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Prabhu Deva
Born Prabhu Deva Sundaram
April 3, 1973 (1973-04-03) (age 36)
Mysore, Karnataka, India
Occupation Film actor, director, choreographer
Years active 1987—present
Spouse(s) Latha

Prabhu Deva (Kannada: ಪ್ರಭು ದೇವ, Telugu: ప్రభు దేవ, Tamil: பிரபு தேவா) (born 3 April 1973) is an Indian dancer, choreographer, actor and film director. He has been called "India's Michael Jackson" for his fast-paced dance movements,[1] though he has given performances in a wide range of dancing styles.

While he is mainly involved in Tamil cinema, he has also contributed to filmmaking in other Indian film industries, including Telugu cinema, Kannada cinema, and Hindi cinema. He has won a number of awards for his elaborate dance sequences, including two National Awards for Best Choreography (holding the record for the most Best Choreography awards alongside Saroj Khan), a Filmfare Best Choreography Award, and a Filmfare Best Choreography Award (Telugu). Prabhu deva recently ventured as a director for the movie Wanted and received critical acclaim for his work.


Personal life

Prabhu Deva was born in a Kannadiga family[2][3][4] in Mysore, Karnataka on 3 April 1973 and grew up in Alwarpet, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. He was inspired by his father, Mugur Sundar(Well known as Sundaram Master), who was a dance master for popular South Indian movies. He took dancing as his career and passion, by learning Indian dances such as Bharatanatyam as well as Western dance styles. His brothers Raju Sundaram and Nagendra Prasad are also established South-Indian choreographers. From choreography he went on to establish himself as an actor. His dance steps helped him become a star in Kollywood (the Tamil film industry). His first movie as a dance director was Vetri Vizha. He has since choreographed over 100 movies. Before starting as a full time actor, he appeared as a background dancer for a song in the Tamil Film Agni Natchathiram. His first movie as a hero was in Indhu (1994) with actress Roja. Deva's success resulted largely from his dancing. In 1999, Deva, Shobhana and A. R. Rahman performed with a Tamil cinema dancing troupe at the "Michael Jackson and Friends" concert in Munich, Germany. He has a significant fan following in the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada film industry. He acted alongside his brothers in the movie 123.

Prabhu Deva is married to Latha and they have three sons - Vishal Deva (born as Basavaraju), Rishi Raghavendra Deva and Aditya Deva.

Deva's 12 year old son Vishal Deva died on 4 December 2008.[5] He was suffering from cancer for a long time. Vishal originally named as Basavaraju, was the eldest amongst the three siblings.

Other appearances

  • Prabhu Deva was also noticed when he made brief appearances in solo items such as "Rajathi Raja" in Agni Natchathiram (1988), "April Mayile" in Idhayam (1991), "Lallaku Doldapi Ma" in Suriyan (1992), "Chinna Rasave" in Walter Vetrivel (1993), and "Chikku Bukku Raiyle" in Gentleman (1993).
  • He danced with Madhuri Dixit for the song "Que Sera, Sera" in the movie Pukar.
  • He acted along with Lawrence Raghavendra in the hit movie Style.
  • He has danced with Apache Indian in the song "No Problem" in the film Love Birds.
  • He made a special appearance in Pokkiri (which was directed by himself) with Vijay in the song "Aadungada".
  • He also danced in the film Abra Ka Dabra for the song "Om Sh".
  • He also danced in the Nana Patekar - Karisma Kapoor film Shakti for a song.
  • He danced with Vijay in the movie Villu for the song "Hey Rama". This was a guest appearance. Villu was also directed by him.
  • He appeared in a song sequence with superstar Rajnikanth in the Tamil movie Baba.


Benny Lava

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In August 2007, a music video for the song "Kalluri Vaanil" from the Indian-Tamil movie Pennin Manathai Thottu was uploaded to YouTube by Mike Sutton (Youtuber Buffalax).[6] The video was created as a soramimi, edited to include incorrect English subtitles that approximate the original Tamil lyrics phonetically.

The name Benny Lava comes from Sutton's subtitling of the Tamil lead line "Kalluri vaanil kaayndha nilaavo?" as "My loony bun is fine, Benny Lava!" (original meaning: The moon (metaphor for 'babe') that scorched the college campus"). The video led other Youtube users to refer to Prabhu Deva as "Benny Lava". The video was inspired after Sutton watched Moskau by German pop-band Dschinghis Khan.[6] One of Sutton's friends "wished he could understand the song so he could sing along."[6] Sutton thought the real translation would be difficult and instead used English lyrics that replicated the German song.[6]

Reception to the Kalluri Vaanil soramimi was mixed. Some felt that the video was done in "good fun" while others worried that their culture was being mocked.[6] The video was described by the Philippine Daily Inquirer as a "Catchy melody, a battalion of back-up dancers, colorful costumes, impressive vocal gymnastics, jaw-dropping choreography this music video has it all. And if those arent enough, the person who uploaded this vid also provided subtitles so you can sing along. They arent the real lyrics though, but just what they sound in English, resulting in a lot of nonsense."- [sic]- [7] The music video was also featured on The Colbert Report on 4 December 2008.



As actor

Year Film Role Language Notes
1988 Agni Natchathiram Tamil Special appearance
1991 Idhayam Tamil Special appearance
1992 Suriyan Tamil Special appearance
1993 Gentleman Tamil Special appearance
Walter Vetrivel Tamil Special appearance
1994 Indhu Pattasu Tamil
Kaadhalan Prabhu Tamil
1995 Raasaiyya Raasaiyya Tamil
1996 Mr. Romeo Romeo,
Love Birds Arun Tamil
1997 VIP Guru Tamil
Minsara Kanavu Deva Tamil
1998 Naam Iruvar Nammaku Iruvar Prabhu Tamil
Love Story 1999 Telugu
Kadhala Kadhala Sundaralingam Tamil
1999 Ninaivirukkum Varai Janakiraman (Jonny) Tamil
Suyamvaram Tamil
Time Srininvasa Murthy Tamil
2000 Vanathai Pola Tamil
Eazhaiyin Sirippil Ganesan Tamil
Pukar Hindi
James Pandu James Tamil
Pennin Manathai Thottu Sunil Tamil
Doubles Prabhu Tamil
2001 Nila Kaalam Tamil
Ullam Kollai Poguthae Tamil
Alli Thandha Vaanam Sathyam Tamil
Manadhai Thirudivittai Deva Tamil
2002 H2O Vairamuthu Kannada
Charlie Chaplin Thiru Tamil
Santosham Pawan Telugu
One Two Three Thirupathy Tamil
Manasella Neene Kannada
Baba Tamil Special appearance
Agni Varsha Rakshasha Hindi
Shakti - The Power Hindi Special appearance
Thotti Gang Telugu
2003 Alaudin Alaudin Tamil
O Radha Iddharu Krishnula Pelli Telugu
2004 Engal Anna Kannan Tamil
Tapana Telugu
Andalu Dongale Dorikithe Bujji Telugu
Aabra Ka Daabra Hindi Special appearance
2005 Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana Telugu Cameo appearance
2006 Style Ganesh Telugu
Chukkallo Chandrudu Sharat Telugu
Pournami Telugu Cameo appearance
2007 Pokkiri Tamil Cameo appearance
Shankardada Zindabad Telugu Cameo appearance
2008 Vaana Telugu Special appearance
Michael Madana Kamaraju Telugu
2009 Villu Tamil Cameo appearance
Wanted Hindi Cameo appearance
2010 Kalavadiya Pozhudugal Porcheziyan Tamil Filming
Ich Tamil Announced

As choreographer

Year Film Title Language Notes
2010 Endhiran Tamil
2009 Wanted Hindi
Bodyguard Malayalam
2007 Sivaji: The Boss Tamil
Pokkiri Tamil
2006 Sillunu Oru Kaadhal Tamil
Don - The Chase Begins Again Hindi
Pournami Telugu
2005 No Entry Hindi
Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana Telugu Won Filmfare Best Choreography Award (Telugu).
2004 Lakshya Hindi Won National Film Award for Best Choreography.
Won Filmfare Best Choreography Award.
Won Star Screen Award for Best Choreography.
Samba Telugu
2003 Khushi Hindi
2002 Shakti: The Power Hindi
Baba Tamil
Agni Varsha Hindi
2000 Pukar Hindi Nominated for Star Screen Award for Best Choreography.
Pennin Manathai Thottu Tamil Features the "Kalluri Vaanil" music video popularly known as "Benny Lava".
1997 Minsaara Kanavu Tamil Won National Film Award for Best Choreography.
1995 Bombay Tamil
1994 Kadhalan Tamil
1993 Chandra Mukhi Hindi
Gumraah Hindi
Mechanic Alludu Telugu
Gaayam Telugu
Govindha Govindha Telugu
Thiruda Thiruda Tamil
Gentleman Tamil
Walter Vetrivel Tamil
1992 Suriyan Tamil
Gharaana Mogudu Telugu
Aaj Ka Goonda Raaj Hindi
1991 Idayam Tamil
Thalapathi Tamil
Rowdy Alludu Telugu
Kshana Kshanam Telugu
Gang Leader Telugu
1990 Raja Vikramarka Telugu
Jagadeka Veerudu Attilokasundari Telugu
1989 Vetri Vizha Tamil
1988 Agni Natchathiram Tamil

As director

Year Film Language Notes
2005 Nuvvostanante Nenoddantana Telugu
2006 Pournami Telugu
2007 Pokkiri Tamil Winner, Vijay Award for Favourite Director
Shankardada Zindabad Telugu
2009 Villu Tamil
Wanted Hindi
2010 Ich Tamil Announced


  1. ^ Carballo, Charlie (2008-10-15). "Benny Lava Bollywood crazy dance viral". Houston Examiner. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Actor Prabhu Deva's son Vishal dead". The Times of India. 5 December 2008. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Phan, Monty (2007-11-06). "Buffalax Mines Twisted Translations for YouTube Yuks". (Entertainment : The Web). Wired Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-06. 
  7. ^ Nino Mark M. Sablan, 2bU! Correspondent (2008-05-14). "Philippine Daily Inquirer: Indian invasion on YouTube". Section: Lifestyle, Page: 2 (Philippine Daily Inquirer). (Newsbank Record Number: WDPI66164804). 

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