Some of the greatest actors in Indian cinema like SV Ranga Rao, Amrish Puri and Amjad Khan have left a long lasting impression in the minds of the audiences, despite playing character roles. Innumerable films would have fallen apart without their presence. Postnoon gives them their due.
They were destined to do great things when they entered the film industry and set a standard for hundreds of aspiring actors who were still dreaming of making it big. Directors and producers made a beeline to sign them up for their films because no one else could do justice to the role. Meet the character artistes of Indian cinema who have left an indelible mark for generations to come. Perhaps the only thing which they fell short of was the charisma and fan following of some of the biggest stars of their generation; however, there are few things which even stardom can’t eclipse. The best example for this is SV Ranga Rao, one of the greatest actors ever to have graced Telugu cinema. He entered the Telugu film industry around the same time when NTR and ANR were fast becoming the most sought-after actors. Some of SV Ranga Rao’s in films like Mayabazar, Nartanasala, Gundamma Katha were exemplary to say the least. Other actors like Jaggaiah, Gummadi, Suryakantham have been part of innumerable films. Nirmalamma was Telugu film industry’s favourite mother and casting anyone else in a big budget film instead of her would not go well with the audience. In Tamil cinema, Manorama and Nagesh emerged as two of the most bankable character actors in the 60s and they continued to act for the next four decades. Later, Sivakumar and Srividya excelled in supporting roles. In Malayalam, actors like Thilakan, Jagathy Sreekumar, Nedumudi Venu, Sukumari, KPAC Lalitha made a huge difference in scores of films, thanks to their experience in theatre. Their contribution to the new wave in Malayalam cinema in 80s is unforgettable.
Character actors like Amrish Puri, Amjad Khan, Anupam Kher, Boman Irani, Asrani, Mehmood, Johnny Lever, Irfan Khan, Om Puri, Pran, Ashok Kumar and Aruna Irani ruled the roost for several years playing both negative and comedy roles. Most of them have withstood the test of time despite the popularity of icons from the Kapoor family, Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra. So what makes them so important in the evolution of Indian cinema? The immense popularity of comedians like Brahmanandam, Vadivelu, Vivek, Santhanam throws light on this issue. For over 20 years, Brahmanandam has been making people laugh. He has created a brand of his own which actually makes people pay to watch him on screen. His absence could have turned the table for several hit films. Prakash Raj is another such actor. Very few character actors, in the past two decades, have been able to match the kind of movies and roles which he has done.
The true mark of a genius when it comes to acting is to make you forget that they are no less than the lead hero of the film. They might have been a step away from stardom, but some of them were so good at what they did that they found a place in our hearts forever.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Hemanth writes primarily about Telugu cinema, although he finds inspiration from the works of filmmakers like Woody Allen. Apart from writing, he spends most of his time on Twitter discussing about cinema, travel and life in Hyderabad.