In the cinema world we live in, not much discussion happens outside ‘stars’ or ‘heroes’. It’s not a flaw, just which it doesn’t happen.
From fight scenes, to 6 songs, to a hair oil advertisement, stars hog the limelight in every way possible. The next is occupied by good looking reel friends of the stars or some hunky looking villains followed by those hot female character artists or TV anchors. It is only after these people, a Kota Srinivas Rao comes.
Before the Internet screwed the experience of watching movie in a theatre with piracy, cinema grew on us based on how many films we watched in a theatre. In my generation, I couldn’t experience much of SVR or Rao Gopal Rao. For me, Kota filled that space.
Not that I can’t watch SVR or Rao Gopal Rao, but seeing them all through their career with the roles they come up with and make you like them is some magic probably only acting has got. Watching Kota all through his career on celluloid is like watching Sachin playing cricket live.
A theater actor who had a job at State Bank of India, Kota shot to fame with his Telangana dialect in Prathighatana, but things didn’t turn easy for him in spite of fame. His role in Mandaladeesudu, which was an indirect satire on the then Chief Minister and Acting Legend NTR, landed him in trouble, denying him roles for nearly a year.
It was a random moment when he accidently seized an opportunity, went ahead and spoke with NTR. It was from the time of Shiva, Money, Gayam and Govinda Govinda, I noticed him and as a child, you aren’t a Krishh kid to recognize impressive acting. All you know is to get involved with the people on screen.
It was with the role of Taadi Mattaya from Hello Brother, that I established a special place in my memory to remember this actor, Kota Srinivas Rao. For the fun he provided all through the movie, his breakdown at the end made me shed my first tears in a cinema hall.
After that, all his roles, from Big Boss, Little Soldiers, Anaganaga Oka Roju to Bavagaru Bagunara? displayed his versatility. It was in my 6th standard summer holidays when my uncle bought a new VCR and the cassette he gave us to watch was Aha Naa Pellanta.
I not only burst my lungs laughing out, it increased my admiration for Kota. Before even I realized what an awesome movie it was, the next week I went to watch Ganesh. Watching him through the movie, I seriously had second thoughts, ‘Why did I like such a bad man?’ It was only later I realized that was acting and he convinced me in such a way that I even hated him.
But then, that is an actor’s job, right?
The accuracy and originality he shows in his dialects, laughs, eye contact, body language – shows the sincerity he puts into every character. From a greedy politician, loving yet scolding father, caring grandfather, funny inspector, lawyer, sarpanch, jealous brother, stupid enemy to serious villain and even to a Eunuch villain, Kota has done justice to every role in his career spanning 36 years with over 650 films.
When you watch him, he makes you hate him, feel sorry for him, laugh at him, laugh along with him, pity him and for all that he does to you through watching him act, you will end up loving him.
He is my Morgan Freeman of this industry. No doubt, everyone is unique. That’s why probably you call acting an art and each one has a unique painting of theirs. Some are priced, some are auctioned and some just remain priceless.
Kota Srinivas Rao is ONE priceless asset Telugu Cinema will ever have!!
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