S.R. Ashok Kumar
I am the only actor from India in `Waking Dreams'. All other actors are from the U.S.
Actor Sarath Babu has played a variety of roles in the past 28 years. Many of these got him awards and rewards and the actor is still going strong. He has acted with some of the best-known directors in the industry and is looking to perform meatier roles in the years to come. Sarath Babu talks about his experience in the industry and intentions for the future.
While at college, I wanted to be a police officer. When I was doing my final year I had to wear glasses and the dream was shattered. My friends goaded me try my hand in films. Entering filmdom was a cakewalk for me. May be that was what the Almighty had decided for me.
After finishing college, I went to a function where I saw the giants of the silver screen K. Balachander and Singeetham Srinivasa Rao. There I think K.B. saw me. He asked Singeetham whether he knew me. Director Rao called me and introduced me to K.B. sir.
He asked me whether I was interested in acting. I said yes. He asked me to come to his office the very next day. I was given a role in the film `Nizhal Nijamagirathu'.
The first shot was at Hyderabad. I was not nervous, as I knew that I was safe in the hands of K.B. sir. After that, I acted in some of his best films such as `Nool Veli'.
I have done nearly 200 films in all the South Indian languages and a couple of films in Hindi and one in English.
In these, Telugu and Tamil films share nearly 80 films each and 20 plus in Kannada and a few in Malayalam and two in Hindi.
I just finished an English film `Waking Dreams' and the film is to be released in November at the New York International film festival and then later in India.
It is centred around two families, one Indian and other American. I am the only actor from India and I represent the Indian family and all other actors are from the U.S. An Indian named Deepika is the director.
The film has come out well and I am waiting for its Indian release.
My grandchildren can watch all my movies. But I would like them to watch the best among the lot - `Nool Veli', `Mullum Malarum', `Udiripookal', `Salangai Oli' and `Amirthavarshini' (Kannada).
When the film `Nenjathai Killathe' went for the National awards, Hrishikesh Mukerjee was the chairman of the awards committee. I got a letter from him saying I missed the supporting actor award by a whisker. For me, that was the biggest award. I have also received eight `Nandi' awards from the Andhra Pradesh Government for best actor and supporting actor. I cherish these awards. I was shooting for a bilingual film in Rajamundry. K. Balachander came to Chennai to edit `Nool Veli'. When he returned, he patted me on the shoulders and said I had done my character in the best possible way and he mentioned a particular scene where he said my performance was excellent. That was more than an Oscar award for me.
I feel I was blessed in getting different roles in different languages. I like Sivaji Ganesan, S.V. Rangarao, Sanjeev Kumar, M.R. Radha and Savithri.
Apart from acting, I would like to do some other work in filmmaking. I may try my hand at direction and production. But that too only after five years. Till then I feel I am only a director's actor.