Sakuntala was perhaps the only actor who used cuss words on screen without sounding offensive
As the Telugu film industry mourns the loss of one of its versatile actors, it remembers ‘Telangana Sakuntala’ as a straight forward, down to earth and a very warm person. Her no nonsense attitude extended to her screen life as well, as directors gave her characters that she identified with very easily. Sakuntala used cuss word dheen talli as a villain in many comedy films with elan.
Sakuntala’s entry into films in 1979 with Maa Bhoomi and her rise as a character artiste was without break. The actor with a background in theatre had she had around 9,000 stage performances in her kitty, she won the best actress award 1400 times for her performances on stage as well as films. A four-time Nandi award winner, the actress claimed her best performance was in R. Narayanmurty’s film Koolanna for an emotional song sung by Janaki. She was known as Akka in Telugu films, Swarnakka in Tamil Nadu and Kalamma in Kannada films.
Her roles in films always required her to scream her guts out and she never had qualms doing it or ever once complained of monotony. “After Namo Venkatesa released I suffered a heart problem and was advised by doctors not to take up vociferous roles and not exert myself too much. So I am now requesting directors to give something mellowed,” she told us last; sadly the audience too noticed that she was losing weight and they couldn’t relate to her not-so-loud dialogues.
A non local she was one of the four daughters of a soldier born in Maharashtra and took to stage and theatre very early in life and picked up Telangana dialect in movies so well, like a duck takes to water and earned the sobriquet ‘Telangana Sakuntala’. The actor who was compared to Suryakantam earned scores of fans and worked in Mohan Babu’s film Pandavulu Pandavulu Thummeda last.