Remember how WWE shows used to come with ‘Do not try this at home’ disclaimers. Similarly, Prabhudheva’s dance moves should come with elaborate disclaimers saying, “Do not try this at home unless you have a body of jelly”. Arguably the best dancer in India, Prabhudheva’s feet are iconic for the magic tricks they perform. A prolific talent, he has been dubbed as India’s Michael Jackson. But, Prabhudheva the star is beyond Prabhudheva the dancer. The actor has juggled several hats – hero, choreographer, director and producer with consummate ease.
Prabhudheva’s sense of humour and comic timing is brilliant as several of his films have shown. The actor’s immensely memorable collaborations with Vadivelu, Kamal, and several such other humourists have produced some great comedy sequences that still tickle our funny bones. There are several romantic comedies of Prabhudheva that have very similar storylines — star-crossed lovers who face insurmountable struggles to join hands. But the performances, songs, and of course the comedy, make several of these for a happy watch when we get re-runs on Television. As the actor-dancer celebrates his birthday today, here are five films that showcase Prabhudheva, the comedian.
Directed by Shankar, Kadhalan was a film that gave a breakthrough to Prabhudheva as an actor. The film won four National Awards and also gave Prabhudheva an immense shot in the arm as an actor. The film aptly plays to Prabhudheva’s strengths, not just dance, but also comedy and romance. For any doubts, please watch the iconic “Pettai Rap” song and let me know if you didn’t have a grin on the face while watching it.
From the stable of Rajiv Menon, a filmmaker Kollywood misses, Minsara Kanavu was another huge hit for Prabhudheva. With a soundtrack that was ethereal, Minsara Kanavu was one of Prabhudheva’s most memorable performances. Prabhudheva shares screen space with Aravind Swami and Kajol but holds and excels in his own space.
As the painter with a stutter, Prabhudheva’s act in Kadhala Kadhala is downright hilarious. His combination with Kamal Haasan is prolific in this ensemble comedy, where Prabhudheva’s character becomes the perfect source for the punchlines from Kamal and the rest. Kaadhala Kaadhala is a classic example of how Prabhudheva can floor us with this comic timing.
Prabhudheva and Vadivelu seem to have an equation that is quite unique. Starting from Kaadhaln, the duo has given us several humour tracks that are legendary in their own right. Manathai Thirudivittai is a great example of what fun this duo can bring on screen. Being the subtle enabler to Vadivelu’s theatrics, the film’s comedy is an absolute riot.
Ullam Kollai Pogudhe:
Playing a mimicry artist who struggles to make ends meet, Prabhudheva falls in love with his sister’s friend. Directed by Sundar C, the film is a good mix of pathos and humour — an example of the kind of films Prabhudheva did in the 90s. The song “Puyale Puyale” encapsulates the kind of comedy that Prabhudheva excelled at — a subtler version of slapstick that hits the right notes.