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Prabhu Deva The Most Silent Achiever  In Indian Cinema

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Prabhu Deva

I’ve known  Prabhu Deva for many  years. He  hardly talks. And  he never talks  about himself. To get  a full sentence  out of him you have to earn  it. But with me Prabhu has always warm, responsive  and  respectful.

This man is  a silent achiever. When he was awarded the Padma Shri I asked him if he is throwing a party. “What party, Sir? I  have never  hosted a party. And for what I will call people? To let them know I got  the Padma Shri? They know already. There  are so  many people  more talented than me who should get  recognized.”

 But do you know anyone who is dancer, choreographer, director and an actor?  “Arrey , Sir. It’s all part of cinema. My mother could cook so many dishes, all exceptionally well. I wish I could  achieve an iota of what some  of the silent achievers  have achieved.”

Silence defines Prabhu Deva’s latest outing as an actor. In Thael  Prabhu Deva is incredibly intense  as  Durai, a family-less man who has nothing  to lose, and  is hence   fearless. A little twitch  of the eyebrow, some flaring of the nostril convey  so much that words often do not. This is a  remarkably  accomplished  performance  .

 In Kartik Subbaraj’s Mercury  Prabhu Deva played a blind assassin. He had  nothing  to  say  in the  film. That made Prabhu very happy.  He was  super-excited to be  in India’s first silent film—Kamal Haasan’s Pushpak which has so  far been given that  honour did have one spoken line. Being a  choreographer and dancer helped Prabhu express his character’s emotions in Mercury  without words. Prabhu Deva used the dancer’s body language as an action machine to show his characters sniffing out his prey.

The chases in the environmentally challenged setting are interestingly staged, parts of it being heart-in-the-mouth, thanks to the cinematography and artwork which aid the ambience of shivery shindigs.Prabhu Deva gives his ghoulish character a life of its own. He fills the air with anguished shrieks that sends a chill up our spine. As long as he is on the ‘scream’ we are game. But the rest of the film is so awfully loud messy and theatrical I cringed on behalf of the multi-talented Prabhu Deva.

 Prabhu  feels  there is  much to be said about the  virtues of  silence in reel and real life. We speak  too much in our films. We are afraid if we don’t talk non-stop the audience will lose interest  in the goings-on. But that’s not case. There were long passages  of silence in the opening  scenes of  Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa. In Gulzar Saab’s Namkeen, Shabana Azmi didn’t speak at all. In Koshish  both Sanjeev Kumar and  Jaya Bachchan were  dead and mute. They could  convey  so much through their silences.

Also Read:  The IIFA Awards Lost Their  Relevance 20 Years Ago

Prabhu feels cinema  should stop serving the  purpose  of a radio. “Cinema  is predominantly a visual medium. Why turn  it into a radio? I am  happy to say  in Mercury I’ve managed to ‘say’  what I have  to without speaking.”

Prabhu Deva uses the dancer’s body language as an action machine to show his characters sniffing out his prey.

The chases in the environmentally challenged setting are interestingly staged, parts of it being heart-in-the-mouth, thanks to the cinematography and artwork which aid the ambience of shivery shindigs.

Prabhu Deva gives his ghoulish character a life of its own. He fills the air with anguished shrieks that sends a chill up our spine. As long as he is on the ‘scream’ we are game.

Prabhu Deva shot to fame as a choreographer, then as an actor and  as a filmmaker in Tamil and then in Hindi. Prabhu’s idols are  Michael Jackson and Rajnikanth. He loves massy movies as much as streetwise dance moves.He hates pretentious art.He  loves the simple things of  life. Hates to eat. To call Prabhu a frugal eater would be an understatement. Prabhu doesn’t eat. He nibbles on food.

The biggest setback and the tragedy that changed Prabhu’s life was the death  of his elder son . It changed Prabhu’s perspective on life.And destroyed his marriage.

Prabhu is  grateful to Salman Khan for the opportunity to direct him  in Dabangg  3  and Radhe. But  for  now  Prabhu  is done  with Bollywood.

Speaking of  Salman  Prabhu says,  “Salman Sir has one of the kindest hearts I’ve ever come across inthis business. When I directed him in Wanted in 2008  I was new to the entertainment industry in Mumbai. Wanted was my first Hindi film as a

director. But I was made to feel fully comfortable .Salman Sir contributed a lot to his character. He would come up with really  clever suggestions. And his dialogue ‘Ek baar jo maine commitment kar di phir main apni aap ki bhi nahin sunta’ was a rage. I think dialogues like these become famous because of the way Salman Sir says them.”

Now that Salman ghost-directs  most of his films, Prabhu has moved on. There are many more  peaks  to conquer .

“If someone wants to to work, there is  no end  to it. I cannot sit still.  I have to keep doing something. There is  so much to do. I think I am all the things that I do put together. Work is all I have. I need to be constantly working  in films doing work in any capacity,in any language.As a choreographer also I will go when the work inspires me,”   the reclusive workaholic  signs  off.

Keep surprising  yourself, Prabhu.

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