A funny bone of contention

Comedy king

He’s a comedian par excellence. He can make people roll down with laughter with just his facial expressions and mannerisms. Beyond doubt, he is god’s gift to the Telugu film world.

He’s none other than Brahmanandam, an actor who never tires of delivering good performances to make people laugh and forget their worries. In fact, it is no exaggeration to say that cinegoers don’t care who else is in the film as long as Brahmanandam has starred in it. Such is his popularity. In fact, it would be hard to recollect a Telugu hit film that does not have this Guinness record holder in its cast.

Surprisingly, this comedian who enjoys a growing fan base among Telugu film audiences, had never dreamt of becoming an actor. Born into a Viswakarma goldsmith family as the seventh son of Kanneganti Nagalingachari and Kanneganti Lakshmi Narasamma in Sattenapalli of Guntur district on February 1, 1956, he completed his Master’s in Telugu literature and started his career as a lecturer at a college in Atthili. But destiny had other plans for him. This Telugu lecturer, also a winner of many intercollegiate competitions in acting, always enjoyed mimicking people, hardly realising that his interest in acting would someday make him a successful actor. A chance meeting with MCV Sashidhar of Doordarshan in 1985 landed him the responsibility of anchoring a show named Pakapakalu, thus heralding Brahmanandam’s arrival in the scene of acting.

Well, his entry into the hearts of people through the small screen was only the beginning, a teaser. Very soon, his talent for acting was spotted by none other than ace director, the late Jandhyala, who offered him a role in the film Sri Tatavataram. Soon followed Satyagrahi and Aha Na Pellanta, and then there was no looking back for this ace comedian who went on to carve a niche for himself for his brand of clean comedy. “I owe my life as an actor to Jandhyala. He was not just my favourite director, but my guru in the industry,” was what Brahmanandam had to say about Jandhyala, who is better known as ‘Hasya Brahma’.

Known across Tollywood for his humility and good nature, he is not only much sought-after for his acting skills and comic timing, but also for his natural ability to liven up the atmosphere at film sets. Be it the role of Ara Gundu in Aha Na Pellanta, Gajala in Venky, Michael Jackson in Anaganaga Oka Roju, Khan Dada in Money, Soori Babu Lavangam in Manmadhudu, Chary in Dhee, Bhattacharya in Adhurs or McDowell Moorthy in Ready, Brahmanandam has aced it all. No wonder, this star comedian has entered the Guinness Book of World Records for having acted in the highest number of films (numbering 754 then) in a single language.

Today, having completed 25 years in the industry, with about 900 films in his kitty, Brahmanandam considers himself lucky that the industry and the audience accepted him as he was, for whatever reason. His appeal among the people associated with the Telugu film industry was obvious at the function organised by a television channel to honour him for starring in 900 films in just 25 years, and for making it to the Guinness Book of World Records. The who’s who of Tollywood only had nice things to say about this man whose name translates to ‘ultimate bliss’. If enjoying his films isn’t ultimate bliss, then what else is? A question worth pondering over.

No wonder, he is the recipient of several awards and accolades, including the Padmashri, awarded to him in the year 2009 for his excellent contribution to the Telugu film industry. Not one to gloat over his achievements, this inimitable comedian remains down to earth, and wishes to retain the freshness and originality of his portrayals. According to him, “The biggest award for me is to have people go back home after a movie with a smile on their faces.”

And he’s doing just that. Nothing more, nothing less.

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