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Rejected, They Proved Their Mettle

Sridhar Adivi |Friday, 25 Nov 2022 - 4:26 PM

Rejected, they proved their mettle-4
Rejected, they proved their mettle-4

Fire in their belly and pursuing the dream of a lifetime, yet, a shattering blow at the outset. How would the average person respond? Probably crumble to pieces! And, what if the person in question happens to be a woman? Doubly tough! Right? Not for these three women from the world of Telugu cinema, who took rejection as a challenge, and worked hard towards scaling heights in their profession. 


Rejected, they proved their mettle-1

In the initial days of her acting career, Kanchanamala approached producer/director Gudavalli Ramabrahmam for opportunities. Apparently, Ramabrahmam turned her down saying she was not fit for acting. Undeterred, Kanchanamala forayed ahead with her passion and scored victories as a lead heroine in the form of Veerabhimanyu (1936), Vipranarayana (1937) and Gruhalakshmi (1938). Amazed by her performance in those films, Ramabrahmam offered her the opportunity as a heroine in the classic hit Mala Pilla (1938). On the opening day of the shoot, Kanchanamala smilingly reminded Ramabrahmam of how he had rejected her in the past. He skilfully parried the question by responding, “You were a young girl then whereas now, you are a beautiful and talented artiste.” ‘Mala Pilla’ was a huge success and Kanchanamala became a star and went on to act in five more films before quitting the film industry and going back to her hometown of Tenali.


Rejected, they proved their mettle-2

In 1950, at the age of 15, Savitri was cast as a heroine in the film Samsaram opposite Akkineni Nageswara Rao. But director LV Prasad was not happy with her performance as a college-going girl. He felt that she was not being enthusiastic enough for the role and in her dialogue delivery. So, Savitri was replaced with Pushpalatha who was playing her friend in the film and Savitri was instead given her role. She went into the make-up room and burst into tears. However, she took the incident as an experience to better herself and told Pushpalatha that she looked upon the former as an inspiration on how to emote according to the requirements of the character. Thus began the transformation of the 15-year-old into a Mahanati and the greatest-ever actress to grace the Telugu screen. LV Prasad later cast Savitri as the female lead in his films Pempudu Koduku, Missamma, and Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu acknowledging her prowess as an actress. 

MM Srilekha

Rejected, they proved their mettle-3

She has composed music for more than 80 films and is the cousin of MM Keeravani and SS Rajamouli. She first composed music for the film Nannagaru at the tender age of 12. Srilekha is also a playback singer. However, when she was six years old, the first film which stuck in her memory was Shankarabharanam and she was fascinated by the title song. She expressed her desire to learn music and her uncle Vijayendra Prasad took her to SP Balasubramanyam. Balu listened to her voice and was not at all impressed. He told Vijayendra Prasad that she sounded like a crow and they would better off focusing on her education. Nearly a decade later, in 1995, Srilekha sang for a duet “Andhalammo Andhalu” in the film Aayanaki Iddaru along with Balu in the music direction of Koti. After the song was over, Balu came out of the recording room and referring to Srilekha, said, “The crow has become a nightingale.” 

Updated date:  Tuesday, 29 Nov 2022 - 5:07 PM

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