Cinema is five percent in my life: Prakash Raj

Saturday, October 1, 2016 - 23:00

Prakash Raj, considered as one of the best actors in India, is hard to understand as a person. He doesn't go by what people expect him to do so as a successful actor because he does many things in life including social service, writing, touring various places, cooking, farming and other things apart from acting in movies. He leads life by heart not by mind. Which is why he regularly directs movies that consume lot of his time. If the same amount of time he spends on acting, he would earn crores of rupees without investing a penny.

Of the movies he directed so far - 'Dhoni' and 'Ulavacharu Biryani', none of them were  money-spinners but he earned good critical acclaim. He loves to tell stories that touch his heart. "Direction is one aspect of quenching creative thirst. Direction is passion, while acting is my profession. I follow my heart," he says. He has directed fourth movie in his career - 'Mana OoriRamayanam' which he also made it in Kananda as "Idolle Ramayana". Both the versions are set to release on 7th October worldwide on the eve of Dussera festival. 

Inspired by a Malayalam movie!

"Yes, Mana OoriRamayanam is based on a Malayalam movie. I was inspired by the Malayalam movie and told in my own perspective. Whenever I think about Ramayanam, I always get the feeling that the characters of Lord Rama, Ravana, Hanuman, Seetha, Lakshman or Shurpanaka, the characters are actually symbolic representations of human frailties. Would Hanuman remain so devoted to Rama if the Rama didn't show the consistency in his dharma of goodness? This thought is what the movie is all about. Four characters in a village represent various aspects of Ramayana," Prakash Raj revealed how the film began to shape up and what it is all about.

Priyamani's character has no name

"I play the role of Bhujanga. He earns huge money in Dubai and returns to village and expects everyone in the village to respect him and treat him as special person. On the other hand, there is a guy who wants to use him and leave for Dubai to earn money. There is also a movie director who is planning to revive his career and shoot the movie in the same village," Prakash Raj lets out the characterizations of the principal roles. "Then there is Priyamani who plays an escort to Bhujanga. She doesn't have a name for her role. She is like a river that passes through the terrain but doesn't stop anywhere (or stuck with one person)."

There is a reason why I come to sets late....

When asked why he hasn't changed his habit of coming to the sets early morning as it has earned him bad name though every maker in the industry raves him as a great artiste, he responds: "I am like this. I am not going to change this habit. My roots in are Kannada theater. I used to tour across Karnataka performing plays, which used to end by midnight. Since plays are performed in the night, it became a habit to wake up late in the morning. This went on for many years and I have accustomed to this lifestyle from then onwards. Unless if the director wants to shoot a shot on me in the backdrop of sunrise, there is no meaning to go to 7am shoot."

Acting occupies just five percent in my life...

He further goes on this matter. "Though acting is my profession, life is not just about acting for me. It occupies just five percent in my time. I do lot of reading, writing, farming, tour many places. I have a family; I have obligations to cater time for them. So don't expect me to completely devote my time for movies as an actor."

Actors replacing his position...

At one time many in the movie industry felt that there is no replacement for Prakash Raj. He was virtually present in every movie big or small doing both positive and negative roles. Today actors like Rao Ramesh and others have become popular and directors close to Prakash Raj also have stopped approaching him. "This is fine. I have known this for long time. I knew this from the beginning of the career that every actor has certain prime time. Other actors will come over the time. So I have no issues on this front."

Working with Priyadarshan!

He is great director; I loved doing 'Kanjeevaram'. Now he directed 'SilaSamayangalil' (Sometimes) which will be screened at Golden Globes.

What next?

Currently I am working for Dil Raju's production 'SatamanamBhavati'. I have also wrapped my Hindi direction 'Tadka' with Nana Patekar. Also planning another movie titled '60 YelluChamana Chaya'.

Status of development of the village!

Prakash Raj adopted a village KondareddyPalle, a village in Mahababu Nagar district in Telangana to make it an all-rounded developed village. "Half the work has been completed. Currently school building is being constructed. I am looking at sustainable development. So it takes some time to see the results. I am actually a bridge between the villagers and the government. There is visible development already."

- By Venugopal