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Comeback trail

A tête-à-tête with Rajendra Prasad on his fresh flicks, son Balaji's debut and more


RAJENDRA PRASAD is back after a hiatus with Apparao Driving School- Aadavalaki Matrame and Aa Naluguru. Though the first one had been declared a moderate movie, the later is doing well and the actor is glowing with success. Even though this actor's films have shattered the myth that comedies can enjoy only moderate success but cannot become smash hits, yet the Telugu film industry is still not putting faith in the genre and is churning out a plethora of inane love stories and action movies. "Right from the time of Ladies Tailor to the next ten years, there has been a riot of comedy films. It is not that the Telugu film industry has always been reluctant to explore this genre. Everyone these days want to make a comedy movie and that itself is a winning point for me. For sometimes it was a season of formula films but there has always been a value for me as an actor and roles and responsibility edged only around me."

Title debacle

The comedy hero explains the shortcoming of the title Apparao Driving School Aadavalaki Matrame. "My analysis was that people came to the film because it was Apparao's Driving School and they were disappointed because Apparao didn't teach driving to ladies as mentioned in the title. The audience as usual expected Rajendra Prasad to be naughty but the story turned out to be a bit mature and people didn't like me giving sermons as a senior artiste. Whereas in Aa Naluguru, I loved the character. My look was original, there was no mask. The society needs a person like Raghuramiahgaru very badly. When you watch the movie you will not find Rajendra Prasad anywhere but only the character glaring at you."

About his handsome son making his debut in Tamil films in early January, Rajendra Prasad adds, "people in Andhra have a lot of expectations. Just because I happen to be a comedy hero they might not accept Balaji in a particular role. I want him to carve a niche for himself and create his own place in the industry weather it is a villain, hero, comedian or any other character artiste. I felt a perfect launch would be in Tamil. He should work hard and come up on his own in a langue and a territory alien to his father".

Language problem

Ask him why he had confined himself to Telugu cinema if he considered comedy universal, he says, "when Ladies Tailor became a smashing hit, Ramanathan, who introduced Amitabh Bachchan to films, asked me to act in a Hindi remake, and I declined his offer. That was only because of the language problem. Not that I can't speak Tamil or Hindi. One should have a perfect sense of control over the language and that happens only if it is your mother tongue. You can only speak in a different language because the dialogues are written for you but you can't improvise on it. I feel one should have language control. We have examples of many southern artistes who didn't do well in the north."

Talking about his next project he concludes that Pellam Picchodu and Andhagadu are total entertainers. There is no mushy melodrama or slam-bang action but only comedy, which is an integral part of the narrative. Pellam Picchodu revolves around a husband's relationship with his wife and in Andhagaadu, he works for a Jingles group. His problem is he looks so odd that a girl never looks at him or speaks to him. So he falls in love with a devil. That is the subject," he sums up all geared for his forthcoming releases.

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

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