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Dasari frowns on filmi denigration of teachers

His life is an example for all pessimists who think that poverty means an end to education and making it big in life. Hard work and perseverance paid him rich dividends in the end. Meet Dasari Narayana Rao, who has proved himself as a successful director, actor, producer and lyricist, besides a politician.

Life was not a bed of roses for him. He recalled his humble beginnings at a special lecture organised by the Andhra University Academic Staff College recently. He was the class topper until Std. VI in the Municipal School at his native Palacole.

Dasari's parents, who were economically poor, however, chose to withdraw him from the school and enrol him in a furniture workshop to supplement the family income. He sweated at the shop located on the way to his school. He had a firm desire to continue further studies and looked helplessly at his classmates, who walked past the shop carrying their books.

One day he saw his class teacher trying to mount the chain of his bicycle, which had slipped from the crank shaft, and rushed out of the shop to help him. The teacher was surprised to see the boy come from the shop and asked him as to what he was doing there. The teacher then met the boy's parents and literally gave them a dressing down for withdrawing such a brilliant pupil from school. Narayana Rao's father replied: "My financial position does not permit me to allow my son to continue his studies any further". Therefore the teacher offered to pay for the boy's education but was aghast when his father retorted "But what will happen to the One-and-a-half rupees he earns every month?" The teacher re-admitted the boy in school and his classmates contributed for his examination fee.

After S.S.L.C., Dasari took up the job of a typist and completed graduation. He acted in stage plays, and a film director noticing his talent in dialogue delivery took him into films. What happened next is history. In no time he carved a niche for himself in Tollywood as a director, producer and actor.

Having directed over 140 films, acted in 64 and scripted dialogues for a number of them, he

deplores the current trend in Telugu films of using obscene language and denigration of certain sections like teachers and priests, who are generally revered in our culture. "Cinema is a powerful medium and it exercises tremendous influence on the minds of the masses. The viewers try to imitate the language and mannerisms of the characters especially, heroes and heroines. If the current trend continues, the day is not far off when we will forget our language and culture," he feels.

The scriptwriters are inventing new meanings for common words like `college' as "Kalu jare age" meaning the age for elopement. The Censor Board, which has become a rehabilitation centre for activists of whichever party is in power, is closing its eyes to such violations. Writers, producers, directors and actors have a moral responsibility towards society and each one of them should feel it.

He, however, did not forget his humble beginnings and the difficulties he had faced in pursuing higher studies due to poverty. He started a women's college in Palacole and is funding poor pupils in the Madras, Kerala, Bangalore, Andhra, Sri Venkateswara and Osmania Universities.

"If I am able to stand before you and speak, it is due to my teachers who gave me education," avers Narayana Rao and expresses serious concern at the denigration of teachers as buffoons in modern Telugu films.

B. MADHU GOPAL

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