Prathama Prasad, a name synonymous with Kathak mythological roles, is beaming. The actor-dancer is excited about her next film, Acharya Sri Shankara. The film has been shot in Kannada, Telugu and Sanskrit. It is produced under the banner of Yammanur Creations and directed by Raja Ravi (known for films such as Srimati and has earlier made mythological films on Sri Ramanuja and Sai Baba).
Prathama, who plays Shankara’s mother, Aaryamba, will be sharing the screen with Ravindra Bhagavat (who plays the lead), Ramesh Bhat, Ramkrishna, MICO Manju and her mother, Vinaya Prasad. “She plays a short and special role in the film”.
Prathama says that as the title suggests, the film is the life story of the great teacher. “The film was first made by the great GV Iyer, almost 35 years ago. That version won several accolades. Our attempt now is to not just uphold our heritage, but also to give the youth a peek into the past and Shankara’s teachings.”
The young actor says the film is close to her heart. “My role was first portrayed by the legendary actor LV Sharada. The film is also special because I shared the screen with actors who worked with my parents.”
Acting in the film has been a different kind of an experience, Prathama says. “I will be venturing into Telugu and Sanskrit. Learning these two languages were a challenge in itself.” Prathama says the final leg of the shoot is done and the film is in the post production stage. Acharya Sri Shankara was shot extensively in Shringeri, Teerthahalli, Melkote, and Kerala and Shivagange.
Though Prathama is often offered roles in period dramas and mythology, she says she is open to acting in commercial ventures too. “To me any performing art, be it dance or acting, is a form of worship. I get offered such roles, perhaps, because of my traditional look and my control over the language. Thanks to my dance background, I get women-centric roles.”
The young actor is in a happy space after a challenging lockdown. “It was tough as I lost two jobs at a go — an acting job, when the serial I was working in was taken off air and my day job at an IT firm. The upside was that I not only got to spend ample time with my family and parents, but also discovered the joys of virtual performances.”