CSR alias Sakuni Mama

There are many actors who get a role to play. Among them very few would leave a mark in the characters they play. But there are even very few who would make themselves the character they play. The way they walk, talk and pronounce their lines become certain folklores in the coming ages. Though their lives are very shortlived, they attain a which is synonymous to the roles they played. One among such actors is Chilakapudi Seetha Ramanjaneyulu aka CSR.

CSR was born at Narasaraopeta village on 11 July 1907. Perhaps his father who was a good astrologer knew the destiny of his son and predicted that he would become an artiste of repute and likewise encouraged him to pursue an acting career.

CSR was a reputed actor on stage. There were times when he was seen as the impersonation of Lord Krishna on stage, much before NTR made his mark as Lord Krishna on screen. Such popular was his act in the play ‘Krishna Thulabharam,’ that people came to see him from far off places and revel in the bliss of his acting. As with time, films have eclipsed theater and CSR quit his job Co-operative Sub-Registrar and joined the film field.

CSR made his film debut with the role of ‘Sri Rama’ in the film ‘Rama Dasu’ in 1933. The film got him neither any recognition nor more roles. He got a break in 1936 with ‘Draupadi Vasthrapaharanam’ produced on ‘Saraswathi Talkies’ banner. CSR acted as ‘Lord Krishna’ in this film along with reputed actors of Theatre like Yadavalli, Dommeti, Kannamba, Rama Tilakam and direction of HV Babu. CSR received Rs 5000, a huge amount in those days, as his first remuneration.

CSR continued to excel in the mythological roles as “Sri Rama” in Sri Rama Paduka Pattabhishekam’ and “Lord Venkateswara” in ‘Sri Venkateswara Mahathyam’. These films remain as milestones in the career of CSR. His glory raised with ‘Bhishma’ produced on ‘Shobhanachala’ banner. CSR enthralled the audience as a singer in this movie.

CSR proved that he is equally adept at social dramas when he acted in ‘Gruha Pravesham’. The role he essayed had shades of the famous character ‘Girisam’ from the play ‘Kanya Shulkam’. More roles followed and CSR went on to essay more roles in the socials at one side and mythological on the other. He was awarded the Best Actor for the film “Bhakta Kuchela” in which he was the ‘Kuchela.’ It

But all of his acting career received a crown in the form of “Sakuni mama” act in the legendary and evergreen “Maya Bazaar” in the year 1957. CSR had relaid the benchmark for the character of Sakuni. His portrayal of the hideous character was so authentic that people started believing that the real Sakuni during the Mahabharata period might have behaved in the same way as CSR did. Even to this day he is remembered as the Sakuni. His lines are much remembered even to this day as his dialogue modulation and unmatched expression are of genius variety.

Later on the role of “Rao Bahadur Ramadasu” in that witty and satiristic “Appu Chesi Pappu Kudu” had further cemented his place in the pantheon of actors in the history of Telugu Cinema. The entire of the film was based on his pyrotechnics and the film had achieved cult status in the genre of Social satires. Though the film had many stalwarts like, NTR, SVR, Savitri, Relangi and others, it was CSR who had left a mark with his act.

He was inspirational to the later day actors like CV Nagaiah who believed that CSR was his mentor. KV Reddy appreciated him as an actor who would create sensitive humor through his diction and action.

CSR tried his hand at direction and started “Shiva Ganga” and “Rikshawala”. Unfortunately, both the films were not to be completed.

In 1945, he stood as Chairman of ‘Madras Cine Workers Union’. He was active in social welfare activities and secretly donated money to many persons who were in troubles. He was simple man and was against to publicity. He was fond of badminton and was a good player at the game. He used to spend his evenings at this game. He had four daughters and one son. 

After regaling the audience with a peculiar diction and accent, “Sakuni” of Telugu people breathed his last on October 8, 1963. But we still continue to live in the bliss of his patented dialogues.

Krishna Chaitanya.

About krshychait

A working individual who has a great passion towards arts of India. The literary and cinema field have captured my imagination like no other.

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