3 Persons Changed My Life:'Kaalakeya' Prabhakar Interview

By - July 21, 2015 - 12:46 PM IST

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“Nimmdaa… Gojrass thelmi..
Aaardha bhos…Kkraakvikana Bhhumle..

This bizarre sounding and the man with demonic avatar who uttered these lines took the industry by storm and turned the fans absolutely berserk. The most happening and endearing demon now is Kaalakeya (from the world of Baahubali) and his Kilikili is indeed a rage. But unlike Kaalakeya, Prabhakar (popular as Byrreddy) is one of the few sincere, grounded and hardworking actors and the sweetest person we have met in recent times.

But his journey to the center of this glitzy world wasn’t a cake walk neither was his dream anytime. Prabhakar, the man who was jobless for 7 long years and who even went to the extent of committing suicide at a point in life has raised from ashes. And after a memorable film like Baahubali, he is obviously an elated man and on this special occasion, here is Prabhakar talking about his success story in an exclusive chit chat with iQlikMovies.com:

“Nimmdaa… Gojrass thelmi.. Prabhakar garu.. we found a way to greet you…
(Laughs) Haan… Nimmdaa Gojrass thelmi… Aaardha bhos…Kkraakvikana Bhhumle…

They say you were Rajamouli’s discovery…How did it happen?
Rajamouli garu first noticed me during Magadheera shooting in Rajasthan where I went as an extra. Everybody thought he was casually observing but some of my close friends thought he was impressed with me. After coming to Hyderabad, associate director Jagadish called me to Rajamouli’s office. I only went hoping I’d just meet Rajamouli but to my surprise he said he is going to give him a role for his next movie. I admitted that I had nil knowledge in acting but Rajamouli garu got me trained in Devadas Kanakala acting institute and he only paid the fee for all the essential training. I am extremely indebted to Rajamouli garu for identifying me to get into films. He is like God to me.

What were you doing before Magadheera?
My family hails from a remote village near Raichur (Karnataka) but we are settled in Hyderabad. When I attended a wedding here in Hyderabad, a close relative of mine assured me a government job in the city and made me shift to the city. After taking money from me, I was kept in waiting for nearly six years without getting to any other job. In the meantime, I was attempting Police selections in Hyderabad then which eventually got postponed for some reason. I worked in some call center for some time and quit later. When I was in great despair, my friend Venu called in for some shooting and in a view to see film stars, I attended Mahesh Babu’s Athidi shooting (Ratraina Naaku Ok song). Suddenly director Surender Reddy noticed me and asked if I was an artist, involuntarily I said “Yes” and I was picked in the film. Later I did Parugu and few other small roles when I got Maryada Ramanna.

What does Maryada Ramanna mean to you?
It was a great learning experience for me. Before Maryada Ramanna, I once went to one of the films I acted along with friends but I was shocked to realize that I was omitted. It was indeed a great insult. That is why, I never told my wife or close friends about the big role I got in Maryada Ramanna. Only during the audio release when the trailer was launched, I, my family and friends were shocked to see me in such a big role. It is indeed a great breakthrough. My wife (Rajya Lakshmi) was almost in tears looking at me in a full length negative role. She has been constantly supportive of me.
Did you expect to get a role in Rajamouli’s biggest film Baahubali?
Well, no! But Rajamouli sir did call me once. He didn’t tell me it was a character with special language. He casually called me for screen test and I was expecting a Telugu dialogue obviously. He told me it is Kilkili language and I thought it would not be tough. He read the lines to me and I was speechless. Got so nervous about taking up this Kaalakeya character but I know it is once-in-a-lifetime chance. So despite shootings, myself and my wife used to wake up at 3 AM, mug up the dialogue, practice vigorously to get the dialogues, histrionics and dynamics right and went for the shoot. I’m glad Rajamouli sir and the entire team was impressed with my performance in the first go. Along with Prabhas anna, Rana garu, seniors like Nassar and Ramyakrishna garu also appreciated me and repeatedly asked to render the dialogue. Rajamouli sir, Rama madam, Valli madam and the entire Baahubali team supported me and I owe a lot to them.

How tough was it to play Kaalakeya?
Very tough indeed! It took almost three hours for me to get into the makeup and costumes. My eyes had to be open for longer time and Rama Rajamouli garu asked me whether it is okay for me and even suggested to avoid it. The look was great with such opened eye look and with everyone on the set appreciating my getup; I chose to go ahead with an opened eye. But Rajamouli sir, Rama madam and Valli garu took great care of me all through the journey and it is because of them, I could do this.
What were Rajamouli’s inputs to you in getting into the character of Kaalakeya?
Rajamouli sir never gives the scene to any actor straightaway. First he enacts it and shows to the actor and all you need to do is just copy-paste him. The same happened with me. I was supposed to sit on a high chair on an elephant and he himself sat there first, checked it was okay and then re-checked with me whether I was comfortable and then called for take. Such is the dedication and concern of Rajamouli sir for his actors. Believe me, if an actor could just imbibe 10% of his acting skills, he can bag awards.

Can you share any memorable incident during the shooting of Kaalakeya role?
More than the war sequence it was the introduction dialogue I deliver facing Ramya Krishna garu, Prabhas anna, Rana garu, Nassar garu and Satya Raj garu. I knew only Rana before because I worked with him in Krishnam Vande Jagadgurum. I never saw Prabhas anna and Ramya Krishna garu before in real. Satya Raj garu was a legendary hero. I was supposed to deliver my line in front of them. I was rendering Kilkili dialogue and they all broke into laughter instantly! Apparently, none of them knew about this dialogue and I was rendering it louder and with emotion. I have said the single dialogue for 150 times as everyone asked me to tell again. Nassar appreciated me in particular which I felt really good.

About working with Prabhas & Rana…
I knew Rana garu right from the days of KVJ but I knew Prabhas anna with Baahubali only. Frankly, both of them are the most grounded and friendly film stars I’ve ever worked with. Both Rana garu and Prabhas anna would appreciate my look, physique, work outs, performance and support me timely. Being the stars they are, they need not do this but they are so nice to me… that is why, they are the most loved stars!

About the appreciation you got for Baahubali
(Smiles) I’m getting appreciation calls from various parts of the country and indeed from UK, US, New Zealand. I’m told there were some articles and reports by media in Jammu and Kashmir and UP appreciating my character. I am relishing the happiest days of my life. Some women even expressed their fear of watching my character on screen (Smiles). Another most memorable moment was one of my school friends recognizing me at an open place, calling out “Prabhakaroo” and appreciating my performance. I also heard that relatives and brides who rejected me are also repenting now (Laughs)

Apart from action oriented roles, whatelse do you enjoy doing?
Well, I really want to do more comedy oriented films. In fact, I could get that chance in Lakshmi Manchu’s Dongata. She encouraged me a lot during the filming and every day it was like a food festival in their house!

What’s you height and tell us some disadvantages of being a lanky one?
(Laughs) I’m 6’4’’ now. I was over 6 feet tall in my 7th standard. So, all I got for being the tallest in peers was bullying. It was so disgusting that I did not attend my Intermediate College only to avoid this. But the best moment was when I met Amitabh Bachchan garu once, he saw me and said "Merese bhi tall ho...achcha all the best".

But is it true you wanted to commit suicide? If true, why?
Yes…at a moment I felt so. What to do…I was so dejected. Imagine being jobless for 6 long years, depending on my mother, unable to repay the debts and bear the insults I had no other option. I even went to the extent of becoming a goon but was lucky enough to get out of it. There is one special person in my life - Praveen with whom we used to play cricket in town right from my childhood. He stood by my side and supported me all those 6yrs. When I couldn’t ask money at home as my mother kept her chain in debt and used to send money, knowing my situation, Praveen used to give me Rs.1000/- every month for expenses. I can never forget his help. Sadly, even before he could see my success in Baahubali, he died of heart attack. (Broke into tears)

What is your motto in life?
I believe that everyone in life has their own set of problems. One should take them positively. I was also criticized for not doing anything before films and people used to easily judge me but 3 persons (Praveen, my gym coach Gavin & Rajamouli Sir) have changed my life indeed. I was lucky to have met some great people and I worked hard to keep up the faith they have put in me!

What do you think are your positives that attracted them?
(Smiles) I cannot tell about positives but can tell about my drawbacks. I am quite shy in talking to people. I tend to be more reserved and feel scared to approach people for roles or even talk. Can you believe I could talk to Rajamouli sir and Rama madam for a while only very recently and got a photograph with Rajamouli sir only at a dinner party after the audio release of Baahubali? My first ever selfie with him. It must be because of my upbringing but I am growing out of it now.
How did your family members react to your success?
My mother is obviously very happy. We faced lot of difficulties in early life by getting cheated for job and people used to point out about my lack of job. But after Baahubali’s success, everybody is in turn coming back and appreciating it. I feel so delighted to see my elder son Srirama Rajamouli (named after Rajamouli & Rama Rajamouli) recite the dialogues of Baahubali and my younger son Rithwik Pravin also enjoyed the film a lot.

Quickly your favorites…
Favorite Hero – Rajendra Prasad
Heroine – Shilpa Shetty
Villain – Kota Sreenivasa Rao & late Amrish Puri
Comedian – Brahmanandam
Film – Mathrudevobhava (I can narrate the film frame to frame even now)
Pass time – spending time with family and watching Cricket. I love Cricket & Sachin is my God.

Your upcoming projects?
I will be seen in Ravi Teja’s Bengal Tiger next. I also have few Kannada and Tamil projects in hand.

It has been a pleasure talking to you! Wishing you the best in further projects!
Thank you very much.

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