Prakash Raj: Acting constitutes just five per cent of my life
Prakash Raj is ready to release his third film as director today, June 6. This actor has also produced the film this time.
The film has been made in three languages – Kannada, Tamil and Telugu. All three versions will release simultaneously.
This is the remake of the Malayalam film Salt N Pepper directed by Aashiq Abu.
The Kannada version is titled Oggarane (spicing up), and the Tamil version is titled Un Samayil Arayil (in your kitchen), based on a popular song. The Telugu film is titled Ulavacharu Biryani.
Prakash Raj plays the lead and Sneha plays the female lead in all the versions. The national award winning actor has also acquired the rights to remake the Malayalam original in Hindi.
In this interview, Prakash Raj talks about the film and what it takes for him to be an actor.
What is Oggarane all about?
It is a middle-aged love story. I play a 45-year-old archaeologist in love with a 32-year-old woman who is a dubbing artiste.
Both are loners who lead normal lives without the trappings of falling in love. A chance encounter brings them together and that is because of food.
Both are foodies and good cooks. They start sharing food without meeting each other. The story is about how they get into a comfort zone, get separated and come back.
The film is a lovely discussion about love. A young pair adds the twist to the tale with the guy playing my sister’s son while the girl is the dubbing artiste’s roommate.
Image: Prakash Raj
'I am opposed to the idea of dubbing films into Kannada'
What changes have you made to the Malayalam original?
I liked the idea and the premise of the film, which I have made into my own. You should see the film to see the changes that I have made.
The food is different in all the three versions. Perceptions and motives are different and there are no songs in the original.
I have introduced three new characters. While M S Narayan is in the Telugu version, Thambi Ramaiah is playing the same role in Tamil and Achyutha in Kannada.
Mandya Ramesh and Brahmanandam are there in the Kannada and Telugu versions. Four characters – the young pair and the older pair - are common in all the versions.
Why did you choose to direct a remake?
I am opposed to the idea of dubbing films into Kannada. But if there’s a good story that can be told, I am not worried about whether it is a remake. It is the story that matters.
Image: A scene from Oggarane
'I lead a simple life and that keeps me healthy'
What are the challenges you faced while directing three versions simultaneously?
The food is different. Popular foods in Karnataka like Ragi Mudde (ragi balls) and Akki Rotti don’t work in Tamil or Telugu. Meenu Kolumbu, a popular dish in Tamil Nadu, will not work here.
It was an exhilarating and wonderful experience working on three versions simultaneously as they are three different cultures. A lot of planning and research went into the making.
The film has its own language and was shot extensively in Mysore. There’s a new dish that has become popular in Andhra Pradesh. It’s a biryani made of horse gram masala.
It represents Telangana and Seemandhra. The biryani represents Telangana and the horse gram masala is unique to Seemandhra.
We are ready to serve a good film to our audiences.
How do you manage to find time to act in all languages, including Hindi cinema?
A busy man is someone who doesn’t find 24 hours enough to do his work. But for me, even after I finish my work, I find a lot of time for myself.
People who are lazy say that they don’t have enough time to do things. I lead a simple life and that keeps me healthy.
I don’t bother about trivial issues. I am the master of my time. I decide how I spend my time. I act in a few films, produce a few of them and direct a few films.
Image: Prakash Raj
'Life is my first love'
Is acting your first love?
No. Who told you that? Life is my first love.
Acting constitutes just five per cent of my life. People are seeing only five per cent of me.
The remaining 95 per cent is what I am, being myself. I am a farmer; I plough my land with a tractor of my own.
I am a husband, son and father, a reader, a traveller, a fan and also a cook.
Life is my greatest inspiration and teacher.
You speak and communicate so well in Tamil and Telugu and you have also learnt to read and write in these languages.
I did read Telugu literature for a year and was able to understand Telugu culture better. It is very easy to learn languages. If you know your mother tongue well, it is easy to learn all languages.
Also, it is possible to learn new languages if you love them and take them to be your own. That’s how I have earned the love of people everywhere.
What are your forthcoming projects? You were in talks to act in a Steven Spielberg film. When is that happening?
About the offer to work in a Hollywood film, we were waiting for the elections to get over. I will tell you when it happens.
I am going to surprise you with a four-language film. I am planning to make a film in four languages. The script is ready and you will hear about it soon. It is not going to be a remake.
Image: A scene from Oggarane