Jose Prakash (14 April 1925 – 24 March 2012) was an Indian actor and singer who worked in Malayalam cinema. He was a singer turned actor who had appeared in more than 300 films mostly in antagonist roles. He was awarded with the J. C. Daniel Award for 2011 a day before he died aged 87.
He dominated the Malayalam film industry in the role of villain for around 40 years. Later, he switched to character roles in mid 90s.
He was the eldest of 8 children of Kunnel K.J.Joseph & Eliyamma Joseph on April 14,1925 at Changanassery, Kottayam. He has a younger brother Prem Prakash who is also an actor. He had his primary education from Sacred Heart Public School, Kottayam. He was settled around 30 years in Madras and later moved to Cochin. In 2003 his right leg had to be amputated due to Diabetes. He has 6 children, 4 sons and 2 daughters. He lived with his eldest son in Cochin till his death on 24 March 2012.His grandchildren are Jose Rajan,Tresa Rajan,Priya Shaji and Sachin Shaji.
Script writers Bobby-Sanjay and Malayalam movie director Dennis Joseph are his nephews
Jose Prakash was in the British Indian army before entering the film industry. While in the army he had the rare distinction to serve as the body guard of Mahatma Gandhi during the time of partition. Like other actors of that age he was not a theatre or stage artist. He had served for British Indian army for 8 years.He later left army and return to his homeland and start small business. Having interest in cinema and music from childhood he started a small club with his friends called Kottayam Arts Club in which he was the lead singer. Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair once saw his performance and called him as a singer for his debut directorial film Sheriyo Thetto. It was Thikkurissy who gave him the name Jose Prakash.
Jose Prakash started his early career as a singer who lend his voice for Prem Nazir, Sathyaneshan Nadar etc. Malayalam industry was not professional at early 1950s usually actors sing for themselves. Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair introduced him to V. Dakshinamoorthy who liked his voice and lend his voice for the film Sheriyo Thetto in 1953 directed by Thikkurissy Sukumaran Nair.In this film philosophical number “Paadu pettu paadangalil” sung by Jose Prakash introduced a new trend in Malayan cinema. He also did a small role in the movie. He was not at all a professional singer and does not attend any musical class. In the early 1960s Malayalam film industry became professional and the introduction of talented singers like A. M. Rajah, K. J. Yesudas ended the careers of all non professional singers. Up to 1960’s he had sung around 60 songs for various actors like Prem Nazir etc.
During his singing career he had done small roles and cameos for films. His first break as an actor was Bhakta Kuchela in 1961.But his major break as a villain was Olavum Theravum in 1969 and he later went on to do many films mostly in villain roles. In 1971, he acted in the first ever investigative sequel C.I.D. Nazir (1971) directed by P. Venu. Later he worked with P. Venu in many of his films. He and K. P. Ummer dominated Malayalam film industry in the role of Antagonist and was a hard target for Heroes. Up to date he had acted for more than 350 films in Malayalam language. He retired from film industry in 2003 due to health reasons. His last film was Ente Veedu Appuvinteyum directed by Sibi Malayil. After a long gap of 8 years he did a small cameo role in Traffic.