While many veteran actors have contemplated direction at some point, Prasanna doesn’t think he ever will.
“Acting has been my only passion from my school days. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
The actor is glad to be a part of Nibunan, Arjun’s 150th film. “One might expect a regular cop film, but Nibunan is anything but,” says Prasanna. “Despite being in a serious profession, cops do have a lighter side. Nibunan will be like a slice of a cop’s life.” Elaborating on his role, he says, “I play Joseph, a funny and witty cop. He doesn’t behave seriously even in a crime scene.”
This isn’t the only detective film he’s part of. He’s also in Mysskin’s Thupparivaalan that stars Vishal. The film’s teaser, released recently, hinted at inspirations from the Sherlock Holmes stories. “People are clever these days. Right from when we released the first look posters, people have been making this comparison.” The teaser shows Prasanna running into a hospital room in a surgeon’s get-up.
“I’m not a doctor; I play a chef actually,” he says. “We have many detective stories in our land. Ganesh-Vasanth (created by Sujatha) is a classic example. Thupparivaalan takes inspiration from such stories, and not from Sherlock Holmes. Though both this film and Nibunan seem similar in theme, my roles are very different.”
Prasanna is also a part of Thiruttu Payale 2, in which he plays a villain. “Thiruttu Payale 2 isn’t really a sequel. As for my character, well, everyone is made up of different shades. That’s the crux of this film.”
He begins to talk about his choice of roles. “I always hated being branded as a chocolate boy. I’ve been trying hard to break that image, and want people to see me differently. That’s why I did such a role in Pa Paandi.”
But that said, he can’t really shy away from a good love story. “If it’s something like Kanda Naal Mudhal, why not? I’m also getting a bit tired of all the thriller-horror scripts.”
Arjun motivated him to work on his body. “I wanted to showcase myself in a different way in this film. We had an event before the start of Nibunan when I was absolutely in awe of Arjun sir’s perfect physique, given his age. That was the spark I needed,” he says.
And this transformation fetched him a villain role in a Telugu film titled Jawaan. “It will mark my reentry into Telugu cinema after Bhai in 2013,” he says.
Prasanna may not have established himself as a masala hero, but that’s because he didn’t want to. “I’m wondering now if that was a mistake. I never cared about the fights, duets or comedy tracks. Maybe you’ll see Prasanna as a hero in some films in the future.”
That’s probably why he has decided to cut down on the number of multi-starrers he’s part of. “I think it’s high time I showed my full range of talent. I think solo-hero subjects could help me do that.”
I ask if he will do a film with his spouse, Sneha, especially because she’s doing a prominent role in the upcoming Velaikkaran.
“She has been turning down many offers as Vihaan (their son) is turning two this year. Even while shooting for Velaikkaran, she is with him on the sets. Also, we made a very strong decision to never do a film together. Fans may want us to, and that’s why sometimes, we do ads together.”