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"I owe what I am today to cinema"

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Actor Sripriya
Actor Sripriya

S.R.Ashok Kumar

"All my knowledge revolves around cinema. I am not qualified to do anything more"

Sripriya is one of the best known names in south Indian film industry. Over the past three and a half decades, she has acted in over 300 films, some of them big box office hits.

She is now a member of the panel that will select films for the State awards.

Sripriya looks back on her long career and her foray into television.

I studied at the Church Park convent in Chennai and I studied Hindi and Sanskrit. I did not know much Tamil, especially the script. But I was quick to learn Tamil. I consider it an achievement.

My inspiration to learn Tamil came from many persons, such as Vaalee and Kamal Haasan.

The actor has not studied much but he writes poetry. So I thought when Kamal Haasan could do it why not I? I have read a lot of Kannadasan's songs also.

But Vaalee's poems and songs made learning thelanguage easier. Then comes Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi who can hold an audience spellbound for hours.

I first faced the camera on November 19, 1973 for the film "Murugan Kaattiya Vazhi" directed by P. Madhavan. My first shot went off smoothly. The director and a few people who saw the rushes were happy.

One among them was actor Sivakumar, who said I would turn to be a big actor.

All my knowledge revolves around cinema. If I had more money, I would produce films. I am not qualified to do anything more.

From 1973, I have done more than 300 films in all the four South Indian languages, including 200 in Tamil.

I prefer movies that entertain. I do not want to sit and cry before a screen. All my movies provide entertainment.

My favourite films are "Murugan Kaattiya Vazhi", "Aval Oru Thodar Kathai", "Attukkara Alamelu" and "Neeya", "Aval Appadithan", an offbeat film and `Vasanthathil oru Naal' with Sivaji Ganesan.

My all time favourite actor is Ranga Rao. He would fit into any role with consummate ease. Till now, nobody can imitate or mimic his looks or acting or diction.

Among women, Manorama has done all kinds of roles. As a trendsetter I can name Saroja Devi and among contemporaries Radhika.

I did not include Sivaji and MGR in this list as they are great.

Kamal Haasan and Rajinikanth are my good friends. I learned a lot from them, particularly Kamal Haasan from whom I learnt dance.

I have two children Sneha and Nagarjun. My husband Raj Kumar has done more than 60 films.

To change a quote, I would say behind every successful woman is her family.

When I started to act, it was my mother and sister who supported me and after that my husband and his family.

Till now, I have directed five serials, the best being "Viduthalai" acted by Radhika. Now I am acting in "Anandam" and "Imsai Arasigal". I have directed four films, two in Tamil and two in Kannada.

What I have today is mainly due to cinema. I have missed a lot of good roles. What I have missed out I intend to do now.

But not roles that will embarrass my children today.

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