Saturday, June 21, 2014

L.V.Prasad : From Extra To Monarch Of Indian Cinema – Part II

After a brief stint as an extra, L.V.Prasad moved slowly and gradually to the ladders of success. During his struggle there once came a time when he was reduced to a ticket collector at Mumbai’s Dreamland Theatre after Imperial Film Company had trimmed their staff due to financial crunch. But a determined Prasad did not give up hope. He shuttled from Mumbai to Madras (Chennai) to consistently seeking an opportunity to prove his mettle. And his efforts made up when he got a break as an assistant director to director Ali Shah in the movie KAMAR-AL–ZAMAN. It was here his name was shortened by lethargic clerk in the production company who found Lakshmi Vara Prasada to lengthy to write; hence he condensed it to L.V.Prasad. 

After this, Prasad began getting offers as assistant director. One such offer that he received proved a turning point in his career. The movie was GRUHA PRAVESAM and Prasad was recruited as assistant director but fortunately the director quit hence the producers gave the reins of direction to Prasad. He was also offered the lead role. Prasad took the movie as a challenge and regarded it as the golden opportunity to display his potential. The movie proved a hit and is even today regarded as a classic. After this Prasad never looked back and gave hits after this. 

In Bollywood he proved his magnetism in his very first movie MISS MARY staring Bollywood tragedy queen Meena Kumari and south sensation Gemini Ganesan. Interestingly Prasad played a vital role in changing Meena Kumari’s tragedy image with MISS MARY which was a comedy and it displayed Meena Kumar’s histrionics as an versatile actress. The movie had great music by Hemant Kumar and all hit songs like Brindavan Ka Krishan Kanhaiya..., O Raat Ke Musafir Chanda Zara Bata De. L.V.Prasad had originally had made MISS MARY first in Telugu as MISSIAMMA (1955) and later remade in Hindi and in MISSIYAMMA in Tamil. 

After the success of this movie Prasad made many movies in Hindi both as director and producer like SHARADA, CHHOTI BAHEN, BETI BETE, DAADI MAA, JEENE KI RAAH, BIDAAI. The movies he produced in Bollywood are SASURAL, MILAN, RAJA AUR RUNK, KHILONA, UDHAR KA SINDHUR, YEH KAISA INSAAF, EK DUJE KE LIYE

Readers would be surprised to know that Prasad who once was employed as ticket collector at Dreamland Theatre in Mumbai had his movie KHILONA celebrating Silver Jubilee run (25 weeks run).

L.V.Prasad besides being a great film maker was a visionary. Hence whatever he earned he pumped back into the film industry. He established Prasads Group in 1956. The corporate sector had Prasad Art Pictures, Prasad Studios, Prasads IMAX and L V Prasad Eye Institute. He also aspired to set up a film academy to train young aspiring filmamkers like him. His son Rameshji made his father’s dream come true by establishing the LV Prasad Film and TV Academy.

The government of India besides conferring upon him with Dadasaheb Phalke Award has honored him by taking out a Commemorative postage stamp in his memory in 2006.


Movies in a historical settings that inspire, move and evoke great emotion and melodrama makes for great entertainment.

Listen to Sivaji Ganesan Songs on

The first movie that probably comes to our mind is "Veerapandiya Kattabomman". Who can ever forget Nadigar thilagam Sivaji Ganesan’s iconic role of the brave freedom fighter who battles against the British.

Listen to Barathi Songs on

Bharathi- a biographical film based on the life of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyaar, was brilliantly portrayed by Sayaji Shinde. The film won the National Award and featured the song "Nirpathuve Nadapathuve" which is a beautiful composition by maestro Ilayaraja.

Hey Ram- directed and produced by Kamal Haasan the semi-fictional plot centres around India's Partition and the murder of Mahatma Gandhi by Hindu fundamentalist Nathuram Godse.The song "Nee Partha" by Asha Bhonsle and Hariharan is a hauntingly beautiful track from the album.

Listen to Madharasapattinam Songs on

Madarasapattinam- A film set in 1940s India, during the country's struggle for independence from the British. The poetic love story of the young daughter of an English governor and local Indian boy was praised for its art settings and costumes.The song "Pookal Pookum Tharunam" speaks of the poignant love between the star-crossed lovers.

Listen to Jodhaa Akbar Songs on

Jodhaa Akbar- It is a fictional love story of the sixteenth century Moghul emperor Akbar and Jodhaa, the Hindu Rajput princess .The songs by AR Rahman is hailed as a magnum opus by Rahman with its magnificent instrumentals and spectacular scores- "Jashn-E-Bahaara" and "Khwaja Mere Khawaja" are considered the best.

The film Urumi- is another heart wrenching story about a young soldier who revolted against the Portugese and tried to kill Vasco Da gama.The song "Aaro Nee Aaro" in the film is a beautiful compostition rendered by KJ yesudas and Shwetha Mohan. However, it was alleged to be plagiarised from a Loreena McKennitt's compostion.

Listen to Mughal E Azam Songs on

The list would be incomplete without Mughal-e-Azam , which is the historical epic following the love affair between Mughal Prince Salim (who went on to become Emperor Jahangir) and Anarkali, a court dancer. Emperor Akbar, Salim’s father disapproves of the relationship, which leads to a war between father and son. The film was legendary- It cost more to produce than any previous Indian motion picture; the budget for a single song sequence exceeded that typical for an entire film of the period. The song "Pyar Kiya To Darna Kya" is one of the greatest songs in Indian Cinema.