In the world of Telugu Cinema, the journey of Akkineni Nageshwara Rao has been a significant one. He witnessed every major change in Telugu Cinema. In fact, he was present even before Telugu Film Industry was born. While the age of Tollywood is 83, ANR is 90. That is why he is regarded as the big brother of Tollywood. To be clearer, if we speak about Akkineni, we are speaking about the History of Telugu Cinema! This Friday it is the 90th birthday of this Dada Saheb Phalke and Padmabhushan award winner. Here is an exclusive interview with the actor on the gracious occasion:
Happy Birthday to you sir...
You are so active even at this age! What is your secret of good health?
This is nothing! You should have seen me four months back I was too fast then. Now I am not able to be so active and walk like before. I can sense that change.
You are yet to tell us your secret of good health!
It is undoubtedly the blessings of my fans. They bless me without any selfish motive and that alone protects me.
Did you imagine such a long journey as an actor?
To be frank, I didn’t expect I would be living so long. All the credit goes to my directors and producers. They gave me fantastic roles having trust in me. It is solely because of that I came to this stage. Where would I have been if I didn’t get roles in Devadasu, Baatasari, Ardhangi, Iddaru Mitrulu, Mooga Manasulu and so on! If somebody else adorned my roles - who knows? They also would have got the good name I earned with it.
Did you ever feel that you should have born in this generation?
I’ve honestly never felt so. I never felt that this generation is really good. It is the age of speed. They are getting sidelined with the Pub and Party culture. My generation was much better and I come from the Golden Age! How can I develop liking for this culture?
Where do you think is the fault?
I don’t call it a fault. This generation does what they feel like doing. Maybe in the current day scenario, that is the right way to live.
What changes have come in Film industry, in your observation?
Cinema has been evolving with time. We took what we found well then. Now the scenario has changed. Films are being made by knowing what the audience would like.
There is more focus on Commercial interests now, is it not?
Commercial values have been the same then and now. I don’t think the industry has changed in that aspect. Devadasu, Vipranarayana, Mayabazar and Mooga Manasulu were out and out commercial ventures. They were not made with social responsibility in mind. Cinema is a business, nothing more than that. Why do people invest? To get back the money and earn profits isn’t it? The same applies for Cinema as well. However, Cinema is a business with some ethical values.
Do you think film actors should opt for retirement after certain age?
Why should they retire? Depending on their stamina levels, they can act. I am 90 years old and I still have the stamina to act. Hence I will act. Some others would feel low in energy at the age of 60. Such people can choose to retire. Resting is not age related but mind related.
Is that the secret behind your good health?
I eat in limits. I follow the principle “Eat less, live longer!” When I was in youthful days I used to eat lots.
Are you happy with the career progress of your grandson Naga Chaitanya?
Very much. He has already proved his worth and I am sure he will improve more.
What about the upcoming film “Manam”?
It is a great thing to see three actors from the same family act in a film. However, it was not intentionally designed. It happened coincidentally. Three people from the same family acting in one film, me being still alive and having the energy to act- all these are coincidences. I am sure this film would entertain Akkineni family fans.