To Prakash with Love : There is no doubt about the fact that Raghuvaran is irreplaceable but if ever there was someone who could step into Raghu’s shoes with ease it has to be Prakash Raj. I first fell in love with Prakash Raj when he uttered ” Pannada Pannada 10am class Pannada”. I didn’t know his name back in those days. Love for an artist always happens that way. All it takes is that one stellar performance to fall in love. For me it all started with that mysoginistic husband in Kalki. From that point there was no looking back.
Prakash was a chameleon. He could fit into any role or be anybody without resorting to makeover gimmicks. Even as a badass villain he can be delightfully charming and sinster at the same time. He can deftly underplay whenever he wants to. He played Ajith’s role in Vaali not once but twice in Aasai and Poomani. And both the times he was absolutely convincing despite the fact that Ajith had walked away with all the accolades between these two films.
It was an absolute delight to see him share screen space with Raghuvaran in two films. I love Daya and Dosth for the same reason. There’s even a real life reference in Daya when Prakash says ” Nee Vena Greatest ah irukalam aana naan thaan latest”. I clapped when I first heard this on DVD. Raghu’s greatest wish as an actor was to play the role of a female or transgender. But he could never that. But Prakash did that in Appu.
With every step that he took on celluloid he evolved into a splendid personality who was willing to learn and be good at what he did. There was that constant urge to tell new stories even as cinema stereotyped as the typical villain.
Though I love him as a villain it is those softer roles of Prakash which often give me that warm fuzzy feeling that all is good in life. If I had to pick my top 3 it would always be Azhagiya Theeye , Mozhi and Abhiyum Naanum. He had so much to give as an artist that I feel cinema has underutilized him.
Whenever good films become mediocre because of bad villains I immediately yearn for Prakash Raj and think how good he would be in that particular role. Radhika once said that Prakash Raj was in consideration for all the main male roles in Chennaiyil Oru Naal. Prakash was always that good. He learnt the languages and gave his 100 percent every single time.
I hope we don’t lose him to Telugu industry. Tamil cinema badly needs Prakash. He is the last of my fab 4 villains of Tamil cinema. There’s Rajini, Sathyaraj , Raghuvaran and Prakash Raj and I wish he returns to the land of his guru atleast for one final flourish.
Happy birthday Chellam. Keep enthralling us. We love you 3000.