INTERVIEW | ‘I am happy to still be relevant in cinema’, says veteran actor Prakash Raj

Prakash Raj talks about his upcoming series "Mukhbir- The Story of a Spy", his directorial plans, taking the OTT plunge, and his dream project

Published: 03rd November 2022 08:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd November 2022 08:07 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

Veteran actor Prakash Raj has not only donned several hats such as producer and director, but he has also made a mark for himself in almost all the prominent film industries across the country. Interestingly, the five-time National Award winner, who has been acting since the mid-90s is just making his OTT debut with Mukhbir- The Story of a Spy. Speaking to Cinema Express, the veteran discusses about his foray into the new stream, his choice of films, and much more. 


What drove you to sign a spy thriller?
First and foremost, it’s an interesting genre. The film covers events that happened sometime in the ‘60s. The story is intriguing and is a reflection of the nation of those times. As I was preparing for the role, I was exposed to several things, and discovered the ecosystem of that era. Understanding the role of Mukhbir, his street smartness, my role as a spy’s mentor, and realising the journey of an unsung hero were captivating aspects of working in this series. While we know about the wars that happened on the battlegrounds, this series takes you through the wars within, and how it changes him.

Spy thrillers are said to have a niche audience, where do you think the Indian audience stands with this genre?
While it is in the spy thriller genre, Mukhbir is primarily a slice-of-life drama. Thanks to OTT, people have now a wider palate of content consumption. I trust the audience to love this series despite the cacophony of other content. Thankfully, we are no longer limited to having just a couple of genres. Mukhbir is a thriller with a human story at heart.

How would you describe your debut OTT experience?  
It’s new, fresh, and has a variety of options, and opportunities... what’s not to like? I did have to do some reinventing and unlearning, which I absolutely enjoyed. These platforms are not just a boon for filmmakers and actors but for audience craving for quality content. With Mukhbir, I got to work with Zain (Khan Durrani), who did such a fantastic job. I watched him grow through the well-written series. Adil (Hussain) was brilliant too. I have been an admirer of his work. All of the cast and crew were a joy to work with, and in director Shivam (Nair) I met a beautiful human whose honest work, perseverance, belief, and attention to detail inspired me to learn and unlearn on the sets.

It’s been a while since you’ve donned the director’s hat... 
Hopefully, next year. I’m currently working on a script and I hope to finish it soon. A lot of things are on my plate right now. A lot of commitments are present post the pandemic, and there’s a lot to do across many languages. Apart from these assignments, I also have my farming, and my time with the plants, etc... (smiles)

Has the pandemic changed your outlook towards work or life in general?
It has changed everybody. Personally, I have become more intentional about everything in life. I can’t take anything for granted anymore.  

How do you see the growing trend of South Indian films becoming pan-Indian successes?
I’m happy that content is taking primary space. Languages don’t matter anymore. Hindi films being dubbed into other languages and vice versa is a win-win situation for all. It’s so nice to see that audiences can now watch content from all languages and regions. This opens doors to more talent, stories, and genres, and builds confidence in all kinds of filmmakers that there are takers for their work.
You’ve played myriad roles, do you happen to have a dream role or a list of directors and actors you wish to collaborate with?
I enjoy what is offered to me. My wanting to do something just because I’m an actor would be very selfish. I’m rejoicing at the kind of roles and scripts that come to me every day. I’m happy to be relevant in cinema. There is satisfaction in knowing that I’m still needed and filmmakers think of me for challenging roles. 

Your dream project, Ranga Maarthaanda is in the making...
It’s a beautiful project that will surprise viewers. I wanted to direct it, but I realised I couldn’t do it. The script required someone like Krishna Vamsi to do it, and I’m so thankful he accepted to do it. He brought so much beauty to the film. And at this point in my career, I would say that it’s a very fulfilling film to do. The journey changed me as a person, and there is so much to take away from the film. I can’t wait for all of you to relish it. 

India Matters


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