‘Dialogue King' on a roll

Versatile Sai Kumar during an interaction with The Hindu Metro Plus Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam

Versatile Sai Kumar during an interaction with The Hindu Metro Plus Photo: C.V. Subrahmanyam  

Cinema There is no stopping actor and director Sai Kumar, who now intends to fit in different roles apart from his favourite turf- the tough cop, writes G.V. Prasada Sarma

A ctor Sai Kumar is set to come out with a few more films in Telugu and Kannada. The ‘Dialogue King' who has made a name for himself in Kannada with more than 50 films as hero is quite happy that his son Adi's Prema Kavali has been doing well and the hero is getting good reviews. Recently in Visakhapatnam, he spoke to The Hindu on his father's ambition and humble beginnings, his own hard work and that of his brothers, and finally Adi making it.

His father, character actor P.J. Sarma hails from Kallepalli Agraharam in Vizianagaram and went to Madras (now Chennai) to become a hero. His mother from Bagepalli in Karnataka on the border with Andhra Pradesh herself is an artiste. “My wife hails from Amadalavalasa and my children were born there. For the same reason these areas and Vizag areclose to my heart,” the actor fondly says. For P.J. Sarma the wheel has come full circle with his watching Adi's Prema Kavali in a packed theatre in Vizianagaram.

Sai Kumar himself began his career as a child artiste in Sobhanbabu-starrer Devudu Chesina Pelli. Old timers remember the song Amma padaledu… filmed on him. But taking up family responsibilities he turned into a dubbing artiste. For heroes like Rajasekhar and Suman, Sai Kumar's voice gave a fullness of character what with their playing progressive and rebel roles. But it was Karnataka that gave him recognition and made him a hero, Sai Kumar who made it big with Police Story in Kannada acknowledges.

Scoffing rumours, he asserts he has been doing fewer Kannada films because he became choosy. He is going to do a remake of Rajasekhar's runaway hit Evadaite Nakenti with Saiprakash as director. Interestingly, it is titled Political Story.

In Sriramarajyam being made by Bapu with script by late Mullapudi Venkataramana he is playing Bharata. Balakrishna is Rama and Srikant Lakshmana. Incidentally, Sai Kumar and Rajendra Prasad acted in Sneham, a remake of Dosti, directed by Bapu. The film's songs are all-time favourites.

Sai Kumar who in sharp contrast to his tough cop roles turned in impressive and critically acclaimed performances in roles with negative shades in Samanyudu and Prasthanam in Telugu is again playing a character in the same vein in Ayyare with Rajendra Prasad and Sivaji as co-stars.

Prasthanam had the distinction of the only Telugu film to have been selected for the Indian Panorama for screening at the International Film Festival held in Goa in November 2010, Sai Kumar proudly recalls.

He has a key role in Telugu Ammayi with Saloni in the lead role. In Sanchalanam he is back to his favourite turf, a cop story on the internal conflict in the department.

“I have a pivotal role. Kamalakar is hero and Ashish Vidyarthi, you have guessed it, is the bad cop,” says Sai Kumar.

He plays an important role in another film to be produced by Mohan Babu's daughter Manchu Laksmiprasanna with her brother Manoj as hero.

Sai Kumar who is familiar to TV audience with his game show, will play a more significant role on the small screen soon. On Etv he will be Srikrishnadevaraya, the king who won the hearts of people in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, in Telugu and Kannada.

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