Journey from cinema to charity

Senior actor Kadambari Kiran shares reasons behind starting ‘Manam Saitham’ to help the needy and poor artistes, and circumstances that made him strong

By Author  |  Published: 25th Nov 2018  12:40 amUpdated: 24th Nov 2018  5:59 pm

The last three decades were not so endearing for television artiste Kadambari Kiran, as they are for the Telugu film industry. He recalled that the travails and hardships he had faced in real life have made him all the more strong, and, eventually, made him help the needy and strive for poor artistes in the glamour industry.

As a person who wears honesty on his sleeve and speaks his heart, the 50-year-old senior artiste admits that his traits might have dented his cinema chances, brought troubles and friction alike with the industry bigwigs. However, they made him immune to the circumstances that he had faced over the years.

Small step, big leap

“Rather than being acknowledged by some political party or patted by an organization or banner, why shouldn’t I start helping the poor – ‘Manam Saitham’ sprouted out of that thought,” he told SundayScape. Started as a small group within the cinema industry, ‘Manam Saitham’ is involved in helping the needy in the industry, apart from undertaking various other charitable activities.

“The idea was to render medical help to the ailing families of artistes who are working in the industry. Initially, the help used to come from friends and family members within the industry circles. However, it grew over the time and more people from outside too have come forward and gave their contributions,” says Kiran.

With over 1,400 members in the group, ‘Manam Saitham’ donated money to Titli cyclone-affected victims in Srikakulam district. Recently, Kiran, along with his friends, personally reviewed rescue operations in Kerala following devastating floods which took a heavy toll on human life.

Lone Ranger

Having started his career as a freelance journalist for Sitaara, Kiran found his passion for acting and made attempts to try his luck in the glamour field. Helming various positions in Doordarshan and Gemini television channel in the ’90s, Kiran went on to become a small screen star with his roles in television serials Matti Manishi and Oke Okkadu which earned him much recognition and fame. “I had close association with Akkineni Nageswara Rao – those were one of the most satisfactory years in my career. After directing my first movie Kurrala Rajyam, offers came calling in the end of ’90s and early 2000s. However, due to inexplicable reasons, my projects did not take shape. More or less, the situation in the industry continues to be the same even today. But, many artistes don’t like to divulge it openly,” he smiles.

With years of his stint in Telugu Dubbing Artistes Union and MAA (Movie Artistes Association), it was a prerogative for the members to continuously elect Kiran given his long list of credentials of serving the needy. Besides being a fatherly figure to small-time artistes Allari Subhashini, Iron Leg Sastri, and Gundu Hanumantha Rao, he continues his rapport with hundreds of artistes and craftsmen who earn a livelihood in the multi-crore movie business.

The tale behind ‘darling’ mannerism

‘Darling’, a habitual gesture which is now being widely used by Prabhas fans, has a different tale back in the early 2000s. As a senior artiste in the movie business, Kiran used to call his pals and juniors affectionately with the word ‘Darling’. “Although it seemed a bit quirky, the word darling has so much in it when you call a person. While some smile away and embrace me affectionately, some threw a suspicious look at me as if questioning my sexual orientation. It was director Puri Jagannadh who noticed the behavioural attribute which was quite distinctive with me. Later, Puri experimented it in the movie Bujjigadu. Subsequently, the word has become synonymous with Prabhas and crores of his fans,” he says.