How it happened
In the evenings, the touring talkies in my village Rowthulapudi blared songs like Ghantasala's Namo Venkatesa.. signaling the show is about to start. I used to run to the theatre to catch up with the movie. The sand dune was my stage and I used to act the Duryodhana character that won me appreciation. After completing Intermediate I decided to join films. Though my father Reddy Chinnayya Naidu was against it, my mother Reddy Chittemma gave me Rs.70 to go to Madras. I stayed in a lodge in Pondybazar thinking that offers pour in. Within three days with the money spent, I was literally on platform. I took shelter in an old car shed thanks to makeup assistant Chinni. I met my guru Dasari Narayana Rao while he was shooting for Thatha Manavadu. He advised me to come back to him after completing degree course. I was about to leave when Sarabhayya, a junior artiste supplier gave me a role in a crowd of 170 in a song, shot on hero Krishna in K. Viswanath's Neramu-Siksha. I requested the film's assistant director Kommineni Krishnamurthy to give me one scene where I will be visible. He placed me in a dialogue scene with Sakshi Ranga Rao and Mada Venkateswara Rao. I was paid Rs.36 and with that I left Madras,
How it felt
Neramu- Siksha was released in the same tent theatre in Rowthalapudi. People recognized me and said ‘mana Reddy Babulu raa.' That was my pet name and their excitement rekindled the interest in me. So after completing B.A. degree I went back to Madras. Dasari garu as promised took me as the second hero in Needa, and then for the lead role in Sangeetha. Some inconsequential roles followed and I was not getting anywhere. So I turned producer-director with the support of friends and made Ardharathri Swatantram. It was a hit. I made 23 films till now.
How life changed
Life hasn't changed much for me. I remain the same simple commoner. I have seen both success and failure. My recent film, Veera Telengana's success came like a breath of fresh air. My next movie is Poru Telengana with a tag line ‘annadammulla vidipodham… aathmeeyulla kalisundam.' I work for people's uplift through cinema.