Sriman is multi-faceted. He has been in the industry for more than 15 years and is still a sought-after actor
An ace dancer, a capable performer and a producer himself — I've been following Sriman's career for a decade and a half now, from the days of Vikram's Pudhiya Mannargal. Sriman hasn't made it to the top slot, yet he has been always busy both in Tamil and Telugu. This year, his releases include the unforgettable comic presence in Kanchana, the role of Sonia Agarwal's concerned brother in Sathurangam, and that of a seemingly cantankerous cop in Vellore Maavattam, among others. “I've worked in 130 films so far and that excludes my assignments as a child artist,” he laughs. Now the actor is all set to enter Hindi cinema. “I was thrilled when I received a call from Prabhu Deva for his next Hindi film, an Akshay Kumar-starrer,” Sriman responds. The remake of Vikramarkudu? “Yes, recently remade as Siruthai in Tamil.”
Meanwhile, he is shooting for Billa II in Goa. In Telugu, he is being directed by Raghava Lawrence for Rebel, which has Prabhas as hero. Besides, work on his home production, Parimala Thiraiarangam that has Vikash debuting as hero, and Sanusha of Renigunta and Eththan as heroine, is going on in full swing. Is he acting in it too? “No, I prefer to concentrate on one area at a time. Incidentally, every director's maiden film, in which I've acted, has been a hit. Isn't it a record of sorts?” Be it Murugadoss' debut, Dheena, or for that matter Sethu, Bala's first, Sriman has played unforgettable roles in them. “Why, there are others too, including Chakri Toleti's Unnai Pol Oruvan. Now Chakri has given me a significant role in Billa II,” he says.
Sriman hails from a family of producers. Dad K. Prakash Reddy has made 22 films in Telugu and is still an active producer there. “We've always been connected with cinema. My wife, Namitha, is a doctor, yet her people also have film connections.” The Reddys are a huge joint family. “We are a traditional lot with my brothers, parents, nephews and nieces living under the same roof. Even today my mom is the queen of the kitchen,” he smiles.
Great learning experience
Kamal Haasan is a great talent spotter and it is to Sriman's credit that the veteran gives him opportunities often, the most recent being Manmadhan Ambu. After Pammal K. Sambhandham, in which he played Sneha's bro, it was a quantum leap for Sriman when he was cast as one of the five main characters in Kamal's inimitable rib-tickler, Pancha Thanthiram. “Even if it's a two-minute role, the moment Kamal calls for me, I'm there. It's a great learning experience. Imbibing his timing in dialogue delivery helps me a lot, as it did in that scene with Oorvasi in Vedi,” he says.
“Vikram's a good friend. His suggestions helped me hone my acting skills and I would offer him tips on dancing. We would practise in front of the mirror at Vikram's home,” smiles Sriman. A Bharatanatyam dancer, Sriman has also trained under the likes of choreographers Sivashankar, Kala and Raghu. The cameos he played in 11 films of Vijayakanth made him popular in the towns and villages. “It began with Vallarasu,” Sriman remembers. “And Vijay has been a ladder in my climb to popularity. The role I enacted in his Love Today was a turning point in my career.”
Then why did he have to work in films such as, Sorry, Enakku Kalyanam Aayidichu? “Sadly, the title and the kind of publicity stills used put people off. Actually, it was a very decent film,” he justifies. Aduthadhu which should be out soon, has him playing a hero along with Nasser and Ilavarasu. “A strong story, I hope it does well,” he says.
Hasn't he ever felt frustrated that he hasn't got his due as an actor? “Every day is a learning process. Probably I have to work harder. I am and I will!” The optimism stuns!