May 10, 2012 Y. Sunitha Chowdhary
"I want to return to movies..seriously," says accomplished television artist Sridhar Jeedigunta who is more known as Varun Sandesh's babai or popular writer Jeedigunta Ramchandra Murthy's son. He has completed 25 years in television even while working in a bank, completing his Masters in Journalism and Masters in Theatre Arts. The artist had worked in around 90 movies in his early days of his career but they have all been in inconspicuous roles of friends of the hero.
He says, "I would take leave in the bank and sometimes work 60 days at a stretch only to find myself eventually standing in a corner in one scene in the entire film even while I played hero on television. I would sometimes wonder if the small tube would give me a secure life and in one of those moments I decided to go the US but didn't work out. It was around this time Yandamoori Veerendranath offered me Tulasidalam."
Yandamoori actually heard that he was planning to leave abroad and asked him to delay his trip by two or three months to finish Tulasidalam. Fifty episodes had been completed and he wanted Sridhar as a hero for the the next 50. It was a massive hit and followed by another successful serial Padmavyuham.
He recollects, "Padmavyuham was for ETV and it ran for 5 years and I had the opportunity to don five range of characters like a young man, a married person, a father and then a grandfather. These and many more serials gave me time to think and philosophise. I started making changes in my personal life, gave enough time for my family, learned to be a better person, learnt the importance of socialising within the family. It was a defining time in my life."
The actor laments that be it on television or the big screen heroes would once play respectable roles of an engineer, doctor, lawyer, teacher, police officer but now filmmakers have glorified the anti-hero image that of a mafia, a rowdy. He also adds, "I keep telling my family to watch good serials, it is a sad matter but a fact that reading habits have come down drastically because of TV.
So is he a celebrity in his bank? Sreedhar laughs, "Earlier people who would visit the bank would get excited, take autographs and some try to recollect where they had seen me. It feels nice but I'm really indebted to the bank for letting me pursue my passion."