How did it happen?
I made my debut with Rangula Ratnam, thanks to B.N. Reddy who gave me a break, that went on to win the Regional Best Picture award and the Swarna Nandi in 1967. I was 21 years old and the trend of making movies with freshers had just begun. I was a graduate and had applied for jobs. My interest lay in counting cash, accountancy, collection, maintaining balances etc. If I had retired like my classmate who worked in a bank, by now I would have been in an AGM rank and would have got a decent pension and the job would ensure some pension for my wife after my death.
I just got a name in the industry but my earnings were meagre. I missed out the simple and disciplined life of a common man, spent all my life in travelling and taking up roles thinking that if I don't, I would be eliminated from the competition. I don't recollect spending a Sunday with my wife or children. After 45 years of service, I'm still struggling for daily bread, there is nothing to fall back on, what has the industry done for me at the fag end of my life?
How was the experience?
After the success of my first film I was in a dilemma, do I join a government job or not? If I resigned and would return again they said they wouldn't take me back. Here in the industry there was lot of competition, politics, caste feelings and all I did was to compromise and reach so far. There have been many good films like Siri Siri Muvva, Subhodayam, Sitamalakshmi, Padaharella Vayasu etc but before I quit films I want to do one film, one good character role that will revolve around me and give me complete satisfaction.
How did life change?
My life didn't change much after my entry in films. There were many bitter moments. During the shooting of Manasantha Nuvve my mother was seriously ailing and I asked them to let me go; they said it was a combination scene and they would lose out on two lakhs. My mother, I was told, was waiting for me but I couldn't see her that one last time alive. In the initial years of my career I took a car and rushed to see my dying sister. She was gone by the time I reached. All my life I feel guilty. There have been many artistes who died in a deplorable condition; people survive here only if you are careful with your money.