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Thursday, October 24, 2013

7 Shades of Prabhas’ Acting Spectrum

Special Artcle on Prabhas by Must Read by all Prabhas Fans.

One of Tolkien’s most revealing lines in the Lord of the Rings, “But I am the real Strider, fortunately. I am Aragorn, son of Arathorn; and if by life or death I can save you, I will”, always held a strange ring in my head. It is the promise of a hero, but more importantly of a character, who has several shades to himself. In a land desperate for cult heroes and demi-gods, it is surprisingly hard to find too many who stand true to that promise and can look the part as Aragorn, one of the greatest heroes, literature has known. But, Prabhas has evolved, slowly but surely as one of Tollywood’s very own demi-gods. He wasn’t born a star, no. He didn’t start with a bang, a la Rishi Kapoor in Bobby or Hrithik in Kaho Na Pyaar Hai, taking the world by storm. Instead, he did what the tough heroes always did, grind, one movie at a time, one character at a time, one shade at a time. And he has arrived, in more pomp and style than we have seen in Tollywood, for a long time. So, we take some time out to dissect his seven charming shades of an ever-expanding spectrum. 

1. Fights:

With his towering persona, the one aspect he always owned was fights. He doesn’t need special effects to spruce up his machismo, nor does he really owe the directors for any exaggerated histrionics. Chatrapati, for example, put him head to head with imposing anti-heroes, with fist fights and wrestling. Whether it is the beach fight scene with the goons or the one with Baji Rao, Prabhas holds his own as the exploding young refugee, simmering with anger.

2. Comedy:

An intense personality onscreen, Prabhas doesn’t look like someone who can make people laugh, whistle yes, but not laugh. He proved his detractors wrong though, in Bujjigadu, where his comic timing conflated with his accent indulged the audience in fits of laughter. Several scenes from Bujjigadu stand out for the way he stole the show even from established comedians like Sunil. One could be reminded of the U-turn Akshay Kumar had taken to reveal his comic side in Hera Pheri, surprising everyone who had stereotyped him as an out and out action hero.

3. Dialogue delivery:

You cannot make it big in Tollywood, if you cannot churn out lengthy monologues. Period. What he loses out in decibels, he makes up for it with eloquence. In fact, it has become a Prabhas trademark, the velvety smooth anti-thesis to baritone, reverberating punch dialogues that sometimes fail to connect or resonate with the audience. He can dish out crystal clear lines of all varieties, whether it is outwitting the anti-hero or wooing the girl of his dreams. The monologue in Mr. Perfect, where he virtually transfixes everyone’s gaze without losing out on stirring emotions, with half-moist eyes is a virtuoso performance. That was when he checked a very important box, given he delivered it in front of a bigwig like Prakash Raj.

4. Romance:

Darling and Mr. Perfect stands out amongst the most romantic movies of its decade. Prabhas and Kajal Aggarwal’s chemistry was accentuated with lovely backdrops drenched in a mosaic of colors. It was part of a phase where Prabhas went for a total image-makeover, experimenting wildly with the kind of roles he did and taking extreme care of body language and styling. Sophistication slowly edged out raw aggression and audience was mesmerized that Prabhas could handle the character of a somber lover-boy smitten by a girl. There are quite a few, including Prabhas wishing Kajal a happy birthday in Mr. Perfect and the one in Darling when he tells Kajal Aggarwal he doesn’t know face-reading(narrating a made-up story to Mukesh Rishi). His proposal to Anushka in Mirchi also stands out for the intent he brings into it while still balancing the alpha-male act in the movie.

5. Emotion:

Two scenes virtually stand out in one’s memory when you think of Prabhas and his emotional range as an actor. In Darling, the sequence where he shows his sister what a father’s love is, almost brings a lump in our throats every time we watch it. The way he depicts his emotional trauma after losing his mother and banished by his father, is laudable too. We saw the screaming, furious hero in Chatrapati and a few other movies. But, his transformation into someone who can fill the shoes of any character in heart-touching scenes and connect to the audience makes him the perfect hero.

6. Body language:

There are heroes who look cool wooing their girl, with gelled hair and funky shoes. There are heroes who are beefy enough to play the alpha-male, smashing a dozen well-oiled goons in the village and cracking the windshields off Sumos. But, like in a wedding video I saw recently, the right masculinity exudes out of the man, who looks dashing in a tuxedo and can still carry the clutch of his lady love with élan. Prabhas perhaps is the only Tollywood hero, who can carry that off, largely owing to his body language. It is safe to say in Tollywood, Prabhas is for walking what Mahesh is for running – a style that is completely his own, stamped with authority – a poise that can hardly be replicated. The aggression with which he steams into Kota Srinivas Rao’s room in Chatrapati, dragging Baji Rao’s corpse is stunning and stands-out in memory. What usually stands out though, is that Prabhas looks the part as a hero. It might do him good, if directors don’t try to exaggerate his style or fighting skills with artificial effects which tend to dilute his appeal. For a cinema lover, what he is capable of doing normally, without the hyperbolic gimmicks, is still good enough.

7. Styling:

After looking uber-cool with good costumes and hair styling in Mr. Perfect, Prabhas took his style quotient to another level in Mirchi. With a special word of appreciation for his hair stylist and costume designer in the movie, it was time to sit back and watch the dude weave his magic onscreen. Designer shades, well-cut attires never looked better on a hero than they did on Prabhas in the movie, largely because of his conventional good looks, tall, dusky and scintillatingly well-toned. It wasn’t an overnight turnaround, one must add. From Varsham to Billa, Mr. Perfect to Mirchi, he has indulged in constant morphing of his style statement, always managing to stay in vogue. That he has cheekbones to kill for, probably makes it an icing on the cake for women? The Hyosung ST7 he rides added the killer touch to an already suave and urbane look that will appeal to a cosmopolitan audience. 

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