Sunday, August 30, 2020

A Malayalam Hero of Sweetness,Style and Substance.



   


  

     Some heroes focus more on style,than on substance.Some have substance as the soul and are not inclined to be obsessed with style.Some look upon both style and substance, as the unifying factors of an appealing performance. Prithviraj,one of the prominent heroes of  Malayalam cinema, consistently combines in himself, both style and substance,for a sweet delivery of roles.
    The over all perception of Malayalam cinema would naturally draw anyone,to the period starting from the days of Prem Nazir and Madhu,the two most popular heroes of Malayalam cinema,from the middle of Nineteenth century.There were of course other leading heroes like Sathyan,who was senior to Prem Nazir by about 15 years and Jeyan who almost belonged to the next generation.Like Nazir and Madhu,both Sathyan and Jeyan were heroes of absolute merit,duly admired by the Malayalam film audience. 
    While Sathyan died of blood cancer at the age of 58,Jeyan who was an aggressively dedicated artist,died when he was just 42 years,in a chopper crash,during a film shoot. Sukumaran who was another hero of high profile talent,was ten years younger than Jeyan and he too died early{at the age of 49}following a massive heart attack.Then came the two super stars Mammootty and Mohanlal. Slowly Malayalam film industry not only registered the entry of many heroes of mettle, but also moved on to a status of star worship,similar to that prevailing in other South Indian film industries.Star worship took Mohanlaal and Mammootty to new heights of adoration.Among the most popular heroes worshipped in Malayalam cinema, Prithviraj,son of late Sukumaran  constantly maintains his physique with pep and style and displays his delightful capacity for multi talents such as singing, acting and film making.
   It is pertinent to note here,that Prithiviraj travelled along with the changing trends in Malayalam cinema and unlike in the case of his other senior heroes,these changes happened more frequently within a period of not more than five years,on a periodical basis. Though his debut film was Nandanam his other film Nakshathrangalulla Rajakumaran Avandoru Rajakumari was released early to mark his first entry in the Malayalam silver screen.Both these films released in the same year {2002} threw a penetrating light,on his capacity to travel on different lines of acting,even during the starting spell of his career.
   It is a known fact that until the first five years of the new millennium,dialogues played a dynamic role in Malayalam cinema.Most of these dialogues were beautifully intermixed with powerful English sentences to mark the force of political and administrative arguments.The political and police stories during this period,had striking dialogues{most of them penned by Renji Panicker}and films like Truth,Commisiioner,Pathram,Praja,Lelam,The King,Commissioner,Kaaki,Vaasthavam and Sathyam will be ever remembered purely on account of the fiery dialogue decibels of the heroes of these films.In that way, Prithvi Raj exhibited both his muscle and throat power in Sathyam, Kaaki and Vaasthavam.
  But after a few years,he carved for himself,a unique style for portrayal of characters without hesitating to do,even the role of a gay cop in Mumbai Police.One could see a vast difference in him as a cop in Sathyam and Kaaki and as one with a subtle and instinctive  perception of the police mindset in movies like Memories,The Thriller, Masters and 7th Day.
    At least half a dozen films of Prithiviraj had something to do with the field of cinema either directly,or indirectly.In Vellithira,Prithiviraj appeared as Style Raj, carrying his film projector from place to place and showing films to children and adults,for his daily earning.Then in Thirakkatha he donned the role of a film director.The film Hero,narrated the emergence of a stunts man,called Taarzan Antoni into a hero,following the villainous attitude and activities of the original hero.While Prithviraj  played the stunts man-turned hero, Srikanth portrayed the antagonistic hero. Later the Biopic 'Celluloid',showed Prithiviraj as J.C Daniel {Nadar},a passionate lover of cinema,who is also called the father of Malayalam cinema.Then came the film 'My Story' as an autobiographical narration of a great film hero's past and present,in a beautifully blended presentation of exclusive events,with a retrospective gist of his romantic past.Recently,in Driving Licence, Prithviraj played the role of a Malayalam hero adored by a Road Transport Cop and Suraj Venjaramoodu  deserved a special appreciation for playing the role of a Kerala Transport cop with a deep sense of sobriety and poise. 
    We could notice a dramatic change in the mode and style of acting of Prithviraj, in films of the same genre,such as family dramas or action thrillers or romances or supernatural thrillers.Within a short period,Prithviraj has tasted the breeze and storm,the glow and flame of acting.As the early new millennium years continued to carry the weight of volumes of dialogues,Prithviraj significantly filled the bill in films like,Pokiri Raja{along with Mammootty},Thanthonni and Simhsanam.In between he also did college stories and romances like Classmates,Chocolate and Kangaroo.
   Some of the recent hits of Prithviraj are Oozham,Brother's Day,Ayyappanum Koshiyum and Driving licence.In Oozham he was on an unending run,either escaping from a gang or chasing it.It was a movie celebrated for its speed and excitingly jumbling course of narration.Brother's day was a robust action masala and Ayyappanaum&Koshiyum was capable of driving an honest cop into a criminal mood,with both the cop{Biju Menon}and the thug {Prithiviraj} swapping each other's moods and reactions towards having a firm grasp of the evolving developments and changing situations.Driving Licence threw a fabulous hero into the unprecedented predicament of not being able to get his four wheeler licence renewed, on account of the stubborn attitude of the licence awarding,road transport officer,who happened to be a fan turned foe of the hero,after being insulted by the hero. 
    Undoubtedly,due credit should be given to the directors of the films mentioned above,for their refreshing and fascinating pattern of narration.But more than that,Prithviraj as hero,could impressively fit himself into the character and course of events through his instinctive perception of roles and portraying them with infallible grace and style.Unlike Mohanlal whose voice could solidify and melt,twist and turn,shout and submit,force and persuade,and do many more verbal wonders, Prithiviraj has a direct,bold and vibrating voice mould,with which he can command and control the situation that warrants the portrayal of characters,matching the contexts.There is an absolute charm in the over all persona of this heir,of an undemanding and subdued actor called Sukumaran.
   One speciality of Prithiviraj is his compact and convincing Hollywood wield in his role play,in most of the films,especially  those of the supernatural genre like Adam Joan and Ezra as well as in films like Akale and London Bridge.For that matter,most of the Malayalam films nonchalantly carry English titles and films like The Romans {starring Kunchacko Bhoban and Biju Menon} reflected the exuberance of an English film,in their comprehensive cinematography and glory of music. 
   Prithviraj has reflected his sparkling style and substance not only in acting and singing, but has also gone a step higher in directing an amazingly captivating film like Lucifer,starring Mohanlal in the pivotal role,with the wonderful addition of actors like Vivek Oberoy,Tovino Thomas,Manju Warrier and several others.Lucifer was as stylish as Prithviraj is.Some of the other notable films of Prithviraj in Malayalam were,Puthiya Mugam,Anwar,Arjunan Saakshi, Indian Rupee and the most talked about period  film Urumi.
   Besides making strides in Malayalam cinema Prithiviraj has made his indelible impressions on the Tamil big screen,making his Tamil debut as a sweet coated villain in K.V.Anand's first film Kana Kandein and then as hero in films like Radha Mohan's Mozhi& Abhiyum Naanum,Vasanth's psychological thriller Satham Podaathe and Parijatham of Bagyaraj.It was very much endearing,to watch him sharing screen space with Sathyaraj in Kannamoochi Yenada and causing him tense moments,towards creating his credibility as the worthwhile son in law of Sathyaraj.His other notable role was in Mani Rathnam's Raavanan as an agile police officer,striving to book the rebellious Raavanan played by Vikram.His latest felicitous character portrayal in Tamil was as an admirable villain, in Vasantha Balan's Kaaviya Thalaivan. Prithiviraj also repeated his role in the Tamil remake {Ninaithaale Inikkum} of Classmates.
   It is true that for a young hero like Prithviraj,the journey to go,is pretty long and the stones to crack will be naturally hard too.However,Malayalam film industry is always known for its exemplary innovative dimensions and creative imagination and those who continue to evince their creative potentials,without letting down the enthusiasm at any point of time,will  grow easily on their professional upscale.Though success and failures will keep changing the scenario,any mind firmly rooted to the depth of creativity,will  sprout its invaluable stuff,so as to govern the changing mood of the audience with invincible sweetness,style and substance.No doubt Prithiviraj has that stuff.
P.Chandrasekaran.
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