Actor Prasanna is excited about the different characters he is playing in his next two Tamil releases and his debut Telugu film

Prasanna has always gone against the grain, choosing roles that test his mettle as an actor. If the upcoming Kalyana Samayal Saadham promises a joy ride in the backdrop of a wedding, the ensemble Chennaiyil Oru Naal, a remake of the Malayalam superhit Traffic, assures explosive action. The actor, whose last outing at the turnstiles was the 2011 Muran, is excited about his current projects.

In Chennaiyil, due for release soon, he plays a doctor, a role essayed by Kunchako Boban in the original. “The film has a very interesting narrative. I can’t believe I rejected the film twice, because I had just done a multi-starrer. Finally, I was convinced to watch the original. I loved it.” In this film, he again works with Cheran, his Muran co-star. “But, there’s a difference. I was driving him around in that film. He drives me around this time,” he laughs. “It’s nice to work with a young, energetic team, led by director Shahid Khader,” he adds.

Next up is R. S. Prasanna-directed Kalyana, where he shares screen space with the effervescent Lekha Washington. An unlikely pairing, but the stills reflect great screen chemistry. “It is a ‘celebration’ film; a laugh riot. The film traces all the fun, the rituals… of a traditional marriage,” he says.

The film came to him through Arun Vaidyanathan (director of Achamundu Achamundu), who was impressed with R.S. Prasanna’s work. “Arun would keep talking about Balaji Mohan, Karthik Subburaj and Prasanna and their crackling scripts. Seeing the kind of acclaim the first two got with Kaadhalil Sodhappuvadhu Yeppadi and Pizza, I wanted to be introduced to Prasanna, who was part of Vijay Amritraj’s Gateway to Hollywood,” he says.

Kalyana is 85 per cent complete and Prasanna says he enjoyed doing a comedy. “I am most excited when doing comedy. I’m glad people think I have a flair for it.”

This year, Prasanna also makes his Telugu debut with the Nagarjuna-starrer Bhai, directed by Veerabhadra Chowdhary. “I have been receiving offers from other languages, but nothing excited me. This one was special for two reasons — I play a cop, and I’m a huge fan of Nagarjuna.”

Next up, there’s Pulivaal with Vemal for Marimuthu, his Kannum Kannum director; a film with Murans Rajan Madhav; and another with Arun Vaidyanathan. That sounds like a lot of films coming out together, but Prasanna says all of them are in pre-production stage. “I’ll start work after finishing my current projects. I have been very choosy about my films since I like to focus on my roles.”

Everyone wonders why stardom has eluded him despite recognition as an actor. “Hmm…” he pauses. “I’ve only looked at scripts so far. I choose the best from what is offered to me. Of course, I’ve made mistakes and learnt from them. But, I would like to strike a balance and be called a good actor who is also commercially successful.”

The actor, who has had about 15 releases in his 11 years in the industry, insists this is a great time to be in Tamil films. “Youngsters from non-film backgrounds are making it big. So many short film makers are trying their luck. They experiment with scripts, with concepts… they bring in a new passion.”

Speaking about passion and love, how’s life post-marriage? “Great. Right now, I’m delighted about the response to her Haridas. Sneha’s never been as excited about any movie. When we were just friends, we discussed our careers, got excited about good scripts… we continue to do that. Being married to her is a joy. We’ve become more responsible. I love the feeling that after a long day’s shoot, there is someone to go home to.”