Jayaprakash Reddy: When People Thought He Was A Real Rayalaseema Strongman!

 - Sakshi Post

Stage actors in Telugu Cinema have had to wait till they could enter 40 or 50 years of age, to really enjoy the name and fame, the glitz and glamour that the industry has to offer. Actors like Chilakalapudi Seetha Ramanjaneyulu - in short CSR, Malladi Gowrinatha Sastry, Mudigonda Lingamurthy, Govindarajula Subba Rao earned loads of fame and experience on stage before films happened for them. But during their time, we can say that films were just finding their feet. So, actors like them juggling between theatre and films, was understandable. 

But even actors like Brahmanandam, Kota Srinivasa Rao, Babu Mohan, Dharmavarapu Subramanyam, Kondavalasa Lakshman Rao, MS Narayana had to work for years on stage and as writers on TV and films to become star actors. Along with Kota Srinivasa Rao, Jaya Prakash Reddy was one actor who attracted many people on the theatre circuit as an actor in late 60's and early 70's. Kota Srinivasa Rao and Jaya Prakash Reddy as actors on stage became good stars. Kota continued his efforts in finding film opportunities but Jaya Prakash Reddy couldn't. 

Due to work, he had to travel different areas in Telugu states and he started learning various dialects. He could catch any dialect faster than others and present it in his own typical timing. But his looks did not help him in finding much success. Dasari Narayana Rao, the guru of many in Telugu Cinema, spotted him in the late 80's and started encouraging him. More than his films, others' directorials like ‘Chitram Bhalare Vichitram’ worked for him. 

Many directors couldn't really use him in any roles and with only occasional sparks like ‘Jamba Lakidi Pamba’, Jaya Prakash Reddy felt that his film career might have come to an end. At the age of 50, he finally got his major break with Preminchukundam Raa, as Suresh Productions and director Jayanth C. Paranji needed a new face to represent the villain of the story. Jaya Prakash Reddy's fluency in Kadapa accent representing the Rayalaseema dialect helped him land the role. He became an overnight sensation with Samarasimha Reddy. And rest was history!

His performances as a Rayalaseema strongman were so powerful and convincing that he was often mistaken for a factionist from the region. And there were anecdotes of many from the area even inviting him to their events, homes to enjoy a meal. Jayaprakash Reddy settled in Guntur but belonged to Kurnool. He was born in Sirvel of Kurnool district. When it came to speaking in multiple dialects, no one was a match to him. He could speak in chaste Telangana, Srikakulam and Rayalaseema dialects with the same fluency and intensity. This helped him take up character roles that had negative shades before he gave the best twist to his career by turning a comedian in subsequent films. Conscious or coincidence, this move came after his Rayalaseema factionist roles, one after the other, became seemingly monotonous. 

He loved to be a caricature on screen and loved to play the more emotional parts but he never complained about what roles people offered him. He wanted more Telugu actors to find good roles in Telugu Cinema and hope, his wish will come true one day. In short, he was a synonym of a versatile actor in his own modest way. Jaya Prakash Reddy will be missed on screen forever, for sure! 

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