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‘It’s my Rubaiyat’

Tanikella Bharani.   | Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Decades of living in a crammed railway quarters in Secunderabad made multi-talented Tanikella Bharani to dream big.

He had three dreams — to possess a huge bathroom, a library full of books and an acre of land. After relentless struggle in the fluctuating creative world, this multi-faceted artiste had realised his dreams.

Bharani wears many hats — film actor, litterateur, screen writer, dialogue writer, poet, theatre actor, magazine editor, playwright, director and ardent devotee of Lord Shiva — but the one that gives him as a sense completion is that of a poet.

“Films gave me name, fame and money. But my heart always yearned for literature. My task as poet is close to me,” says the actor in a tête-à-tête with The Friday Review. He was recently in Vijayawada for the release of his latest literary work Pyaasa.

His belief in literature and in Telugu language was so unflinching that he never wavered from his conviction, despite testing moments. For someone who completed his commerce graduation in third class, failed in Telugu and who was under the constant criticism from his father for his ‘unproductive involvement’, (read literary works) life was not a bed of roses but a perennial struggle.

As a budding writer and stage artiste Bharani made inroads into the twin cities’ drama circle but later took off to Madras (now Chennai) to try his luck in Telugu films.

As a guest of comedian and character actor Rallapalli, Bharani made those innumerable rounds around the studios in the Kodambakkam area, seeking work.“Rallapalli used to slip in a hundred rupee note into my shirt pocket before I woke up to help me meet my daily expenses. He is a considerate human being and always helped strugglers,” recollects Bharani.

Bharani stormed into the film world with his hard-hitting dialogues in the mercurial director Ram Gopal Varma film Shiva; there was no looking back from there.

He, was inspired by the writings of Chalam, who he compares with a fresh breeze in the literally world of the Seventies. ‘He swept many youngsters off their feet. I was one among them. A sense of déjà vu prevailed when I became part of Grahanam.” Works of Krishna Sastry, Bhairagi and Joshuva also inspired the sexagenarian to get close to the world of words and master its intricacies and flair.

His directorial venture Mithunam made everyone sit up and take note of him. “The film is nothing but a reflection of my life,” he points out. His spiritual work - Atakadara Shiva and Sabhashuraaa Shiva - was a run-away success and it was Atakadara Shiva which brought him rave reviews for its quintessential Telangana dialect.

“It is a fact that I possess a strong grasp over Telangana ‘yasa’ for I was brought up in Hyderabad. In fact the sweetness of Telugu is its variety of ‘yasas’ and each one has its own distinctiveness.”

He says his Pyaasa was inspired by Omar Khayyam’s work and it gives voice to the emotions of a seeker of love. “I have used the Indian idiom and symbolisms to explain the feelings. I have read Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat in translation and marvelled at the emotions and its universal appeal and dreamt of authoring such a work in Telugu. Pyaasa is the result.”

He also candidly admits he possessed all the qualities of a lover for he fell in love with more than six women in his life. “Love was always in the air,” he says with a mischievous smile.

Bharani says his works on Lord Siva lacked universal acceptance and Pyaasa fitted the bill. “It is my Rubaiyat,” says the author.

This versatile Shiva Bhakta is planning to write his autobiography and he has already chosen the title of the book – Nalupu, Thelupu Koncham Colour (Black, White and Some Colour).


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Printable version | Jun 10, 2021 8:16:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/cinema/cinema-columns/tanikella-bharani-says-his-latest-work-pyaasa-is-inspired-by-omar-khayyam/article6360301.ece

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