The erstwhile film hero is comfortable in the saffron robe, fighting smoking
Sriram Panda quit acting 16 years ago to ‘atone for his sin’
It is not possible to change anyone through acting, he feels
BHUBANESWAR: Shah Rukh Khan and his tribe might be fighting for their right to smoke on screen, but this handsome hero of Oriya cinema - Sriram Panda – had to quit films to fight smoking.
On a fine morning 16 years ago, Sriram – now known as Swami Nitya Chaitanya of the Bihar School of Yoga at Munger - who was at the peak of his career then with 30 films in his kitty, announced that he was quitting acting.
Reason? His image of a handsome hero and a chain smoker lured many young men into the hazardous habit of smoking.
“I was also being shown as a model for the Cavendar cigarette then and I was ashamed of learning later on that my image lured many others into smoking,” he revealed during an interaction with mediapersons at the house of his friend and eminent film personality Prasanta Nanda here on Monday.
“I felt guilty of misleading society and to atone for this sin I resorted to spiritualism. I became a sanyasi to change people through yoga and spiritual practices,” the saffron-clad Swami added.
Why did not he try to change the people through his acting? “It was not possible. Have you ever seen anyone becoming generous after watching a film on Harischandra, the great giver?” questioned the former actor who reigned the Oriya film industry with his stellar performance in films like “Sindura Bindu”, “Dharitri” and “Swapna Sagar”.
The Swami expressed his gratitude towards his wife and well-known actress of yesteryear Tripura Mishra who was incidentally present on the occasion.
“She could move on in life with two kids with enough courage and confidence despite my departure.
She lived up to my expectations and faith in her,” he said.
Tripura, a college teacher, admitted that it was too painful for her to move along alone with the responsibility of their two children.
“I relied on my inner strength,” she confided and added that she was happy to discover the great change in her husband though his outer appearance shocked her for a while when she met him after many years.
“He was the most handsome man in his times that no one would be able to guess by meeting him now,” said the ace actress who also quit acting and resorted to yoga.
Like Gautam’s wife Yasodhara accepted her husband’s way after he became the Buddha!