'I felt Muran was like my own production'
Prasanna is quite different from other Tamil actors of his age. Others may sign whatever films come their way, but this talented young man waits for the right script, the right film and the right role. There may have been huge gaps between his films and they may not be huge box office hits, but each of his films from his very first Five Star to Azhagiya Theeye and the recent Achamundu, Achamundu are still remembered and talked about.
His next release (on September 30) is UTV's first Tamil production, Muran, directed by debutant Rajan Madhav. Acting with Prasanna is the national award-winning director Cheran.
In this interview, an excited Prasanna talks about Muran, and his space in the industry.
How did Muran happen?
Muran happened because of two people. One is Rajan Madhav, who has been my friend and has encouraged me and supported me for the last six years. We have been trying to work together for a long time but nothing materialised till now. Then, he started working as an assistant to Mysskin and he introduced me to Mysskin and Anjathe happened.
Whenever Rajan wrote a script, he used to make me read it. The same was the case with Muran.
The second person I am grateful to is Cheran Sir. Rajan was clear that he would cast only me and Cheran Sir in the protagonists' roles. Rajan felt only Cheran Sir could do his role. Any young actor could have done my role, but Rajan wanted only me. As Rajan had a problem in getting a producer, Cheran Sir stepped in and the film started rolling. And then, as you know, UTV came in.
Were you actively involved in the making of the film?
I felt it was like my own production. I knew what kind of confidence Cheran Sir and Rajan had in me. Whenever I do a film, I try to be as involved in the production as possible. I try to be comfortable with the producer, director, actors, technicians... everybody.
'Cheran Sir has always been appreciative of my work'
You and Cheran, a national award winning director, are together most of the time in the film. What was it like having him as a co-star?
My association with Cheran Sir goes back many years. He has always been appreciative of my work. After watching my second film, Azhagiya Theeye, he called me to his production house and said he wanted to produce a film with me. Somehow, it did not materialise. Finally, Muran happened.
I must tell you something. On his request, I dubbed for Pokkisham. When he first asked me, I told him, Sir, I have not dubbed for anyone in my life. But he was insistent. He wanted someone who can pronounce Tamil properly. I was to read the poetically written letters. He was so happy with my work that he gifted me a watch! Needless to say, it is my prized possession.
Because of the kind of relationship we share, working with Cheran Sir was very easy and comfortable for me. He never tried to dominate my space in the film even when he was the producer.
Who are you in the film?
I play Arjun, the son of a millionaire, a spoilt brat. Arjun likes to raise his adrenalin levels all the time. He drives vehicles at a high speed as speed gives him a thrill. He does whatever comes to his mind. It was fun doing the role.
Image: A still from Muran
'I do not like to do films that I don't believe in'
Is it a road film?
It is not a complete road movie but the film starts on a road when two people from different backgrounds, different ideals about life, meet. They travel together for a short time. The conversation and the interactions bring about a change in their lives. That is what the film is all about. The dialogues between our two characters are very interesting.
What are your expectations from the film?
Hard to say. We have all put our heart and soul into the film. We hope to be appreciated for making a good film.
Have you ever felt that you should have been doing so-called commercial films too? Or, are you happy doing the kind of meaningful cinema that you are doing?
I am extremely happy doing the kind of films I believe in. I do not like to do films that I don't believe in. Yes, I have made such mistakes and they have failed, but I can't be right all the time. I am happy that people have appreciated films like Achamundu Achamundu, Anajethe, Kanda Naal Muthal and Naanayam... all these films were critically acclaimed and did reasonably well at the box-office too. I am happy about it. I think if you want to reach to the top, you need to act in masala commercial films too. I want to make people realise that I am a good actor and then evolve into a hero. That will give me a longer run in the industry.
Image: A still from Muran
'I rarely come across scripts that excite me'
Why such a long gap between your films?
I didn't plan to do just one film a year. It just happened. I don't mind acting in ten films in a year and making a lot of money (laughs) but I am not much bothered about money. I want appreciation for my talent. The problem is, I rarely come across scripts that excite me. That takes time. What is more important is good films and not money.
If you look at the careers of the top heroes of today like Vijay or Ajith, you will see that they have done off-beat and serious films in the earlier days. They slowly evolved into mass action heroes when people started loving them.
You are always referred to as one of the most talented actors, but many actors of your age have become popular heroes. Do you feel bad about this?
On the contrary, I feel happy, responsible, and thankful because I am referred to as a good and talented actor. Of course, sometimes I feel a little bad. But I don't regret doing only the kind of films I believe in.