The critics loved him as the hot-tempered yet fun-loving gangster in 'Chhal' way back in 2002 when he hit the big screen after a long stint in TV. And, the love affair continues even a decade later. With his versatility and passion for work, Prashant Narayanan has earned himself a spot in an industry where the fate of actors is determined by box-office reviews.
Undeterred by the phenomenon of hits and flops, Narayanan has simply focused on delivering — be it as the romantic Ravi in Academy Award-winning German director Florain Gallenberger’s Bengali movie 'Shadows of Time' (2004) or as the psychopathic killer Dheeraj Pandey of 'Murder 2' for which he bagged both Filmfare and Screen Awards last year.
Success has not changed Narayanan. “If ever you become successful in life, don’t look surprised. There are very few people in the industry who are genuinely acknowledged as an actor. I have been fortunate enough to be used to that acknowledgement for years now,’’ says the actor.
Leaving behind an eventful year with films like 'Murder 2', 'Yeh Saali Zindagi' and 'Bhindi Bazaar', Narayanan’s hands are now full with some interesting projects from Bollywood as well as down south. His much-talked-about political thr'iller Main Anna Nahin Hoon' is releasing on September 21 in which he plays a poor and reluctant encounter cop who succumbs under pressure. Written and directed by Manish Gupta, the film has an ensemble cast with fine actors such as Rajendra Gupta, Samir Dharmadikari and Rajesh Shingapur.
Then there is Shilpa Shetty and Raj Kundra’s first production venture, 'Dishkiyaaaon' where he is back in his gangster avatar. “I am playing this extremely flamboyant gangster called Mota Tony. In fact, director Sanam Talwar has characterised this role on Lord Krishna,’’ the actor says.
Narayanan is earning rave reviews down south too. He recently made his debut in Malayalam cinema with Sibi Malayil’s 'Unnam'. Though the film wasn’t received too well by the audience, Narayanan’s role was widely appreciated.
Recalling the experience, the actor, a Malayali himself, says shooting for the film was initially a nightmare. “There are so many varieties of Malayalam spoken from the south to the north of Kerala. I come from the north and it’s pretty colloquial the way we communicate. And suddenly here I was in the middle of a Malayalam film where I had to be saying all those words with full pronunciation and all.’’
Narayanan at present is also working for another Malayalam film 'Edavapathy 'with Manisha Koirala, which is being directed by Lenin Rajendran. He is also making his Tamil debut this year with 'Nendunchaalai'. “I play the main villain in 'Nendunchaalai' and already the locals where we were shooting were referring to me as the young Rajinikanth,’’ he says.
While Narayanan is open to the idea of working in south more often, he gradually wants to shift his attention to his recently launched production house ‘Getting There Productions’. “I am slowly getting bored of acting for others. That is why Getting There happened. We have planned some interesting projects which will be announced shortly,’’ the actor says.
Narayanan, known to experiment with and explore, (he started as an assistant art director, has worked as a costume director and also sung for Bhindi Bazaar), is all set to launch his line of T-shirts inspired by his success mantra “Being Yourself”. “I am starting a new range of T-shirts which is called Being Yourself. That’s the only thing which is ever going to get you to wherever you want to be, otherwise you will always be there where some others want you to be. So it’s your call to decide,’’ the actor signs off.