Every day is a learning experience, says Lakshmi

S.R. Ashok Kumar

"I used to tell my producers give me the advance amount first, I will learn thes language in no time."

A veteran in the cinema field, Lakshmi has acted with all top stars of the South Indian film industry. She talks about her film career and also her recent work in the small screen.

I keep a distinct line between my personal and professional life. Anybody can ask me about my films. But when it comes to my personal life, I would not like to reveal or react to anything. I would not like to share my privacy with anybody.

When I was doing my schooling I did my first film "Jeevanamsam" (1968). The day I travelled in a bus I realised that I was a star as passengers turned around and stared at me. But I see acting only as another profession.

I aspired to become a Supreme Court lawyer. I did not know how I got this idea. I always wanted to be independent and stand on my own legs. But in those days such ideas were not acceptable to the people, especially in a Brahmin community.

My first Tamil film "Jeevanamsam," my first Telugu film "Baandhavyaalu," produced by actor S.V. Ranga Rao in which Savithri acted as my mother, and my first Kannada film "Goa Dalli C.I.D. 999" with Rajkumar were all released on the Deepavali day in 1968. It was a record for a debut actor. It is like a cricketer scoring 300 runs on the first innings of his debut.

I have done more than 500 films in all the South Indian languages, Hindi and Sinhalese. Majority of them are from Tamil and Telugu. I insisted on dubbing my own voice in all the languages I acted. It was always easy for children and women to learn languages. I used to tell my producers give me the advance amount first, I will learn the language in no time.

If at all I want to show my films to my great grandchildren I would probably recommend all of them. I have done mainly heroine roles. A few of them in Tamil would be "Samsaram Oru Minsaram," "Sirai," "Silanerangalil Sila Manidhargal" and some 10 films in Telugu.

I adore all the artists I worked with, particularly Savithri, Sarojadevi, Padmini. Jayalalithaa is a bundle of beauty and brains. In this generation my favourites are Revathy and Preity Zinda. The actors include Sivaji Ganesan, Kamal Haasan and Brad Pitt.

In the small screen, I started off with "Kathaialle Nijam" in Vijay Television and then moved to `Achamillai Achamillai" in Jaya TV.

Every day is a learning experience. Whatever role has come my way, I have tried to do a good job of it. There is the satisfaction of having given my best.

I must thank almighty, my parents, producers and directors and my well-wishers who have stood by me. I must also thank my husband Siva Chandran who is more like a good friend for 20 years and my daughter Samuktha for being with me in pleasure and pain.

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