The Masala Man

Three years since Wanted,Prabhudheva seems to have become more confident as a director.

Written by PriyankaPereira | Published:May 12, 2012 2:58 am

Three years since Wanted,Prabhudheva seems to have become more confident as a director. This is evident in the manner in which he proclaims: “Rowdy Rathore is a super film. You will love it.” His Hindi language skills,too,have picked up. This,and spending more time in Mumbai,have helped him bag his first Hindi film as lead actor — ABCD: Any Body Can Dance — directed by Remo D’Souza. “It is a dance-based film. They were wiling to accommodate me despite my busy schedule,” adds Prabhudheva.

In mid-90s,this dancer-turned-director got noticed in Bollywood for his dance numbers Muqabla and Ursvashi. His second stint in Hindi cinema happened when he directed Wanted,the Hindi remake of his hit Tamil movie,Pokiri. Consequently,the success of Wanted became instrumental in reviving the genre of masala entertainers in Bollywood,and also created a brand for Salman Khan. Prabhudheva,however,maintains that Bollywood has always been about masala films. “There are so many directors who have tried it. I am just one of them.”

As he is talking,his sons — Rishidheva (9) and Adidheva (4) — are busy prancing around him. But he seems keen to share the story of his unsual journey from a dancer to a top-bracket director.

His second directorial venture in Hindi,Rowdy Rathore — starring Akshay Kumar and Sonakshi Sinha,which releases on June 1 — also promises to be a full-scale masala entertainer. While revealing the plot of the film,which revolves around a conman,he tell us about the difficulties of making a mass entertainer. “The ingredients are the same: action,comedy,romance,emotion,but then we need a twist which is unique to each film,” says the 39-year-old. “Similarly,Rowdy Rathore is a lot like Wanted,but the storyline is different.”

Since it is a remake of South Indian film Vikramarkudu,adjustments have been made,bearing in mind the actor and the Hindi-speaking audience. Prabhudheva,however,doesn’t find working in Mumbai any different from working down south. “I am used to the set-up and the producers; I don’t feel out of place. And the friendly nature of the cast and crew adds to the pleasant experience,” says the filmmaker.

Prabhudheva owes his filmmaking abilities to his early days in the industry as a dancer. As a child,he started out as a Bharatanatyam dancer. “I found it too boring to wake up at 6 am to attend dance classes. It was only when I did not do well in studies that I realised dance was the only saving grace for me. So I started taking it seriously,” he says.

His elasticity as a dancer gave him a break as the ‘item boy’ in films. “My six to seven dance numbers were superhits,” he adds. This made directors cast him in films as an actor. “Acting led to an interest in direction,where I could create my own world,” he says.

Today,Prabhudheva is in a content space — enjoying popularity both down South as well as in Bollywood. He manages his time well between direction and acting assignments. “Between the making of Wanted and Rowdy Rathore,I acted in two Tamil films. Now,I will complete work on ABCD,after which I move on to my third project in Hindi.” So do we see him take on serious genre this time? He laughs out loud. “Serious genre,from me? Even if I am ready to make it,the audience will not be ready to take it,” he says.

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