frame of Sankar and ‘Kadhalan’ happened.
Dancer and choreographer till then, he became an overnight
star. There are those who believe that it was purely
his dancing skills that sustained him as a lead actor.
While, that thought is not without reason (we expected
at least one frenetic dance number in every Prabhu Deva
movie), it would also amount to doing injustice to the
actor in Prabhu Deva. A dancer by profession (or by
birth, as some say), he molded himself well into his
new found responsibilities.
But his luck as an actor seemed to run out towards the
end of the 20th century. It is as if things were not
coming together for him as before to deliver the box
office hit. But he did not sit on his earlier successes
or current failures. Before you knew it, he had delivered
a superhit in Telugu as a director. He came to Kollywood
and gave us Pokkiri, he has also directed Telugu’s
megastar Chiranjeevi in Shankar Dada Zindabad, remake
of Lage Raho Munna Bhai (which might well have been
Chiranjeevi’s last movie, he has ventured into
politics since) and an average grossing Pournami with
Prabas and Trisha in the lead. Villu is the first real
blemish in his movies as director.
The point is that Prabhu Deva has never been predictable,
always surprising us by turning to things that we never
thought he would do. It was tough to imagine that the
young guy prancing around; behaving like a teenager
in Engal Anna (2004) would turn into a director hardly
2 years later. Prabhu Deva has been quite a rolling
stone, but it would be wrong to say that he has gathered
no moss. He started as dancer, turned choreographer,
had a fairly successful stint as actor and has now become
director. What next? The one thing that he has always
kept close to himself is dance. Even after turning an
actor and then director, he did not stop being a choreographer,
nor did he stop doing dance numbers in some movies.
Prabhu Deva has played the fine balancing act. He has
been a rolling stone, but not severed ties with his
first love, dance. He has always smelt ‘fresh
cheese’ and moved along and has managed his career
quite beautifully. But as a Prabhu Deva fan, there is
one thing that should be said, ‘we would love
to see you on screen again’.
Sudhakar, with inputs from Arun Gopinath.)
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