CINEMA PLUS

His own voice

looking ahead Saikumar(left); A still from ‘prema kavali' photo: nagara gopal

looking ahead Saikumar(left); A still from ‘prema kavali' photo: nagara gopal  

chatline As his son Aadi's debut movie ‘ Prema Kavali' hits the theatres on Feburuary 25, actor Saikumar tells neeraja murthy, it's a proud moment for him

T he only time Saikumar, the voice of many an actor in tinsel town was at a loss for words, perhaps at the audio launch of his son Aadi's debut film Prema Kavali. “When the moment came, I had to control my emotions and be presentable,” an emotional father speaks his heart out. Seated in Sonopix Productions office in Srinagar Colony, and dressed in black, Saikumar, declares with an air of enthusiasm. “ Prema Kavali is releasing on February 25.” And, when we ask him whether he is nervous or excited, the actor shares a hearty laugh. “I am quite excited as the movie is hitting the theatres next week. Aadi will test the waters and it's a learning process for him. It's not a much-hyped character as he plays a regular student in the film and it is a campus love story. It's a dream debut any youngster could ask for,” says Saikumar with a smile.

Directed by ace director K. Vijayabhaskar, Prema Kavali will see a new girl Isha Chawla playing the female lead opposite Aadi. The movie, Saikumar claims was destined for Aadi as he is getting to work with a good team. The father however, did not have any film dreams for his son. Instead, he wanted him to be a man in blue and play for the country. “I always wanted my son Aadi to be a cricketer and daughter a doctor. My daughter Jyothirmayee fulfilled it and is getting into MD while son's life took a different turn,” he says and recalls the day when his son's dancing skills impressed none other than Chiranjeevi. “It was the inauguration of my Academy in Bengaluru and Chiranjeevi was the chief guest. Aadi danced to Chiru's popular number Kodite Kottali ra and Chiranjeevi sitting in the audience was thrilled seeing him dance. I didn't want him to enter films with a fear that he will end up like me but I think you cannot escape the genes. If you have it in you to be an actor, you will be one”

Saikumar's parents were associated with films – while his mother donned the grease paint, his father was Sivaji Ganesan's voice in Telugu (including the Sivaji and Kamal Haasan's film Kshatriya Putrudu - Th evar Magan in Tamil). “My father never wanted me to be an actor as he was aware of the struggle involved. But to help out my big family, I started dubbing and became popular as a dubbing star,” he remembers. He was popular for being the voice of actors like Rajasekhar and Suman. Name any dubbed Telugu movie and Saikumar was the actor's Telugu voice.

The list of stars he has dubbed for is more than impressive. From Amitabh Bachchan ( Khuda Gawah) and Mammootty to Ambareesh and Mohanlal, Saikumar's baritone voice became the highlight of many a movie. His onscreen persona was best remembered for Kannada hit movie Police Story. “It was made with a small budget but became the biggest grosser,” he remembers. The movie made waves and created a stereotype image for the actor. “I was always known to be a dialogue-oriented hero.

I knew my limitations – I was not a dancer but never had the opportunity to do different roles. Unlike today's youngsters, I never planned my career and the professional approach was missing. Monotony set in my roles,” he says. As he discusses the journey of his life and the crests of success and troughs of failure, he also reminisces about the roles that have missed him by a whisker. “I was supposed to do J.D. Chakravarthy's role in Ram Gopal Varma's Shiva but somehow missed it. I saw the film in Vizag and called Ram Gopal Varma and became emotional.”

Talk about his current stint on television and Saikumar's smile is back. Wow, a game show hosted by him has completed 100 episodes and he's also hosting the Kannada version of the game show.

What excites him most is his programme Gata Janma Rahasyam on MAA TV. “It's a very interesting and intriguing show and takes you into your past life,” he says. His line-up of movies includes Ayyare (with Rajendra Prasad), Sanchalanam (where he plays a cop), Sri Rama Rajyam (where he plays the character of Bharatha) and a new film with Manoj.

Even as he oversees the last-minute preparations for his son's debut release, he shares the conversation he had with his son as an actor and father. “Being a senior in the industry, I didn't want to lecture him.

I told him ‘don't take camera for granted. Be honest, disciplined and committed and importantly, what ever may be the result, don't get carried away.'”

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