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Freshly ground

Raja has stopped mulling over the past and moved on



Photo: Raju V.

THERE ARE reasons why we are drawn to certain types of people. The most pleasing trait of this winsome youngster is his constant smile. The bespectacled `hero', Raja, is a viewer's delight.

"If girls have not grown up with culturally ingrained ideas about how to take charge of their lives, they need to learn the art by watching Anand," he says.Speaking enthusiastically about the storyline, Raja claims that Anand is the film of the decade. Director Shekhar Kammula has also produced the film with the assistance of the National Film Development Corporation.

Defending the tagline, `Anand-manchi coffee laanti cinema', he says the film is truly like a refreshing coffee that rejuvenates your spirit. A native of Visakhapatnam, he worked for a German Airlines as a member of the cabin crew. "But, somewhere deep down I knew that I was made for something bigger. I always had a burning desire to die famous," he says. The longing for public recognition took him to the USA where he pursued a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) course. "I returned to Hyderabad in 2001 with dreams in my eyes that were shattered when the doors of Telugu film industrywere slammed on my face."

The theatre bond

Raja then shifted to Mumbai where he did nearly 20 ad films, including the one for ICICI Home Loans with none other than the Big `B.'His other assignments include ads like Fanta and Coca-Cola in which he worked with heroines like Trisha, Simran and Asin.

His role in an English play by a Mumbai-based group, Ask What Father Says gave him the much-awaited break. The play was widely appreciated and won rave reviews reacting to which, a couple of the film industry's bigwigs contacted him.

Raja didn't enjoy the trappings of a typical childhood, as he lost his mother when he was four and father, when he was 14. "My mother wanted to become an actress, which she couldn't. I wish she were with me today to share my joy." After watching Anand, one can only hope Raja gets the recognition he deserves.

SUJATHA VARMA

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