Real experience from reel life

Effortless ease: Satish playing ‘Appu’ at a cultural event in the city recently. -

Effortless ease: Satish playing ‘Appu’ at a cultural event in the city recently. -   | Photo Credit: Photo: K. Ramesh Babu

Yogendra Kalavalapalli

A stage actor enacts a role inspired by Kamal Hasan

It took the actor one year to perfect the role

Satish performs 150 shows free of cost over last six years

HYDERABAD: As the torch song ‘Ninnu talachi maimaracha, chitrame adi chitrame’ from the movie ‘Vichitra Sodarulu’ plays, the three-footed character on-stage weeps his agony out, cursing his fate as he looks at his stunted legs. Sitting in the dark hall, audience wince in their seats as tears trickle down R. Satish Kumar, the actor’s face.

A stick in one hand, he wobbles across the stage reminiscing about his lover. Five minutes later, the performance ends and the silent hall erupts into applause.

Normal height

There is a catch here. Satish is not a person with stunted growth but of normal, average height. “I wanted to portray the plight of persons with stunted growth and the emotional turmoil they undergo,” he says of his character “Love is a theme that appeals universally,” is his opinion. Clueless about the techniques adopted by actor Kamal Hasan in the film ‘Vichitra Sodarulu’, it took him over a year to perfect the role. It demanded great physical exertion and half-way through, he had to stop practising after his limbs couldn’t cope with the pain.

“My legs suffered from numbness and cramps and I used to slip whenever I attempted to walk,” he recollects his initial suffering. After a six-month gap, unable to restrain himself and driven by a new-found confidence he resumed practice to master the art.

“Even today it pains. As I completely fold my legs and ankle up to my back. This results in almost zero blood circulation to the legs,” he reveals.

“Though excruciating, I should concentrate on my expressions, giving audience no hint of the severe pain in the legs,” Satish avers.

Kamal’s advantage

Actor Kamal Hasan had the advantage of re-shots, editing and camera techniques, something Satish doesn’t have at his disposal. He has performed around 150 shows free-of-cost over last six years. “Few are aware of this performance and I want people to recognise this art form,” he says.

Ask what his final goal is and he responds instantly, “I want to perform in front of Kamal Hasan. My admiration for him apart, he should know there is someone who can portray his Appu Raja character for five minutes non-stop.”

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