying the uncle's daughter. Madhavi feels that she can reform Manohar, and get him to give up the prospect of easy wealth by marrying Madhavi in her disguise as a not-rich, regular girl.
Movie Rating: 4/5  Soundarya is so appealing, and I loved that she was really active in pursuing Manohar, and setting it up so that he fell in love with her. (Nice version of the classic Telugu-stalking-romance!) JD Chakravarthy was good as the guy who is reformed in the end, and Ravi Teja was adorable as his comedic side-kick friend.
Prakash Raj Rating: 3/5 This felt like the prototype of the  "urbane father" character that Prakash Raj had perfected by NVND and Jalsa.  All of his scenes with Madhavi/Soundarya were really winning, especially when they argued over Manohar's true character.

ETA: Thank you so much Githa (http://wordsfromalotus.blogspot.com/), for reminding me of a key part of this character.  He says the line "It's Confirmed!!" multiple times in the movie. Very adorable and quotable, and here's an example:


Gangotri (Telugu, 2003) 
Date watched: 8/6/10
Role Type: Prakash Dad
The storyNeelakanta Naidu (Prakash Raj) is the father of the heroine, Gangotri (Aditi Agarwal), and also a big factionist leader. His main henchman, Simha, has a son Simhadri (Allu Arjun), who is the childhood companion of Gangotri.  When the teenagers start up a romance, Neelakanta and Simha have a falling out, Simha is killed, and various other obstacles are presented to Simhadri and Gangotri.
Movie Rating: 3/5  This film had a pretty straightforward plot, and many of the adult characters were pretty well fleshed out, especially the womenfolk.  The teenaged characters were definitely young, and it was interesting to see a rural school setting.
Prakash Raj Rating: 3/5 This was an iteration of the affectionate, but violent father character that shows up pretty frequently (Brindaavanam).  It was a pretty large part, and it was enjoyable to watch Prakash Raj convey the character's love and protectiveness for his daughter, his anger at the perceived betrayal by Simha, and the final realization that his overprotective ways may have actually killed his daughter. My standout scene is when he's trying to get in his daughter's good side again (after sending her boyfriend away) and he's trying to cajole her with food, and she's being a sulky teenager, with lots of eyerolls and "talk to the hand" gestures.
 On a shallow note, there were A LOT of close-ups of Prakash Raj in this film, and he looked great.




Raja Kumarudu (Telugu, 1999)
Date watched: 8/19/10
Role Type: Prakash Dad
The story: Raj Kumar (Mahesh Babu, looking very young) is an actor/model working on a commercial shoot, who locks horns and falls in love with a spunky girl at a nearby camp (Preity Zinta, also looking young.) He hangs out with his happy-go-lucky-uncle, Dhanunjay (Prakash Raj.) At the interval, Dhanunjay reveals the tragic death of Raj Kumar's parents, and of his promise to get Raj Kumar married to his niece.
Movie Rating: 2/5  I watched this without subtitles, and I missed a lot. It seemed fun, but the dramatic, violent flashback was a bit jarring and messed with the playful mood of the rest of the film.
Prakash Raj Rating: 2.75/5 Again, I might appreciate this more if I'd understood more. Most of the comedic scenes with Dhanunjay (esp. with the other comedy characters) were fun, and the relationship with Raj Kumar was telegraphed pretty well.
Prakash Raj holding baby Mahesh, then swordfighting w/grown-up Mahesh.





Kantri (Telugu, 2008)
He's holding his gun sideways-so gangsta!
Date watched: 8/30/10

Role TypePrakash Bad
The story: Poothu Raju/PR (Prakash Raj) kills a fellow villager, abandons his own wife and son, and gains fortune as a gangster in Hong Kong and India. Kranti (Jr. NTR) arrives on the scene, joins PR's gang, and reveals that he is PR's son. The plot twists and turns as Kranti makes things complicated and unpleasant for PR.

Movie Rating: 4/5  This is a pretty enjoyable Southie twist on some fun mystery/noirish puzzles. It was fun watching all of the layers unfold.
Prakash Raj Rating: 4/5 This role actually had an interesting narrative arc through the whole movie, as PR leaves his family, makes it big, believes he is reunited with his son, and is laid-up in the hospital with a mysterious disease. I couldn't get a great screen grab, but my favorite snippet of a scene is when PR escapes from the hospital wearing his hospital gown, and does a great run past the rival gangsters and their truck.



Oh yes, and he busts a move with Tarak in the song Raamare:

3 comments:

  1. Your blog is awesome, Its confirmed!!!

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  2. Githa! Thanks for the comment. I can't believe I forgot to include how much I loved "It's confirmed!!!" in the write up of Premaku Velayara! I'm off to find a video of that to embed...

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  3. Nice! One off my fav movies :D should watch it today maybe :) and btw, Githa is right! :)

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