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Brahmaji’s son Sanjay Rao to debut with ‘O Pitta Katha’

Sanjay Rao

Sanjay Rao   | Photo Credit: By arrangement

Sanjay, who trained in acting in Mumbai and performed street plays in Dharavi, quit the Merchant Navy to make his debut in Telugu cinema

Sanjay Rao is known to the Telugu film industry folks as actor Brahmaji’s son, but when he makes his debut next month with O Pitta Katha, the audience will know him as a reasonably good debutant.

Ask the debut actor if he is being introduced as a hero or a villain, he says there is hardly any stigma attached to being an on-screen villain. For him, acting as a hero and a villain is all the same: “I want to be introduced as an actor. In every film, the hero falls in love, loses her and wins her back. That is not what acting or script is about. A film is about telling a story, all characters play a part in bringing together the story. It is we who have named the characters a hero and a heroine. We coined it, actually all are artistes. I don’t mind playing any part as long as there is meaning and contribution to the story. It shouldn’t be routine,” says Sanjay, who struggled for five years to get a film and now hopes to capitalise on this golden phase of Telugu cinema where concept films are making a mark.

Director Chendu Muddu of O Pitta Katha was introduced to him through director Merlapaka Gandhi at a time when Sanjay was hunting for opportunities. Three years back, Merlapaka had introduced Chendu to Brahmaji as a good writer who is worth a hearing. After that, Sanjay, the director and a few set out with a camera and made a two-hour film and showed it to many people.

Sanjay recalls, “Everyone had kind words to say but there wasn’t any concrete response. We could make out who was genuine and who wasn’t. I guess they had their own reasons for not making a film with me. After three and a half years of knocking people’s doors, someone said we should be meeting Bhavya’s (production house) who consider stories if they are good and are not driven by market logistics. The producers liked the story and said they would do it with me.” While he was asked to lose some weight, they also gave inputs to actors Nitya Shetty and Vishwant. They gave the actors one and a half months to prepare and work on their physique.

The three were ready and met the deadlines. The producers saw the two-hour video that was shot and gave additional inputs. Director Chandrasekhar Yeleti read the script and oversaw the process. It has all elements of romance and mystery. Brahmaji too liked the story because all the characters get to play a lot of shades. Ask Sanjay the meaning of O Pitta Katha, and he explains, “It could have many meanings. Pitta could be a girl and also a short story. Director Trivikram Srinivas suggested the tagline to be ‘a long story’. It revolves around three primary characters; other actors play prominent roles and are very well placed. The story begins organically.”

Sanjay also recalls his training days as an actor: “I trained in Mumbai under Alok Ulfat, he was the head of selection committee in FTII (Film and Television Institute of India) who trained actors like Manoj Bajpai. Back in Hyderabad, I got trained by Devadas Kanakala. It was good to learn different styles from various people. In Mumbai we did street plays, and after one month of training we would go to Dharavi and do a lot of plays for street and slum kids.”

Prior to wanting to become an actor, Sanjay worked with the Merchant Navy. He says his dad and wife (also associated with the film industry) are principled people and believe that he should find his own path and gain confidence; that would be rewarding later, and he would be proud of making it on his own.

He shares an interesting aspect of his personality, “Dad tells me to be diplomatic as people could interpret things wrongly. I had been trained in Navy in a rigorous way and was told to be truthful and blunt. It will be difficult not to be diplomatic but at the end of the day, the result will be in your favour.”

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 7:31:54 PM |

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