To use the word outspoken to describe Prakash Raj might be an understatement. The actor obviously doesn’t mince his words, whether on Twitter or offline. So it’s only to be expected that an interview with him would start with him talking about his new show and end with a discussion of the mafia in entertainment. Also read: Prakash Raj is “honored” for being called the “male version of Swara Bhasker” on Twitter for supporting Shah Rukh Khan
Prakash will next star in Zee5’s spy thriller Mukhbir as an accomplished intelligence officer. Speaking about what drew him to the role, he says, “We’re talking about an untold story from the 1960s, before I was even born. Now in 2022, if I’m safe in this country, an unsung hero somewhere must have been responsible. Are we ever aware of this? There are so many things that rule a nation. It is never a person or an ideology or a party or a leader. Every person is a patriot and every person is relevant and their contributions are diverse. That appealed to me.”
Since the show’s trailer was released, many have compared Mukhbir to Raazi. Both are stories of Indian spies embedded in Pakistan and are said to be based on true events. When asked if comparisons bother him, the veteran actor says, “I don’t think so. When it comes to Mukhbir, one does not speak of two countries. But the background, the structure, the skeleton is when this man questions his existence and identity. I don’t think it’s similar. It’s a new way of looking at things, with a differently sensitized script. I don’t think there will be parallels.”
When he says sensitized, Prakash means that the story doesn’t “bash the neighbor” in its approach to patriotism. He believes this approach is necessary because people are fed up with the loud approach, which he believes has been shoved down people’s throats. He explains: “Even in the recent past we have seen many series or stories that are a piece of life. People are tired of the cacophony. And with the pandemic, people are connecting to more content. And when you see the fake dying and the mafia unable to convert while there is fair play for talent and content, it feels good. Content becomes king. To get out of this cacophony, that kind of effort is important.”
Mafia is an interesting choice of words in a discussion of cinema and craft. Prakash admits he “uses it every now and then”. But he has a good reason for labeling certain people in the industry that way. “Cinema is a language, the youngest human language. It was like a river and it flowed but people stopped it. They made stipulations that it only be shown in theaters and began to think it would only take about two and a half hours to write. Everyone had stopped things like you can’t put it on TV first etc. But when the pandemic stopped this mafia, people had to leave and this content came out,” says the actor.
The proliferation of web space has opened doors for the actor, he says, admitting he no longer has to do “certain types of films” that he took on for money. He says: “That’s the beauty of this medium. I used to have to make certain loud films. I had to do it because there’s a specific audience for it. My fame is because of this. But now I don’t have to worry about that because the number of viewers is bigger now.”
Mukhbir also plays Zain Khan Durrani and Adil Hussain along with an ensemble cast. Directed by Shivam Nair and Jayprad Desai, the series will premiere on Zee5 on November 11th. The actor has a number of films lined up including Varisu, Kabzaa and Shaakuntalam.