Did you ever thought that you would become an actor?
I was interested in films. But never thought I would reach to this height.
How was the trauma in your younger days?
I was treated like a dust. I ran from pillar to post to get a chance. It was still photographer now famous cameraman J.G.Krishna spotted me and said I look like 'Rajanikanth'. One of my friends father was working as production manager I went behind him. I met Puttannaji the great director of those days. He just asked me to touch his shirt and go away.
What was your parents ambition then?
My father wanted me to become an engineer. But I was collecting 70 paisa to see Dr.Rajkumar film in Geethanjali theatre. The first film I saw was Dr.Rajkumar's 100th film 'Bhagyadha Bagilu'. Now my fortune has taken me to 100 films completion. There was only one engineer in my mother side. My father was hell bent on making me an engineer.
You never attended college?
I went for some years. I prefer to be on streets because one day someone may notice me. I used to do mimicry and sing in functions on my own. The first actor I saw was Ashok in one of the function. Then in an exhibition I saw Dr.Rajkumar. My friends cajoled me. They said I look like a charcoal. But I sustained all those. I got a bit role in 'Kannadathi Manavathi'. J.G.Krishna finally took me to director Raj Kishore. I did the lab work and one day I cried in front of my mother.
What did your mother say?
She told me do not go and ask roles from people in the industry. Just pray god. I did a penance for 21 days of Lord Ganapathi. On the 21st day I got a chance from well known director K.V.Jayaram.
Then the going was good?
No. I fell in love with Parimala. I married with no income at all. I went up to Supreme Court to make her my life partnet because she was under aged.
The life became very difficult after this?
I was earning some how Rs.500 to live with my wife. One day director Saiprakash offered me a role and paid Rs.4000 remuneration. I jumped in joy.
Slowly you got hold in the industry?
Yes. I got Ranadheera Kannada film in the prestigious banner of Ishwari Pictures (My original name is also Ishwar) of V.Ravichandran. When I went to shooting with my wife I was not given proper place to live. Ravichandran came to know about it and I got a good room to stay for all the days of shooting. Yuddakanda was also successful after this film.
You started demanding high remuneration in those days?
I never demanded. For a hero Rs.25000 was given but I was getting more than Rs.1.5 lakhs remuneration. I was the peak character artiste.
When did you get the stardom?
From 'Bhanda Nanna Ganda'. For Rs.18 lakhs budget Rs.67 lakhs was the collection.
What is that you made in the last 24 years of your career?
I came up in life in a hard way. I have seen ups and down. I was given good treatment and advice on the sets by seniors. They told me to invest in properties from the money I earned. I did so.
So you are comfortable today?
Yes. I earn Rs.1.50 lakh without doing any job. I earned money and lost nearly Rs.2 crores in politics and film from my home banner 'Make Up' directed by Singeetham Srinivasa Rao.
How is your career in politics?
I am an active Congress I member. In the last elections of Assembly Turuvekere constituency I lost. Congress was getting 8000 votes. From my entry I secured 35000 votes. I have taken up lot of social activities.
What is your wife and children doing now?
My wife Parimala is highly educated. She is working in the HR department of Infosys. My two sons are studying in school and college.
How do you spend free time?
For an artiste like me there should not be free time. Still I get up at 6 and do exercises for two hours. I do pooja for two hours later and take breakfast. In the afternoon I take up Harmonium and Tabla. I have learnt 13 Ragaas. My servant Shekar sits before me to hear my vocal music.