Prakash Raj on Yuvarathnaa star Puneeth Rajkumar: He is a wonderful artist, a down-to-earth person

Yuvarathnaa, starring Puneeth Rajkumar, Sayyeshaa Saigal, Dhananjaya, Prakash Raj, Diganth and Sonu Gowda, is due in cinemas on April 2.

The upcoming Kannada film Yuvarathnaa is actor Prakash Raj’s second collaboration with Puneeth Rajkumar under the direction of Santhosh Ananddram. Earlier, the trio had collaborated for the 2017 hit drama, Raajakumara. The five-time National Award-winning actor has made no secret about how excited he is about the forthcoming film. Why may you ask? It is because the issue that the film deals with is something very close to his heart — the education system in India and what ails it.

“The soul of the film and its relevance impressed me a lot. And it is so generous of Hombale Films, Puneeth Rajkumar and Santhosh Ananddram to address an important issue through this film. And it is so healthy,” Prakash, who turned 56 last week, told indianexpress.com.

Prakash opined that commercial films should also inform the audience as much as it entertains them. “When we talk about commercial films, it is just not entertainment. This film (Yuvarathnaa) has something which I stand for and it is close to my heart. We have been talking about equal education. How privatization of schools is taking away the right to education (from people). And the need to revive and empower government schools and educational institutions is very important,” he added.

Prakash is grateful for everything he has received in life and wants to give back now. “I have crossed the age to say what is a good role for me. For all the experience, talent and the love of the people that have been bestowed upon me, being part of such films are important. It is not always what cinema gives you but what you give back to the cinema,” he explained.

And he was generous in his praise for director Santhosh calling him a “responsible filmmaker.” “I have great respect for him. It is not just for the talent or his craft. It is how he uses his craft to deal with a very difficult subject and blends it with a language that people would like to listen to. He comes across as a very responsible filmmaker and such filmmakers are very important to our society,” he said.

Besides Raajakumara and Yuvarathnaa, Prakash has collaborated with Puneeth Rajkumar for films like Ajay and Mayabazar 2016. “I have known him (Puneeth) since his childhood. I have great respect and warmth towards his family: Appaji (Dr Rajkumar), Shivanna (Shivarajkumar). And I am very comfortable working with him. He is a wonderful artist, a down-to-earth person. And he’s a team player,” Prakash said.

Yuvarathnaa is also releasing in Telugu with the same name. Prakash is confident that the film will click with the audience across south India. “The film deals with a universal issue. Everywhere you have middle class, problems in the education system, and eroding values. So I think it will strike a chord (with the audience),” he added.

Not just about Yuvarathnaa, he is also excited about the way the Kannada film industry is improving its standing nationally. “I am very proud of the way the young filmmakers have evolved in Kannada cinema. Young filmmakers like Hemanth M Rao, Rakshit Shetty, Prashanth Neel are pushing the envelope in making quality films and films with a pan-Indian appeal.”

Yuvarathnaa is due in cinemas on April 2.

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