South baddie Prakash Raj will direct his next film, tentatively titled Dhoni, based on a child’s aspiration to become like famous cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He has earlier directed Kannada movie Naanu Nanna Kanasu, a remake of Tamil film Abhiyum Naanum.
He says, “Dhoni is our new cricketing icon. He is already a legend among the kids and they want to grow up to be like him.”
The actor, who has earlier worked with Salman Khan in Wanted (2009), Amitabh Bachchan in Bbuddah Hoga Terra Baap (2011) and recently fought Ajay Devgn in Singham, says, “The cricketer leads by example. He stands for leadership, taking risks and being grounded in the face of victory and failure alike. He is a perfect role model for today’s youth.” So is Sachin Tendulkar passé now? Prakash says, “Of course not. He will never be passé, but Dhoni is the way ahead for the new generation.”
Prakash reveals his film will also talk about how the present education system has failed. He explains, “It talks about academic and peer pressure. This system doesn’t explore what our children are capable of. We need to take into account the aspirations of the new generation as well.” He assures, “This film will force people to look within themselves.” The actor-director starts shooting his ambitious bi-lingual (Tamil and Telugu) project towards the end of September. He will be playing the lead opposite Mughda Godse, and has Ilaiyaraaja doing the music.
Prakash, who has produced over a dozen films so far, and acted for two decades in South films, describes his directorial journey as a big personal step.
“I hope to not disappoint Dhoni’s fans or mine.” What about his Bollywood journey? Have the recent roles helped him gain more friends in the industry? He says, “For me, Salman is a darling. He isn’t afraid of anyone. He let me be myself when we were shooting, and both Amitabh and Ajay were quite confident. That reflected in the open-hearted manner in which they dealt with everyone on the sets, including me.”