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‘Nothing is permanent’

y. sunita chowdhary
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chat Actor Kanchana reminisces about her personal and professional past

veteran actorKanchana
veteran actorKanchana

The yesteryear actor, gorgeous-looking Kanchana, is spending her time in spiritual pursuits these days. She hardly watches films of this generation and says everything about this world has become fast track, be it food or films. In a relaxed mood in Chennai, the actor gets nostalgic: “People were selected on the basis of form, figure and acting capability and the films would run for more than a year. We had a career spanning a decade or two. But now everything is so fast, no one has time to sit and watch a long shot. In Batasaari , A. Nageswara Rao (ANR)was shown walking for a long time in a particular scene, I guess that won’t work now. The quality too has changed, be it a silk sari, gold or a movie. Our films were balanced. Certain technicians made the actors, moon, hills, trees look lovely. Now people have no time to sit and gaze at the moon. ”

Attractive persona

Kanchana’s original name was Vasundhara Devi. Director Sridhar rechristened her Kanchana as Vyjayanthimala’s mother shared the same name, but the industry folks would address her as Devi. Tall and with sharp features and an attractive persona, people knew her as an air hostess before she started working in films. “I got a lot of compliments — maybe I was destined to receive them. But there were far more beautiful actors Vyjayanthimala, Madhubala, Meena Pradhan. I couldn’t complete my education though I reached graduation. I was working for an airline and then became an actor and now I am into spirituality. We have seen decades of glamorous life but I am happy that the power of God helped me see what is truth and what is not.” Speaking of controversial reports, the actor says she doesn’t quite understand how the media comes up with unimportant things.

“In this country we have a tradition of wearing saris. Someone had a problem with that and wrote that I was spotted selecting vegetables in an old sari. Do they expect you to doll up and go to the vegetable market? I feel it is indeed a miracle surviving at this age when many people become senile or physically incapacitated. There is a song in Bhakta Thukaram which reminds me that nothing in this world is permanent.” Does she keep in touch with her co-stars? “Not much. I was there for an awards function and then I spoke to ANR when his wife passed away. We were neighbours; then I was young and would go cycling. I wasn’t in films then and ANR was already doing Devadas .”

y. sunita chowdhary


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