on the actor's trail

GV Prakash Kumar on ‘Naachiyaar’ director Bala: ‘He is particular about every expression’

Also starring Jyothika, Bala’s film will be released on February 16.

Tamil composer and singer GV Prakash Kumar rose to fame at the age of four. He lent his voice to songs composed by his uncle AR Rahman, including Chikku Bukku Rayile from Gentleman (1993) and Madrasai Suthi from May Madham (1994).

Fourteen years later, Kumar made his debut as a composer with the Tamil film Veyyil (2005). He has since created the soundtracks for over 70 films, including Aadukalam (2011), Kaaka Muttai (2014) and the background score for Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) and Ugly (2014).

Prakash’s talent extends beyond music. He made his acting debut in the hit horror comedy Darling in 2015, and he now has six films to his credit, the most recent of which is by the acclaimed director Bala. In Naachiyaar, which also stars Jyothika as a police officer, Prakash plays a vegetable seller accused of assaulting his girlfriend. The movie will be released on February 16.

“I am lucky to be here,” Kumar told Scroll.in. “I have been learning a lot every day as a composer, as an actor and as a singer.”

Naachiyaar (2018).

Naachiyaar is Bala’s eighth movie, and follows a series of hard-hitting social dramas, including Sethu (1999), Pithamagan (2003) and Paradesi (2013). “The story is a very interesting thriller,” Kumar said. “My character is a very innocent, genuine boy. It is a thriller about a boy from the slums. The way Bala sir narrated the character of Kathuvarayan to me was very interesting. The script has a social responsibility and it deals with a subject that has to be addressed now.”

The main preparation for the role required a drastic physical transformation. “We changed my skin colour and hair colour for the film,” Kumar said. “We had to tan my skin colour three grades down. When you have a good teacher and go to a set, you are mentally prepared. When Bala sir is there, there is no confusion. He will exactly brief you about how to work and what kind of body language you have to adapt. I worked around those lines.”

Bala, who is known for his methodical approach, collaborated with Kumar in his capacity as a music composer for Paradesi. “He [Bala] is very particular about every reaction and expression, and he would tell me how it was to be done,” Kumar said. “He is a very good teacher and he knows how to get his work done. It was very good to work with somebody with so much clarity and planning. His shot divisions are very clear. He is one of the best directors I have ever worked with.”

GV Prakash Kumar in Naachiyaar (2018). Image credit: B Studios.
GV Prakash Kumar in Naachiyaar (2018). Image credit: B Studios.

Kumar reiterated that his acting career was not planned. “Long back [director] AR Murugadoss met me and said that he wanted to produce a film with me as an actor,” Kumar said. “He told me that I had a connect with the audience. I seriously looked into it because he is not somebody who will just tell someone something like that.”

The composer is also a known voice behind many Tamil film songs, including Edhai Ninaithom from Kaaka Muttai and Yathe Yathe from Aadukalam. “A lot of people say that I am good at melodies,” Kumar said. “But basically, I am an emotional person. The emotional songs come out very easily for me. So perhaps I am able to connect to those songs. Ever since I was in my school band in the ninth standard, I used to perform at cultural events. I thought I should pursue my dream.”

Yathe Yathe from Aadukalam (2011).

Apart from Naachiyaar, Kumar will act in at least seven more films, including Rajiv Menon’s under-production musical Sarvam Thaala Mayam. “After K Vishwanath [renowned Telugu filmmaker Kasinathuni Viswanath], here is a director who has come up with a musical script, so I am very excited to work on Rajiv sir’s film,” he said. Kumar plays a low-caste drummer who participates in a musical talent show in the movie, whose music is by Rahman.

How does he juggle acting and composing? By working every single day. And which one gets preference? “I cannot pick between the two because I only do things that I am really comfortable with,” Kumar said. “I like whatever I am doing now.”

Sarvam Thaala Mayam.
Sarvam Thaala Mayam.
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Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”


“Like what?”


A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”




“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:


This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.