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Interview with Sunil by Jeevi
Date: 18 August 2006

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Passion is the word that unites fascinated Telugu movie lovers who come to Film Nagar to be a part of Telugu cinema. Like every passionate movie lover, Sunil too came to Hyderabad with dreams in his eyes. He wanted to become something and became something else. Sunil carved a niche for himself as one of the finest comedians Telugu cinema ever produced. But what he portrayed in his latest release ‘Andala Ramudu’ is going to be something he would be really proud of. met with this exceptionally talented actor at the sets of ‘Pellaina Kothalo’ on 17th of August for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts -

I belong to Bheemavaram. My father died when I was five year old. My mother was given the job of my father in the postal department (central government) office and she raised me.

I got interested in film media because of Chiranjeevi dances and fights. Me and my friend Seshagiri used to go to films on daily basis from 5th class onwards. We used to stay in a house opposite to Nataraj theater in Bheemavaram. During second show, they used to open the doors of theater and put high volume whenever a song comes in film. I used to listen to those songs and practice dance in the temple of our temple quarters in which we used to stay. Incidentally my first film as hero Andala Ramudu is also released in the same Nataraj theater in Bheemavaram.

I used to be a popular dancer in Bheemavaram. Somebody asked me to participate in dance competition by Rotary Club of Bheemavaram. I got a consolation prize when I participated for the first time. For the next 3 consecutive years I won the 1st prize. I used to dance for a song from Aaj Ka Goondaraj (Chiranjeevi) to win first prize. During that time my Telugu master told me that there is something called fine arts in graduation. I join that course because it would give me a lot of liberty to pursue creative fields. I tried to do stage plays. But nobody gave me an opportunity because of my height, voice and stout personality. They thought that my looks and voice would dominate the play. I used to respond to them saying that I would be successful in films because I am being rejected in stage plays. I did dances and comedy skits. But I could not do stage plays.

I came to film industry to become a dancer in 1995. At that time dance master Saleem started a school in Hyderabad. I had to go back because the institute was not in place. I went back and reentered in 1996. My lucky number is two and whenever I attempt something for the second time, I succeed.

Later on I decided to become an actor. I wanted to become a villain like Mohan Babu who is capable of doing comedy as well. I tried for the roles of hero’s friends. But was rejected. I realized that I alone can’t fight. I wanted more strength. I brought Trivikram from Bheemavaram. He completed M. Sc. In Nuclear Physics and was teaching maths, physics and chemistry to 9th and 10th class students. He is a great teacher. He teaches in a simple manner so that everybody understands.

Trivikram started his career as ghost writer for writers like Posani Krishna Murali etc. I got frustrated after trying for acting roles and decided to join direction department. I joined as assistant director in order to earn my living. But my back luck continued there too. Whenever I attend an opening, that film would either be stalled in the middle or goes unnoticed. My first film was ‘Second Hand’ that had Ravi Teja (clean shaven for that role) playing hero. Nivas who edited Rangeela film directed this film. That film was stalled after doing some part of shoot. Later on I worked for Peruleni Cinema. They used to make me do crowd control in stead of giving me clapboard. During that period, I had the opportunity to observe actors from close quarters and learn more about acting.

I got opportunity to act in Premakatha and Swayamvaram at the same time. The opening day for these two films was same. Premakatha shoot started in Palakollu and Swayamvaram in Hyderabad. I had to make a decision. I though that I could do with Trivikram and Vijaya Bhaskar again. But I could not miss a chance to work in Ram Gopal Varma film. I went to Palakollu. I went a barber shop and did a special hair-do. They did not commit my character. They were taking graduates from NSD (National School of Drama) by ignoring a local guy like me. They said that they can’t offer me a role. There is a Mavullamma temple in Bheemavaram. That temple is a lucky temple for all of us. I could not get a role in Prema Katha despite of offering a saree to the goddess at Mavullamma temple. I went to temple after being rejected and prayed her that I would never ask her any favor in future. After reaching Hyderabad, I was told that my role in Swayamvaram was offered to somebody else as I could not make it.

I got my first break with Chirunavvutho film followed by Nuvve Kavali. Though I committed Chirunavvutho first, it was Nuvve Kavali that was released first. It was Trivikram who gave me huge break with these films. As he was my roommate, he understands my body language and dialogue delivery very well. He wrote beautiful dialogues and characterizations to me. If I were given some normal role in my debut film, I would not have been here today.

I got lucky because all my first six films were 150 days films - Nuvve Kavali, Chirunavvutho, Nuvvu Nenu, Nuvvu Naku Nachav, Manasantha Nuvve and Nuvvuleka Nenulenu. Since then I have been doing lots of films. I acted in 121 films so far.

I give credit of my success to Chiranjeevi as I came to film industry after watching and getting inspired by Chiranjeevi films. I disagree with the people who say that movies spoil youth. Chiranjeevi inspired me to do something constructive and become big in life.

(remaining part of the interview will be published in a couple of days)

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