August 02, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
A bespectacled and nattily dressed school master lists out the 5 As imperative for the unity and strength of a village on a blackboard in an open air school under the trees to his pupils..Araka (Plough), Anubandham (Relationships), Acharana (Implementation), Adarana (Recognition) and Anandam (Happiness). Years later when he returns to this village he finds to his dismay that the 5 As have disentangled and the village now resembles a graveyard.
Rajendra Prasad who is basking in the glory as a teacher says, "It is a lie if people say that every character they play in movies move them. You work in every film as if it is your first one but only a few roles push you that extra mile to perform, Onamalu is one such story. Amongst all the films that are made with computer graphics this is the one with life and closer to life. The gold medal I got in the film institute is not the first or the last one, each such film is a ornament in my career."
The actor says that the film didn't require him to act at all, he had to just behave and the audience are able to relate to all the scenes and dialogues because they must have seen it or heard them before. He reveals that his father's name and the role of the master in the film is the same. "It is a coincidence, my father's name is Gadde Venkata Narayana and here the character is addressed as Narayana Rao.
When the movie was ready, I asked my master Devadas Kanakala see it and he was overwhelmed, he turned emotional. No one offers such films, no one dares to make them and when it is offered I took it. There is no question of thinking twice on such roles and stories. The boy (director Kranti Madhav) is very talented and he will leave a mark in the industry."
Rajendra Prasad's favourite scene in the film is when his wife played by Kalyani dies and the most amusing part of the story is when an Indian after alighting at the airport vents out his frustration and hits his grown-up son for having him jailed while he was in USA on charges of child abuse only because he reprimanded him.
He adds, "The first thing the man does after reaching India is to punish his son because he couldn't get to do it there. It is one of the scenes that I enjoyed watching thoroughly." So, was he a dutiful father in real life? He rates himself honestly, "I was shooting and travelling 365 days and by the time I found time they are already grown up. My wife taught them Onamalu and she did a wonderful job at that."