Prudhviraj Exclusive Interview:
Dattatha teesukovatam ante roadlu rangulu vesi vellipothananukunnara? veedni vaadni vaadini kuda dattatha teesukunna.. Ooru manaku entho ichindi..tirigi iyyakapothe lavayipothamu ” says Prudhvi Raj in Bengal Tiger as he reprises Mahesh Babu from Srimanthudu. This is not the first time the crowd went ecstatic when they saw Prudhvi reel dialogues with elan. In a chat with Telugu360.com, the comedian throws light on his salad days and talks of how the industry is guiding him, chiseling him to be a better person, a better actor. “Chota K. Naidu told me yesterday..don’t let success get into your head, enjoy it with your family. This is just a small promotion in work. I have taken his words seriously. Sometimes I miss my mother, I was very close to her. When I went home after the film (Bengal Tiger) released and compliments started pouring in, I sat in front of her photograph and just kept gazing at her. Wish she was alive to see all this,” he says.
How does it feel to be the centre of attention?
I am enjoying every bit of this attention,because it has come to me after a long wait. The industry has been giving me a variety of characters recently. Just as a student gets a rank in EAMCET, I too feel exhilarated, it is like getting a big break. It started with Loukyam, the writers and the entire team introduced a track from Legend in the climax and that brought me closer to Balayya’s fans. The fans said that I have elevated heroism in the track, Balayya too saw the film and complimented the director.
Were there moments of frustration in your career when some plum roles went to a colleague?
It is true that I never got a great opportunity, Rao Gopal Rao, Prabhakar Reddy always told me not feel jealous if our colleague bagged a good role in a movie. Kalaama Thalli will give also us an opportunity and we just have to wait for that time and complete our ongoing projects with sincerity. To reach a goal, one goes in a car, one on a cycle and one by walk.. whatever it we should keep our behaviour in mind and in check. Never get angry, no need to specially learn, the industry will teach you.
Tell us something about your television career
I am a post graduate in Economics and also got a diploma in Journalism. The Late Potluri Ramakrishna in Siti Cable offered me a job in his channel so that I can keep the kitchen fire burning. I was married by then and had children. ETV also encouraged me a lot, I did a serial for them, i.e is I worked 7 years. I remember very well, out of 300 people who came for an audition, Bapu garu selected me for Indra’s character, I was without make up on that day. The serial was Sree Bhagavatam. I did all kinds of characters thereafter in Ramoji Rao’s projects except Narada’s. Without Ramoji’s channel my career wouldn’t have come this far.
My family was upset that being a post graduate, I didn’t think of their future.. “family ni road meeda vodilestara” they commented but it was only my Peddhamma who encouraged me. I would divide my time throughout the day working and then making trials to get a break in the medium of art. My relatives saw my work happening on the small tube and felt somewhat relieved. After Khadgam released, they heaved a sigh of relief. Later it was back to square one, pushing the card into the ATM, taking whatever was available..leading a life, I didn’t get a proper break.
About your mannersim..30 years industry ikkada
MS Narayana always said if one becomes popular because of a mannersim in a film, you shouldn’t leave it… “mannerism ni bathikinchali”. I used this mannerism for 30 years industry ikkada atleast in 30 films, though this is my 18th year in the industry. I am glad that lot of people in the industry like me, andaru abhimanistaru. They all want me to be a part of the film, if they go outdoor they wish I should be a part of the group. Rendu rojulu Prudhvi ni pedithe baguntundi..pilavandayya aayanni, say friends and writers. I also never demand money, I take what is given to me. I bring food from home.
Has the industry changed over the years?
Nothing much..writing style is the same. Computers, mobiles vocchesaayi. The younger generation is acting well. We all value and still do, whatever small roles given to us..but this generation talks a lot..the values have gone, they keep boasting Raghavendra Rao called us, that person called us. Technically, I have updated myself, purchased a laptop three years back and have learnt to use smart phone as well. Nerchukovali ane tapana undi.
How does it feel to be surrounded by Bollywood artistes?
They keep saying Kya Ji..kya haal hai. “Iddaru Hindi vaalu unte manalni Yedava la chustaaru. Vaallu okkare unte mana chutoo tirugutharu”. You have to train these people to talk, get Sai Kumar’s brother to dub for them. Sivaji Ganesan was called here and given a role but NTR did not do any films in any languages..athanni minchina andagadu yevaru leru. For instance, in Kick 2..you will find around ten Bollywood actors..it is like watching a Hindi film. If they are looking for a rich father they look for non-Telugu artist. But, Thanks to Bahubali, we have become famous.
Were you ever embarrassed with your work?
I once took my sister to see Vedam. She is Anushka’s fan. I forgot the kind of work I did in the film and took her to the movie. She did a role of a prostitute and when I visit her, a gay called Karpoor says, “Andariki American tablets 1000 Rupees neeku aithe 500.” When I came out people started screaming ‘tablet gadu’. My sister baga hurt ayindi, I had to convince her that such things we have to face we if we become a public figure.
Your rapport with Balayya
NBK igiving me a role in Legend is akin to an Oscar. In one of the scenes in Legend..there is a dialogue ‘talli lanti party ni yela marchavu?”. Balayya pilipinchi avakasam iccharu again in Dictator. He encouraged me a lot, I play the main comedian in Dictator. There is not one, but many hilarious dialogues. He is a very down to earth. Sitting beside him is my poorva janma sukrutam. I can’t express my feelings in words. He is very punctual, doesn’t gossip..there is so much to learn from him. “Nandamuri Taraka Rama Rao gari cinemalu yememi chusari meeru?” he asked and we spoke of those films. Devudni nammandi nijayati ga undandi..he said and I became his admirer of him. He is a Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy bakthudu…I went immediately to Vizag and performed puja.
Right now I have become more responsible, I want to sit with the writers and ask them how I can better my work…