Yellapragada Sowbhagya Krishneswara Rao

Yellapragada Sowbhagya Krishneswara Rao

“Theater will certainly help the artiste achieve development if he transforms himself into the character,” said well-known script writer and actor Yellapragada Sowbhagya Krishneswara Rao, during a chat with The Hans India. Rao was born at Bodapadu in Guntur district. His parents Hanumantha Rao and Venkata Ramamma encouraged him a lot in his childhood to pursue his interest in the stage art.

His acting career started from his school days. His first play was ‘Vapas’. Because of his down to earth nature, Rao is respected by all in the theater fraternity. Initially, he lost many opportunities in the cine field for his commitment to theater. After viewing Rao’s play `Roju Chastunna Manishi’, film actor Prabhakara Reddy asked him to write dialogues for `Prachanda Bharatam’. 

Later, he worked for several movies, including `Ankuram’, `Sri Ramulayya’, `Jayam Manade’, `Bhadrachalam’, `Yerra Samudram’, `Kuturikosam’, `Osi Nee Prema Bangaram Kanu’, `Roommates’, `Gopi Gopika Godavari’, `Saradaga Kasepu' and `Chandamama Kathalu’. Film directors Vamsi, Umamaheswara Rao, Shankar, AVS and Praveen S extracted his acting talent in their films.

He received Bharata Muni Award for his performance in `Kuturikosam’. He rendered his assistance in writing `Manasu Chooda Tarama’ play which was telecast on ETV. Rao humbly attributed his achievements to the blessings of his Guru Akurati Murali Krishna. “My association with theater has helped me achieve success in films,” he said.

Expressing his views on the present day theater, he said, “The significance of stage art is slowly declining due to various factors, including the invasion of TV, movies and electronic gadgets. But theater has not lost its entity because of the endeavour of cultural organisations to preserve the rich heritage.”

Rao wrote plays like `Gongalipurugu’, `Pakkintlo Puttandi’, `Sampada’, `Adhikari’, `Nashta Pariharam’, `Bhoomi Kosam’, `Kallu Kadigina Chetulu’, `Sara Suddulu' among others. He set up Rasajhuri cultural organisation to stage his plays. He used to play key roles in most of the plays directed by him. Rao has so far given more than 1,000 stage performances and won many awards.

Commenting on the present generation playwrights, he said, “There is no soul in the present day plays. The writers are not focusing on what they want to convey through the play. Instead of producing the play with right ingredients, most of the writers are making it clumsy with too many aspects.’’  

Though he is an RMP, most of his friends are not aware of his profession. With his usual laugh, he said, “I myself forget the fact sometimes that I am a qualified Homeopathist because I hardly see patients. My wife Saraswathi is also very supportive enabling me to pursue my passion full time.” 

Answering a question on promotion of the stage art, he said, “The government should promote it in a big way as it is a good form of entertainment through which the rural masses can be enlightened. Playlet competitions should be organised regularly to provide an opportunity to budding artistes to showcase their talent. Audience clubs should be set up in towns and villages to promote stage art.

The government should involve corporate companies in promotion of art and culture in the State.” Concluding the chat, he said, “Good script with values and contemporary subjects with social relevance help boost the theater art. Drama is flourishing in neighbouring States mainly due to novel subjects and high technical values.

The government should focus on development of the requisite infrastructure for promotion of theater art. More auditoriums need to be constructed in the State. Workshops and seminars should also be conducted regularly to give a big boost to theater art. I hope the theater art will certainly flourish in the State with the good patronage of people.”

By HVRS Prasad