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Song of success

K. PRADEEP

Prem Prakash is not only a producer but also a singer and actor.



MULTI-TASKING: Prem Prakash has produced some hit Malayalam films.

Prem Prakash always delighted in singing. Very often there was hardly anyone to hear him. At home, there were `better' singers who had cut their teeth on public stages. His college, CMS College, Kottayam, was where Prem Prakash tested the waters. Gradually, Prem Prakash slipped into acting but singing remained his first love.

When it was time for him to think of a career, outside the family tea business, Prem Prakash's first choice was playback singing.

"It was perhaps a natural choice. Two of my elder brothers were good singers. The eldest, Jos Prakash, began his film career as a singer. We grew up with music around and my dream was to become a singer," reminisces Prem Prakash.

Realising a dream

That dream was realised when he got a break in the film `Kaarthika' (1968). "Music director M.S. Baburaj and my brother Jos Prakash were close friends. So, when my brother requested him to try me out as a singer, Baburaj agreed. I sang a six-line poem but it was a thrilling experience."

Even as Prem Prakash was nurturing hopes of making it big as a singer, life took a different turn. Noted director K.S. Sethumadhavan offered him a small role in the film `Aranazhika Neram.' A string of roles followed and Prem Prakash became an actor.

"Vimala Films used to distribute the films of Manjilas and its owner Mathew sir was known to me. It was he who suggested my name to Sethumadhavan. Then I acted in films like `Chattakari,' `Panitheerathu Veedu,' and so on. All the while I was hoping to use this opportunity to further my chances as a singer. But somehow that was not destined to be."

By the late Seventies, things took a new turn. Prem Prakash decided to produce a film. The film was `Peruvazhiambalam' and it had a lot of other firsts to its credit.

It was the film that really launched the career of writer-director P. Padmarajan and also introduced actor Asokan for the first time. That film was received well and Prem Prakash went on to make 15 more films, of which films like `Koode Evide,' `Akashadoothu,' `Johnny Walker' and `Ente Veedu Apoovinteyum' firmly established Prem Prakash as a successful producer.

"For me, more than the money, it is the quality of a film that is important. I have always tried to make films that would be remembered. I have a wonderful subject, written by my children Bobby and Sanjay, but there are hardly any takers. I tried selling this idea to some distributors and exhibitors but they are not prepared to take the plunge. "

Comeback in serials


Prem Prakash made an acting comeback, this time on the small screen. But before this he produced two television serials, `Avasthantharangal' and `Avicharitham.'

"Both these serials did very well. The first one won eight State awards. including The second won five awards, once again for best script and gave me my first best actor award.

"My experience has taught me that television is a safer medium for a producer. It is also highly rewarding for an actor too. The serial `Swapnam' provided the big break."

There was no looking back for Prem Prakash after that. His character roles in serials like `Roses in December,' `Streetvam,' the serials that he produced, and the tele-film `Ariyathe' was well appreciated.

"Television certainly gave me a lot of recognition as actor. It also gave wings to my singing hopes. When the musical programmes, `Symphony' and `Sangeethika' gave me the chance to sing, it was such a wonderful feeling. Now there are two serials, by K.K. Rajeev and Saji Surendran, in the pipeline."

He plays significant roles in `Rashtram' and `Inspector Balaram vs Taradas.'

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