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As real as they come

Published Oct 27, 2015, 5:00 am IST
Updated Mar 27, 2019, 8:35 am IST
A native of Visakhapatnam, Prakash completed his PG in Fine Arts from Andhra University

One of the most sought-after art directors in the industry, A.S. Prakash, is also one of the least known because his job is a little too perfect

A.S. Prakash has worked in 50 films as art director, most of which were blockbusters, but he remains as low profile as they come. But Prakash is one of the busiest art directors in Tollywood and has worked on projects with some of the top industry actors — Mahesh Babu, Prabhas, Balakrishna, Ravi Teja and now, Akhil.


And it’s sets that have gotten him the acclaim. For example, Mahesh and Venkatesh’s house from Seethamma Vakitlo Sirimalle Chettu gives the feeling that the film has been shot at Relanga village. In fact, Prakash has missed out some awards because the juries assumed the locations were real.

A native of Visakhapatnam, Prakash completed his PG in Fine Arts from Andhra University. “After my graduation, I arrived in Vizag for an exam. At that time I saw an advertisement from Ramoji Film City asking for fresh talent. I applied and got selected,” says Prakash while talking about his first stint. There he worked with none other than Nitish Roy, a popular art director of Hindi and Bengali cinema.

“I worked for more than two years there. At that time producer Dil Raju was planning to make the film Arya and was looking for new people. They approached me for the film and that’s how I entered films,” he says. The Allu Arjun-starrer went on to become a 2004 blockbuster.

Prakash then worked continuously with Dil Raju for other films like Bhadra, Bommarillu and Kotha Bangaru Lokam. Since then he hasn’t looked back and today he is one of the industry — also because, he never overshoots his budgets. “The director narrates the story and I give the budget estimation. I then take into account characters, whether they are rich, from the middle class or poor.

I imagine the story and in a couple of days I give our sketches and estimation. Also, I never talk about my work. For the SVSC set, the director and I spent a few days in East and West Godavari districts and saw the houses the front and back yards, where they plant flowers etc. We planted big coconut trees which we took from Kadiyam village near Rajahmundry. So, many thought that it was a real house in Relangi village,” says Prakash.

He maintains such a low profile that often, lead actors of the films don’t know about him. He has worked with Mahesh Babu in Aagadu, Dookudu and in the latest Srimanthudu. But it was only after Srimanthudu that Mahesh enquired about the film’s art director.

Prakash is also working for Akhil’s debut film Akhil, and the debutant apparently loved the sets. For Akhil’s film, the director wanted an ‘African’ feel. “We went location hunting in the US, Thailand, Columbia, South Africa and Burma, but we didn’t get a good location. Finally, I told them that I would make a huge set in Hyderabad and I finished it in one week. For the shoot, we needed close to 300 African natives and brought in nearly 300 men. When they entered the set, they were shocked to see the set and they said it reminded them of home. It was a big compliment for me,” reveals Prakash.