27 July, 2021

Romance Is All

Telugu screen icon Akkineni turns 90. A 71-year-career still chugs on.

Romance Is All

Akkineni Nageswara Rao might have just turned 90 but the cheery twinkle in his eyes and the lopsided grin he flashes are a throwback to why his Devadas (1953) still makes the heart flutter. The iconic actor made lakhs of lovestruck fans sigh in pain when he hummed Jagame maya, bratuka maya (This world is an illusion, as is life) causing thespian Dilip Kumar to famously remark, “There is only one Devadas, and that is Akkineni Nageswara Rao,” shunting his own Hindi version to second place. You still get goosebumps when the actor narrates his famous dialogue from the film: “Thaagithe maruva gal­anu, thaaganivvaru, marichipo­the thaagagalanu, maruvanivvaru (If I drink, I can forget, but they don’t let me drink; if I forget, I can drink, but they don’t let me forget).” “And contrary to popular belief that I drank myself silly during the shoot, I did not. I just used to have a lot of curd with cream and pore over my dialogues. The stagger, slur, they were all lactose-indu­ced,” says Akkineni,...

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