Prakash Raj on `Mozhi'

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Meera Srinivasan

Chennai: His performance, screen presence and dialogue delivery speak volumes. Every time the theatre-bred actor outshines the role he played last, leaving fans asking for more. Now a sought-after producer, actor Prakash Raj speaks on the success of his company, Duet Movies' `Mozhi' and his upcoming projects to this scribe.

Walking into his Adyar office in his checked cotton shirt and jeans, he eagerly asks, "What's the score?" as South Africa lose their first wicket in the semi-final against Australia. We proceed to his office room. A bookshelf stacked with many volumes of Alexei Tolstoy's work and several other books welcomes you. Settling down, he starts reflecting on the `Mozhi' experience...

"The success of `Mozhi' is very heartening. This is Radha Mohan (director) for you. I've known him for ten years. He can see humour in just about anything," he says, adding, "Cinema is not a mere craft for me. A film says who the producer is, who the director is and what the cast is. It is your identity." Team `Mozhi' saw the film as a common platform to prove themselves. The script was ready much ahead of the shoot and the team met several times before they went to the sets. "All of us knew what we were doing and it was an opportunity for us to say, "Hey, we're capable of this" and the audience have in turn said, "Guys, we love you." They won't forgive us if we do a clichéd movie now."

Prakash Raj and Radha Mohan will soon take `Mozhi' to the Cannes Film Festival. Speaking about his character in the film, he says, "The Viji you see in the film is the brat I am. It was easy... I was just being myself." On the other hand, playing someone you are not is different, he says. "You have to be consistent." Duet Movies' upcoming projects are a film by Radha Mohan and `Velli Thirai' by Viji, the dialogue writer of `Mozhi.'

New projects

He proposes to document information on stalwarts of the industry. Besides documenting achievements of the greats such as Sridhar and K. Balachander, he plans to study trends such as the growth of posters, film criticism and portrayal of women in cinema.

Prakash Raj is also working, with director Priyadarshan, on a project based on lives of weavers. Time, for him, is never a constraint.

"The busiest man on this earth is one who has a little more time." Interestingly, Prakash Raj seems to have time for everything his family, friends and of course, cricket.

"It is not in me to complain. If I feel strongly about something I plunge into action. There's no point yelling at anyone," he says, descending the staircase at his office and catching a glimpse of the match. "Oh my God, South Africa are 49 for 5...kizhinjithu po!"




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