HYDERABAD: Born in Karnataka, lives in Chennai and frequently travels and works in Hyderabad – actor-filmmaker Prakash Raj has proven to be versatile in many senses. Having worked in all languages in South India and speaking each fluently, it was no surprise when he decided to direct and act in a trilingual.
Displaying immense calm and confidence, he seemed rather relaxed post the release of Ulavacharu Biriyani when he sat down for a chat with City Express in the city on the Sunday. Calling himself a compulsive multi-tasker, he tells us why making his latest in three languages was a natural choice.
“When I watched the Malayalam film Salt N Pepper, I really liked the glamour, story and screenplay of the film. Also, I am very fond of food and hence thought of making a few changes to the script and making the film in a different language. After much deliberation, I decided to take it and make a trilingual,” he shares of the evolution of Ulavacharu Biriyani.
Having made his debut as a director with the Kannada film Naanu Nanna Kanasu (it was a remake of the Tamil film Abhiyum Nanum that was also dubbed into Telugu as Akashamantha), he followed it up with the Tamil-Telugu bilingual Dhoni. The actor says he looks for something special in a script before taking up a film.
“It was quite a challenge but I like these kind of challenges. I thought this was the need of the hour, especially at a time when pan-Indian films are doing so well and with successful remakes happening. I thought I’ll optimise talent and work,” says the man who knew well the task he was undertaking in not just two, but three different languages.
With Ulavacharu... hitting screens on Friday, the director is pleased with the initial response and hopes that it will continue.
“The initial response is always good. This film opened rather well in Kannada, while in Tamil it was even better. In Telugu, people are more used to watching really high octane movies. For them, films are about the experience. But many people told me that they felt hungry after watching the film, so that’s beautiful.”
Bringing in the rather fresh concept of food, one might wonder if he was nervous, considering it does not guarantee the success which comes with having a star in it. However, Prakash Raj has a different view.
“I think in Tollywood today, there is an audience for every genre. Films with big stars do well but even the ones with youth actors are doing pretty well. Family films have done well too. Some youngsters like high octane action films, while others may opt for a breezy entertainer,” he points.
When quizzed about whether the industry is going through a change, the 49-year-old is quick to disagree. “The industry has always gone in circles. Remakes are made, commercial films are made and then there will be a time when someone has a fresh idea and a movie is made on a different concept. Then you also have these melodramas and action thrillers. The industry thrives in breaking the monotony and comes up with something different all the time.”
Last seen in Race Gurram, Prakash Raj is clear that he is still very much involved as an actor despite his occasional foray into direction. We wonder if his immediate future plans include him being behind the camera or in front of it. “There are a lot of plans, but I’m right now completely focused on Ulavacharu.... I’m very encouraged with the concept of a trilingual – about how a single thought process can reach out to so many people in different languages and regions. But I’m also still busy as an actor; I’m someone who needs to multi-task, so I plan to go with the flow,” he concludes.