Prakash Raj has agreed to this interview in a moment of weakness. When we met the actor at Madh Island, he was taking a lunch break. Dressed in a green lungi and kurta, the otherwise reticent actor looked every inch the goon of the film.
Many of us know him as Jaykant Shikre of Singham, Gani Bhai of Wanted and Kabir Bhai of Bbuddah Hoga Tera Baap. In an exclusive interview with HitList, in fact his first since Singham, the actor opens up about Bollywood and life in general in his traditional wit and style.
How has your journey to Bollywood from South been so far?
Well, not bad. I have travelled in Jet Airways, Kingfisher and Indian Airlines from Chennai/Hyderabad so far. The flights were decent (his infamous sense of humour takes off). On a more serious note, the films I have done till now fall in my comfort zone. I worked with directors like Rohit Shetty, Puri Jagannath and Prabhudeva whom I knew well. It was in Singham that I got a real taste of the working culture in Bollywood. When I will see directors/producers envisioning me as a Jat character or as a protagonist from UP, I will feel that people have started accepting Prakash Raj, the actor. Honestly, I think I will take four to five years to be ‘famous’ in Bollywood.
Many critics are saying that you have brought back the super villain. Are you open to other roles?
I guess that the audience loved to see a villain who’s stylish, hilarious, entertaining and lovable. When I saw a few elderly gentlemen smiling at me at the airport and saying Jaykant Shikre’s dialogue “Aata majhi satakli aahe” I was overjoyed. And even when little kids come running to me for autographs. Imagine people loving the villain… it can’t get better than this. I am an actor, not a villain. An actor is a beggar. He cannot decide on what roles he wants or wishes to enact. You do the parts you are offered. Simple.
How is it working with Salman Khan in Dabangg 2?
Bhaijaan is a very cool guy. He is a very self-assured person, and always gives enough space to his co-actors. He doesn’t throw any tantrums, and is a no-nonsense person. But what I love about him is the manner in which he cares for people he is close to. Salman shows interest in my Bollywood career, and his concern is very heart-warming. He is a gem of a person.
What is the difference in the work culture in the South and Bollywood?
I think work is a lot of fun in Bollywood. Every day is like a celebration. I find this comparison between B-Town and South funny. The Indian film industry is the same everywhere. When actors wax eloquent about working in the South, I find it hilarious. It is not like they are shuttling between Hollywood and Bollywood. And the talk of people in the South being too professional and punctual is also a tad over the top. We don’t have universities to impart lessons in professionalism down South (Laughs out loud). But yes, I only like to work with passionate people be in the South or Bollywood.
Your wife Pony tells us that you are a very romantic person?
Well, it is a nice thing to hear. I love her a lot. She has brought a lot of energy into my life. I like to do small things for her, to see her happy. If she finds that romantic then it’s nice. I love Pony’s positive attitude and her passion for dance. In fact, Pony is like my