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Finding a foothold

Bitten by the acting bug since his school days, Rohit chose acting over academics. This self-made actor is one of the new aspirants, trying to establish himself in the Telugu film industry.



REASON TO SMILE: Rohit would like to experiment with different kind of roles.

ANNOUNCEMENT OF new films every other day with a fresh set of aspiring stars is a characteristic feature of the Telugu film industry these days. Forget about the flops the industry is churning out every other Friday, it is heartening to note that some of these debutantes are staying on and battling it out for a place in tinsel town.

Besides the sons of the industry folks, there are a few self-made actors who are slowly but steadily finding a firm footing in the industry. Rohit is one such self-made star on the rise and his forte is low budget musical love stories.

He is one the lucky few to be noticed in his debut 6 teens. This movie also marked the debut of director G. Nageswara Reddy. Apart from bawdy comedy, the song Devudu varamandiste ne ninne korukuntaale was instrumental in the film's good run.

"That lilting melody won me instant fame," recalls Rohit talking on the sets of his next release Nenante Ishtamena at Annapurna Studios before leaving for Malaysia for the film's shoot.

"I owe my existence here to that song, the film's director Nageswara Reddy and to my mentor Thammareddy Bharadwaj," continues Rohit. Nageswara Reddy gave him one more commercial hit, Girl Friend.

His career almost took a nosedive when his subsequent releases failed to click. "But I played the solo hero in only one film after that. Muthyam was a good subject but it did not click for various reasons. I accepted Chandravamsam to learn nuances of acting from senior actors. Working with Krishna garu was a rewarding experience. I did a cameo in Entha Bavundo, as it was my guru's film. And I played the second lead in Sontham. My effort did not go unnoticed in all these films."

Talking about his interest in acting, Rohit said, "I was studying in Loyola School in Chennai when I was bitten by the acting bug. My lack of interest in academics was noticed by my mother. When she asked me, I told her that I was interested in acting as a career. She was very encouraging and I joined Kala's Kalalaya run by dance master Kala and learnt dance - both classical and filmi dance for two years. My mother is a great source of strength for me and I am fortunate that way,'' says a sentimental Rohit.

"Thanks to Bharadwaj, the struggle was neither difficult nor was it smooth sailing. I had to wait and I did have anxious moments till my debut. When I approached Bharadwaj, he asked me to join him as an assistant director to familiarise myself with the filmmaking process. I started my tryst with cinema as an assistant director with Swarnakka. I also made my first screen appearance too with that film in a brief cameo. After this movie I was rearing to go as an actor, cinematographer when Arun called me for a screen test for 6 teens."

Rohit says he is now choosy and not in a hurry. He would settle for a long innings in the field he chose over academics. "But I would like to obtain a degree through distant education," he says. "That apart, I am getting some meaty offers now. Nenante Ishtamena, directed by newcomer M. Palani, is a love story that transcends territories. I play the role of a

fun-loving man from Malaysia. I fall in love with a girl from a traditional family. The intriguing situations that follow provide scope for a good performance. I also play the lead in Sri Sai Ooha Creations' untitled venture directed by debutante L.P. Ramarao." Though Rohit has not bagged a movie with director Puri Jagannath, he is happy that he is playing the lead role created by him in this film. "He wrote the story and veteran technicians are working for this movie."

"I do not want to restrict myself just to romantic roles. I would like to play a variety of characters and earn the tag of a fine performer. And to retain the attention of the audience, I have to offer something different in each film. Guided by my directors, I would like to experiment with my roles and characters. With that in mind, I am trying to reach the standard set by my predecessors.''

M. L. NARASIMHAM.

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