Many of you had asked me if I had a favourite actor and dreamt of working with them. I decided to answer this question through a write-up! I spent all my childhood in Chikkaballapur that is close to the Andhra Pradesh state border. The theatres played a lot of Telugu films and a very few Kannada films. We never missed anything! My dad was a huge fan of NTR garu and he later grew fond of Nandamuri Balakrishna sir’s films. Children usually take on their parents’ preferences and that’s what happened to me. My dad would take me to Balakrishna sir’s films and he eventually became my favorite hero too!
My brother and some of my cousins were fans of Chiranjeevi Garu. Even I loved watching his films, but we’d have a debate about who was the best and I’d always speak in favour of Balakrishna sir because I wanted to support my Dad! This tug of war between us lasted for years 🙈
I never thought I’d be an actress but here I am. One fine day, an offer to work with Balakrishna sir came my way! Without a second thought, I said YES! I was absolutely thrilled to work with the man who’d been my favourite all these years. The film was titled “Jai Simha”. It had an amazingly talented technical team. It was being produced by C Kalyan sir and directed by K. Ravi Kumar sir, what more could one ask for? 😎
The first day I arrived on the sets, Balakrishna sir welcomed me with a hamper of sweets. It was so thoughtful of him. It made me extremely happy. Wait, there’s more to it. He began introducing me to all the others and said, “Meet the Kannada superstar Hariprriya”. Hearing this took me by shock! My childhood favourite calling me a superstar was a day I thought I’d never see. My joy knew no bounds. He strongly believed in shooting during the auspicious time of the day. He made sure that not only his scenes but also mine were shot at the right time. Working with him was a phenomenal experience. He is one of the most humble and wonderful people I’ve ever met. He is very experienced yet there is a sense of innocence in him that sets him apart. Me being the youngest on the set, I was pampered and taken care of really well.
Another memorable incident while shooting for Jai Simha was that Balakrishna sir had invited me to the prestigious Lepakshi festival where I was felicitated by the then Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu garu. The movie “Jai Simha” released on Sankranthi and was a blockbuster. It was deemed a Sankranthi hit!
Everybody regardless of where we are in life would have childhood memories that we cherish forever. Sometimes, during the shoots, I would recall all the times I’d gone to watch movies at the theatre with my Dad. After I became an actress, I made sure most of my Kannada, Tamil and Telugu films released in my hometown. Jai Simha ran for more than 100 days and people in my hometown invited me for a rally. I travelled through the entire town in an open jeep, waving at all my fans. They welcomed me with garlands, gifts and I was showered with flowers and most importantly love. They called me the “Pride of Chikkaballapur”. This made me miss my Dad even more.
I wish my Dad was here to see me act opposite to our favourite hero but I’m sure he’s watching me from up there and is proud of me! I never thought I’d be working with the people I’d grown up watching but dreams do come true. This is a memory I will treasure for life. Here I am wishing my favourite actor Balakrishna sir a very Happy Birthday!
For those wondering who my favourite Kannada actor was, that’s a story for another day! Stay tuned 😉