us about being present at Athens for Olympics 2004
as an ambassador of Coke?
Sanjiv Gupta, President, Coca-Cola India, on behalf
of Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, wanted me and
my family to visit Athens, for Olympics 2004, as their
guest of honor, since I have been promoting Coke in
India. Then the sudden demise of Allu Ramalingaiah
gaaru changed my mind and I thought of canceling the
visit. But Allu Arvind wanted me to go ahead with
this plan and he also insisted upon me taking my kids
and Surekha with me so that a change of place might
help them come out of the trauma of Ramalingaiah gaaru's
loss easily. The tickets were already booked and they
were about to be canceled. But with Arvind's proposal
we changed our minds and we went ahead with our trip
being there, I felt that it was a lifetime memorable
event. The opening ceremony was spectacular and magnificent.
I have seen couple of shows in Las Vegas like the
O-show in Bellagio, which has ocean sports arranged
in water. After watching shows like O-Show I felt
there wouldn't be anything greater than that. But
after watching the opening ceremony at Athens I was
spell bound and the specialty of the opening ceremony
is it attracts the whole world to it. And watching
such a big event with the naked eye is a thrilling
experience. We found ourselves to be extremely fortunate
to be among the high-energy crowd that was welcoming
the Olympics back to Greece after hundred years. Our
kids felt ecstatic and shared their happiness by expressing
on how privileged they were to be my offsprings.
watching games like floor gymnastics we were really
amazed by the performances of Russians and Chinese
who are trained from the age of ten exclusively in
these games. Among the other games, we saw swimming,
beach volleyball and women volleyball. The most important
thing that we need to learn from these games is sportsmanship
among players. It felt was if winning or losing did
not matter. What mattered was participating in the
games with a good spirit.
enjoyed the excellent reception given to us by Coke.
Of the 7 days, we went around Athens for 2 days and
we spent one day on a cruise. Again, we should commend
the impeccable planning and organization of the people
that went into planning the opening ceremony and making
it a spectacular event with their excellent work.
from Legend NTR to you, most of you are icons of Telugu
film industry and almost all of them have setup studios
except for you. You are the only one to have started
a charitable trust (CCT). Is there any specific reason
for that and do you have any plans to start a studio
in the future?
There are two ways of paying back to the society.
One is professionally by building studios and other
infrastructural facilities that would felicitate employment
to the needy technicians and development of Telugu
film industry. The second way of paying back is to
do charity work to the society.
to the audience and the industry, I am professionally
well off today. And personally I wanted to do something
to the society, giving the audience something in return
for their support and admiration that they have always
showered on me. So more than doing anything in terms
of infrastructure development for the movie industry,
the thought to serve the people drove me to setup
this trust. And people around me like Allu Aravind
and Naga Babu, who are into movie production, supported
my idea of doing some social service. Also, all my
family members stood by me saying that we need to
give something back to the society.
biggest strengths are all my fans, who listen to me
and put my words into action with great energy serving
the society with verve and enthusiasm. That is how
I started the Eye bank and the Blood bank. Setting
up a studio is a good idea too because it aids in
the development of film industry infrastructure and
also provides jobs to the unemployed youth. Though
I was focused on the charitable trust until now I
have also started giving a serious thought to build
a studio now. We are planning to take some land and
build a studio and if it materializes then we all
- Pawan Kalyan, Naga Babu, Aravind and myself - would
be involved in it.
the camaraderie he shares with Allu Arvind
Rather than being just a brother-in-law and a producer,
Arvind is more of a friend to me. And I think the
best relation between any two persons is friendship.
There might be secrets and rife between wife and husband,
but there will not be any secrets or problems between
friends. I discuss everything with Arvind and likewise
Arvind too. Arvind thinks in a different way than
me and he gives me advice based on what is best for
me. When I make a decision, he thinks from my perspective
and supports that decision. Though we are film personalities,
we rarely discuss things about films in our meetings
unless there is a film that involves both of us.
his relationship with Pawan Kalyan
Regarding Pawan Kalyan, though we endorse two rival
cola products (Thumpsup & Pepsi) we never discuss
about these things at home. The free time that we
have is very less and we try utilizing it in enjoying
with family members.
keeping professional and personal life separate
I do not let my personal life entangle with my professional
life or vice versa. The moment I walk in to my house,
I leave the actor in me outside. Cinema is like God
to me. But personal life is equally vital. Though
cinema and my personal life are equally important
to me, I think I have succeeded in drawing a line
differentiating these two. For that matter, I did
not have a single photograph of mine in my office
till recently. I am practical about life and I am
sure that the image (stardom) that I have right now
will not be there forever. If I start feeling that
I am the incarnation of God by looking at the image
(stardom) I will end up being a megalomaniac. That's
the reason why I have kept my reel life and real life
poles apart and I think I've succeeded in that.
the 175 days functions of Indra, you mentioned that
you slept on hard floor (katika nela) on the biggest
days of your life just to make sure that success would
not get into your head?
I came from a middle class family. My father started
his career as constable in police department then
rose to the level of Assistant Excise Superintendent
(State Excise Department). Though we have two superstars
[Chiranjeevi & Pawan Kalyan] and a big producer
[Nagababu], our style of living and cultural habits
have never changed. If you visit my home, you feel
like being at the home of people with down-to-earth
habits. We lead a simple and common life even today.
Everybody enjoys appreciation from others. But we
should enjoy it for a few seconds and use it as a
fuel for positive things and move on. One should not
carry it to one's head.
am lucky to have a wife like Surekha who also came
from a like-minded family of Ramalingaiah gaaru with
similar kind of ideology and lifestyle. My kids also
inherited the same kind of thinking. In fact, my son
[Ram Charan Teja] does not have a car of his own today.
The only reason I did not buy him a car is that I
do not want him to treat it as a luxury. He should
realize its necessity. I now understand that he really
needs a car and I am willing to present him with one
Charan Teja came to watch Munnai Bhai MBBS when I
went to Prasads. At that time I observed that he was
traveling in a friend's Maruti 800.
Is it? (laughs) Ram Charan finishes gym by 9:30 pm.
And even when there is nobody to pick him up, he somehow
manages and gets home. All of his student friends
have big cars to themselves. But Teja never complained
about it to us. I am lucky to have such an understanding
and simple living kids.
you think Ram Charan Teja has it in him to become
Yes. I think he has the right personality (behavior
and way of thinking). I am happy that he is on the
right track so far. All I need to do is ignite passion
in him for acting and the rest will follow. I think
personality development is the most important thing
than any other training like horse riding, fights
etc. And I must say that so far everything is going
on very well.
out for the rest of interview in Part 2 which would
be kept in a few days!
thanks to producers Akkineni Ravi Shankara Prasad
and Gemini Kiran