Man who cut Kabali: Praveen


Hi people, back with a bang with the editor of the most awaited film of 2016, “Kabali, I say”
As soon as I heard the K.L in Praveen.K.L stands for Kuchipudi and Latha, my heart immediately warmed up to this lovely man who retained his mother’s name as part of
his initials! Wish more men followed suit (hopeful sigh)

Praveen represents the 3rd generation in his family to be part of the entertainment world.
His grandfather was production manager to none other than Shri N.T.R the doyen of Telugu cinema. His father was Asst. Director to the holder of the Limca World Record for directing the most number of films, Mr Dasari Narayana Rao.

Praveen, though a Telugu-ite (my own concoction to define a man whose mother tongue is Telugu)  made his mark in our Tamil film industry. From a BBA student, he ventured into sound and dubbing engineering in TV serials mid-1990.He then worked in ETV Network in Hyderabad.

I liked the way Praveen has fashioned his life. He went through a horrible experience of making a costly mistake (to the tune of 25 lakhs in the 90s!) which his boss V.V.Rao forgave graciously saying, ‘you are allowed to make 1 mistake’. He echoes the same words to his assistant editors today!

He learnt the art of editing peeping through a window…I am sure he had no clue that God had super plans for him one day to edit our Super Star’s film!

Actually talking to Praveen I realized one word sums up Praveen. The P in his name stands for Perseverance! With the money saved through a part-time job when he was in the 11th grade he bought a refrigerator. What a cherished moment that must have been! He is still in touch with his classmates Ranga, Praveen, Anita, (her husband Chiranjeevi is a chef in the USA who is part of his friend's circle) and his Hyderabad friends Suresh, Ravi and Vijay. I think it is very important not to lose touch with one’s childhood friends. Pat on your back, Praveen.

Mohan, his brother Naveen’s friend, AVID editor introduced him to the world of snip, cut, copy  and paste in RC Studio, Chennai. His seniors in the field of editing Sreekar Prasad and Anthony sometimes used to edit there. Praveen was always drawn to this world of magic, almost like molding clay to make a beautiful picture perfect doll.

His real learning experience came when he worked under Shri Balu Mahendra, the legendary cinematographer / director, recipient of the national award for his breath-taking visuals and directorial skill in ‘Moondram pirai’ and ‘Veedu’.


Praveen edited more than 50 episodes of ‘Kadhai neram’ a series of short films directed by this veteran. He unlearnt what little he knew and this phase in his career was the turning point of his life!

With the dawn of Y2K, Praveen went with a bag full of hopes to Singapore. He can never forget his boss Vishwa Sadhasivam who nominated him as 1 of the 5 best employees in the year 2002. Another pearl in his casket of memories indeed!

Then after his stint in Discovery Asia Pacific, he met Venkat Prabhu through a common friend JK Sara in Singapore during an Ilaiyaraja night of magical melodies and rest is history. He was swept into the world of Chennai 28 (unofficially) followed by Saroja (blockbuster of 2008, he received the state award for editing), Aranyakandam (he bagged his 1st national award ) and now Kabali being the jewel in his crown.

He started his film career with his partner SrikanthN.B but after 40+films they parted ways amicably. Now Praveen has more than 60 films to his credit in 4 languages.

Needless to add he has Godfathered all his assistants in such a way they have all found their way to stand on their own feet, edit films of their own and carve a niche basking in their Guru’s name.

Elayaraja, his assistant in Kabali who thank God for small mercies knows the importance of subtitles (chip off the old block) and has gone out of his way to ensure I can meet the impossible deadlines to this soon-to-be-released most anticipated film of 2016.

On the home front, Praveen is a model husband and an endearing dad. He met Praveena in 2009 and their daughter Riya is an adorable 4 year old bundle of energy and the apple of her nanna’s eyes!

Looking back a decade ago, Praveen decided to amalgamate Sreekar Prasad’s neat compositions with Anto’s sleek style and make a mark for himself. We know for a fact his dream has come true. No more days of editing even in the waiting lounge of an airport! But time to bask in the glory of the age old saying ‘no pain no gain’

I owe a huge apology to my dear friends Nani (Sreekar Prasad) and Anto (Anthony) whose advent into the celluloid world should have found a place in TWR, long overdue. I hope my wish gets fulfilled sooner than later. But Kabali put his best foot forward!


Youngsters who want to etch your thumbprint in the celluloid world can borrow a page from Praveen’s story.Don’t be scared to dream, the bigger the better, work towards fulfilling it

When I asked Praveen to sum up his work in Kabali in 1 or 2 words,he said “Kabali is the biggest ever in my career” Well! His casket of memories now has this priceless ruby
(his birth stone) nestled amongst the glistening pearls.

You can watch the film and find out how well he has shaped it.  Wishing you a double dhamaka, Praveen, a birthday to remember on July 24th☺


I’ll be back in a couple of days with the ‘captain of the ship’ of Kabali.


Until then,
‘Vellosthanu, manchidhi’


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