The Prabhu magic always works
Talented son of an all-time cinema great, Prabhu is making news with the home production "Chandramukhi" starring Rajinikanth. The actor-producer has a chat with MALATHI RANGARAJAN ...
Rajinikanth and Prabhu in "Chandramukhi."
JUST IN case you've not noticed, Prabhu is one hero who has been a lucky mascot for many of his ilk from Rajinikanth and Kamal Hassan to Karthik and Prabhu Deva, the magic has almost always worked. And going by the statistics, you can already state that "Chandramukhi" could well prove a runaway hit. Because this time again, after "Guru Sishyan" and "Dharmathin Thalaivan," the Rajini-Prabhu duo is all set to steer the ship of success for Sivaji Productions' "Chandramukhi."
With the shooting of "Chandramukhi" going on at a feverish pace Prabhu is staying put at the location in Hyderabad. Not always because he's shooting but because Rajini wants Prabhu there with him. Laughs Prabhu: " `Where's my producer,' he asks if I am not to be seen ... " If you've had a chance to interact with Prabhu, you would well understand the sentiment. The warmth and geniality that come across make this popular son of thespian Sivaji Ganesan special. Prabhu manages to snatch a few moments to dwell on ever so many things, and about "Chandramukhi" in particular. Cheerful and with no airs whatsoever Prabhu is a pleasure to talk to, but pinning him down for a chat isn't exactly easy ...
On the hottest project in tinsel town ...
"Our banner has already produced "Mannan" with Rajini as hero and Vasu as director. The same combination comes together again after a decade and more," says Prabhu. Who can forget the fast paced action flick with a fiery Rajinikanth pitted against a cantankerous Vijayashanthi? Prabhu had made a guest appearance in it. "Vasu and Rajinikanth suddenly asked me to come over to the shooting in Bangalore, with a couple of formal party-wear suits. When I went there they told me that there was this scene and I should do it. Remember? `Hi Prabhu' Rajini would call out to me when I entered ... Rajini had then told us that he would do another film for us. We were thrilled when after a hiatus, he has chosen the Sivaji banner again." So the mascot is a must in "Chandramukhi" too ... "Yes, I have a real nice role in this film," he laughs and modestly adds, "We are doing our best to give the audience a good, entertaining movie."
Appealing candour ...
On the sets of "Chandramukhi."
Is he into workouts and such stuff for the role? "I know what you're driving at ... " The stentorian chuckle reminds you of his illustrious father. "I remember what you said in your earlier review about my girth ... and I agree, but I can't help it, I say. I weighed 13 kg at birth! So what do you expect? But seriously ... I had a severe knee problem after a fall during a shoot, and couldn't exercise. And give me three meals a day and I'm done ... we are a fat lot yaar ... " Among artistes who presume that a film review must only be complimentary, Prabhu is admirably different. Even so, the fit hero of films like "Agni Nakshatram" and "Arangetra Vaelai" cannot be allowed to give up that easily. It is not for nothing that he's been a winning athlete and sportsman in college. "I'm passionate about horses too," smiles this avid horse rider. "Today I am also open to roles that suit me ... good character roles," he says. (Karthik and Prabhu come together next in "Gusthi.") You cannot forget his excellent footwork in the song sequence with Kamal Hassan in "Vetri Vizha" where he matched the veteran step for step. "I always had this yen for dance and a sense of rhythm, though I have had no formal training. At the Bishop Cotton School in Bangalore where I studied, we would have this day when each dancer would be paired with a girl for a dance which would be judged. I still remember Yasmin Welsh, who danced with me in the last year of school. We walked away with the prize." Prabhu gets nostalgic.
On "Chandramukhi"'s super hero ...
The Ganesans are a close-knit family. So with cousins Giri Shanmugam, nephew, and budding hero Dushyanth, uncle Venugopal and brother Ramkumar holding fort, Prabhu's responsibility as producer has more to do with giving Rajini company on the sets.
"Rajinikanth has a very good sense of humour. But he's very quiet. With his image he has to be. And he's very dedicated ... He insisted that I do the role and I agreed. It's after all his show," Prabhu's paeans don't stop.
Working with Kamal ...
"Excellent. And his flair for comedy is amazing. I learnt a lot from him during the `... MBBS' shoot. He would improvise on the spot ... He has imbibed from my dad more than I did. I was in the hostel throughout, while Kamal was acting with him even as a child ... "
How he began ...
"No struggle at all ... As Sivaji Ganesan's son entry into films was a cakewalk. And without much seriousness or great planning I've completed about 140 films ... 19 with dad. Now I marvel at the diligence and perseverance of the young heroes around me. Yet even today I get excited when I stand before the camera. And that's what sustains me ... "
The family celebrates every Sunday as Appa's day. "We have briyani for lunch for the whole family. All cousins come over and it's fun. As always the ministers of our home mom and our wives take care of things. Friends are also welcome to join us on that day ... dad was great ... " Prabhu's affectionate tone says it all.
Whether "Chandramukhi" is a Malayalam or Kannada remake is immaterial because the USP here is the superstar. And when he has Prabhu pitching in, the result sounds promising both for the makers and the eager filmgoer.
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