Every Telugu person on this planet knows about Bramhanandam as a renowned comedian. Being a regular watcher of Telugu movies or follower of entertainment news, we have all been curious about Mr. Bramhanandam more than an actor, as a person, as an individual. To get familiar with that part of his life, get your hands on the ‘Nenu Mee Bramhanandam’ book, writes Padmaja Konisetti.
When there is an autobiography of an actor, whose numerous on-screen characters made millions laugh for decades, whose mere appearance brings a smile on everyone’s face and who continues to entertain scores of Telugu speaking people living across the world, it’s only natural to expect it to cover all high-points of his long, illustrious career. This book definitely does that but also introduces us to Brahmanandam as an individual, his struggles to get an education, high moments in tinsel town, his success and several people who helped him along the way and his unwavering faith in Lord Venkateswara.
With a disclaimer that this is not an autobiography rather his diary, not everything of his life is here but most of it is covered, Brahmanandam gives an insight into trials and tribulations of a new actor, the gigantic heights of stardom he achieved, but not before experiencing the lowest phases of deprivation in his childhood and early adulthood.
Published by Anvikshiki Publishers, a home-grown publishing house, this book traces the journey of Brahmanandam, born in an impoverished family in a nondescript village in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, from his arduous journey of educating himself to sustain in life to getting a toehold in Tollywood and then becoming the accomplished actor who worked in more than 1200 films in Telugu, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada and Nepali industries.
“Love your poverty, but hate to remain poor”, says this comedy star whose first income was five rupees serving as a tennis ball boy to fund his own high school education. Later he became the highest paid comedian in contemporary Telugu cinema.
His brush with comedy began unwittingly in childhood, he began enjoying the adulation received from his school peers, and naturally progressed into theatre and mimicry. His introduction to a couple of film directors got him his first movie opportunity, however his position in Tollywood was cemented by his role in ‘Aha Naa Pellanta’, directed by Jandhyala. After that, there was no looking back for this Andhra Charlie Chaplin.
‘Nenu mee Bramhanandam’ is also commentary on the socio-economic situation of those times when there were large families with a bunch of children, limited resources and a generation that believed education was the only way to pull them out of poverty and propel them to a decent life. He studied in a backward class hostel and is open about how this reservation helped him fulfil his dream of getting a good education. It also traces the evolution of mass media – from theatre during his student days to radio programs at Akasavani to TV shows at Doordarshan and finally to the silver screen.
As stated by the author, this book aims to serve as an inspiration to upcoming comedy actors turning occasionally into a self-help book where Brahmanandam uses his real-life examples of adversity, making the most of the opportunities, self-learning, polishing the innate skills, living within the means, remaining positive in the face of hardships, not get disappointed and depressed at the first sight of problems.
One thing that stands out is how he remained grateful to all those who helped him during his student days when he was a poor student aspiring to complete his studies, to his wife who stood by him through thick and thin, his mentor in films – director Jandhyala, his friendship with Chiranjeevi and the many directors like EVV Satyanarayana, Ram Gopal Varma who wrote memorable roles for him, his manager Seshu shows the unfamiliar side of this actor to the readers.
The book also features detailed mentions of the many felicitations beginning in Pallakollu to receiving Padma Shri from Government of India, his encounters with Bollywood legends, his vast travels across the country and behind-the-scenes stories of his outstanding roles, appreciation from industry bigwigs and applause from audience, his failure with ‘Babai Hotel’ movie and why he considers his role in ‘Ranga Marthanda’ special.
‘Nenu mee Bramhanandam’ is devoid of any controversies that one would expect characteristically from autobiographies of famous personalities. It shows his command over the Telugu language and his association with literary giants throughout his life.