May 10, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
He's the people's man, he's known as the people's star in Telugu film industry. In worn out clothes, slippers, one can spot R. Narayana Murthy just about anywhere trying to get into a bus, stopping an auto or sometimes he's walking for long distances. He is a guileless human being who loves cinema and uses cinema to create awareness, awakening among the poorest of the poor.
On the eve of his release Poru Telangana, Narayana Murthy says the film is dedicated to countless people, students especially who have sacrificed their lives for the cause. He believes cinema like media is an important tool to provide a solution to people's problems.
He says, "Whenever there is a problem in the society the media picks it up, highlights it and forces a change in the administration. Take for instance, the 'Tunisian Girl' who used Facebook to trigger support groups and demonstrations and told the world what was happening in her place. I use cinema to enlighten people and bring the change, be it in emotion or action.
A lot of people came up to me and said they didn't vote for a particular government after seeing my movie. Dandora inspired women to attack liquor shops, farmers fought for their rights. Newspapers have educated me, I see the world before me while I read them. As citizens we should go a step ahead in bringing solution to the problems pointed out by the media."
Forty five years back a young Narayana Murthy saw a Dalit, a samaritan named Jogayya in his village begging for food. Narayana Murthy was anguished seeing people pouring water from a big height and giving him food from a distance. He remarks, "I questioned my parents why they were doing this, it is inhuman.
We should be following Dharma and building society and here we revel in reading about Mukesh Ambani's Antilla in the midst of slums. Money is being diverted to Swiss Banks, centralization of wealth, national resources are being plundered, people die of hunger and disease even after decades of independence. I'm devastated when I think of it."
Veera Telangana was his previous release that focused on farmers in Telangana, Poru Telangana concentrates on the suicides and sacrifice of the students. He gives a message to the students to agitate, to revolt, to fight for their jobs, their identity and self respect but not to kill themselves and remind the Centre to keep their word.
Narayana Murthy makes money on movies and invests it on movies again; a philanthropist one is tempted to ask his bank balance. The artist remarks and concludes, "I'm the richest person on this earth. The rain is mine, the blooming flowers are mine. I sing with the cuckoos, my only sorrow is when the gap between the haves and the havenots widen. God has given a beautiful life, dream, achieve without harming anyone."