Prakash Raj turns 55! Here’s a glimpse into his legendary journey on his birthday.
Prakash Raj, the most versatile and celebrated actor of Indian cinema, predominantly known for his exemplary work in South India turned 55 today. Born as Prakash Rai on 26 March 1965 in Bangalore, Karnataka, Prakash Raj has risen to be a legend. Be it the role of a father or an epic villain, he made his mark in movies of five languages-Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Hindi. His life’s journey is a tale of success and here’s a glimpse into his world.
Be it in a soup of controversies or acts of social responsibilities, Prakash Raj has always been a generous man who doesn’t fall short on humble acts or sharp words. He does it all with heart. Coincidentally, this attitude of all heart is what started his journey in the movie business. Triggered by a fond memory of a wave of claps during his play in class VII, he walked into Kalakshetra, leaving his second of college behind. During his theatre days, he managed to bag a few TV roles and roles in Kannada movies. Until Geetha, a senior Tamil actress recommended him to Balachander, an Indian producer, director, and screenwriter. Balachander cast him in his film Duet, a year-and-a-half later and then Mani Ratnam too cast him, after which there was no looking back.
On the personal front, Prakash Raj speaks many tongues. He can fluently speak Tulu, Kannada, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, Hindi and Malayalam. Prakash Raj married an actress named Lalitha Kumari in 1994. Lalitha Kumari is the daughter of Tamil actor C. L. Anandan and is the younger sister of Disco Shanti. They welcomed three children, Meghana, Pooja and Sidhu. The couple filed for divorce in 2009. Prakash Raj later tied the knot with choreographer Pony Verma in 2010 and has a son, Vedanta. In a candid interview, he spoke about his personal life saying, “My first wife and I had differences. I didn’t want to lie so I sat my daughters down and explained to them why I wanted to divorce. Although we as a couple have been divorced, my mother, daughters, and friends have a good relationship with Lalitha. I met Pony who was choreographing for one of my films. I spoke to my mother and my daughters and said, this is what I want to do, but I wanted Pony to spend time with my daughters. She also met Lalitha. My daughters said, ‘Cool dad, please go ahead’. Then I went to meet her father and told them that I was divorced. They were shocked initially but then blessed us. I was going to shoot in Australia for 15 days. She took her father and I took my mother to spend time together, post which we decided to get married.”
Giving back to society is a huge part of Prakash Raj’s life. In 2015, he adopted a Kondareddypally village in Keshampet Mandal in Telangana and vowed to develop the village with the necessary infrastructure. He also came to rescue a senior actor on the verge of committing suicide due to the burden of debts. He offered 50 Lakhs to the senior actor said actor Raja Ravindra in a media interaction. Prakash Raj who owns a zero pesticide organic farm donated 150 rice bags, each weighing 25 kilos, to FEFSI employees who were suffering financially due to Coronavirus lockdown situation. He also urged people to the same by saying, “I have decided to reach out to 1000 families. This society has made me rich enough to do so. If you can’t help 1000 families, just help one family.” He paid his staff and film personnel until May to help them survive the lockdown. His tweet read “#janathacurfew … looked into my reserve funds. Paid advance salaries to empower all my farm .. house .. film production .foundation and Personel staff up to the month of MAY… finalized a way to give at least half salaries to daily wage workers of my three films stopped due to social distancing .. I’m not done yet .. will continue to do more with what I can afford .. request each one of you who can afford to help needy around you… time to give back to life.. time to stand by one another.”
Today, on his birthday, he tweeted: “On my birthday today ..I did this .gave shelter to 11 stranded workers from Pondichery, Chennai, Khammam. it’s not just the government’s responsibility..it’s ours too. let’s celebrate humanity .. let’s fight this united.” Hats off to him and many happy returns!