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The smiley in Telugu cinema

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY
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AchievementActor Brahmanandam becomes reflective about his 900 movie roles

King of comedyBrahmanandam
King of comedyBrahmanandam

“You must come home to see my awards, I don't want people to saybhale ga undhi, I want people to notice the hard work that went into bagging all this. What is the point of narrating poetry when the listener can't appreciate and enjoy the meaning?” questions Brahmanandam with excitement and a child like glee. His visage exudes not complacency but contentment. Completing 900 films as a comedian is no joke. He might have stacked two rooms in his home with memorabilia but he is not going to fill his system with the continuous stream of compliments; he believes it will make him arrogant, stagnant and lackadaisical. “I will complete 1000 films some daykaani na prasthaanam aagadhu,” he declares.

What makes this man special and consistent despite the rise of umpteen comedians in the Telugu film industry?

The actor says an ocean can have its limit but the roles offered to him are diverse and aplenty. He observes people and their mannerisms and feels one cannot fake a joke, and if it is stale people will reject the comedian. Brahmanandam admits to going on a self-introspection mode and wondering a zillion times about his face that has given him the titles and the affection of the vast Andhra Pradesh populace.

AfterDee's release, around 50 films followed based on his style of comedy but only 20 worked, he is the proverbial spice without which the taste of a south Indian curry would be incomplete. The man himself at the cost of sounding pompous says, “I'm like a pile of inflamed wooden sticks that glow and gives continuous warmth, the rest are like palm leaves that are set ablaze, they flicker and are diffused.”

Has that attitude brought him trouble, media unleashing a smear campaign on his attitude towards his fellow actors? Brahmanandam says sternly people are interested in seeing him and love being entertained by him, what he does behind the camera is of no concern to them.

At theRagada function people gave him a standing ovation for one minute 27 seconds.

Incidentally on the same day a channel criticised him. “Do you still think my reputation has taken a beating?” he questions. He will not refute allegations and rumours as a little amount of patience on his part will set things right. Many actors say they don't understand politics but Brahmanandam is very clear, he remarks “Naaku politics telusu andhuke dooramga untaanu.”

The man who spreads such cheer and joy has just one friend in his village. The undisputed king of comedy signs off saying , “My father would say friendshipki plural undadhu. There can be only one real friend.”

Y. SUNITA CHOWDHARY

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