L. V. Prasad Story
Lakshmi Varaprasada Rao was born on 17th January in the year 1908 as the
second son to Akkineni Sriramulu and Basavamma in a remote village, Somavarapadu,in
Eluru Taluk in the State of Andhra Pradesh in India. Born into an agricultural
family Prasad was a pampered child, very intelligent but never interested
Prasad was drawn by the drums of the touring theatres and drama troupes.
Old and worn out film prints used to be shown in ramshackle tents and
Prasad used to regularlyrush to watch them. He also used to do small roles
in the local dramas regularly. This was the passion that drove his life
the passion for acting and the movingimage.
the age of 17, in the year 1924, he got married to his maternal uncles
daughter Soundarya Manoharamma in a truly cinematic style and atmosphere.
Soon they had a baby girl. Prasads father was finding the going
tough due to mounting debts and was forced to declare insolvency plunging
the family into a deep state of depression and humiliation. This was the
time when Prasad thought about his acting prowess to make a career and
Prasad left his village, without telling anyone, one day with 100 rupees
in his pocket!
had heard of a studio called Kohinoor in Dadar where cinemas are made
and artists congregate. On the cold winter morning on the new years
day of the year 1930 Prasad alighted at Dadar. As he set up his lodging
in Ramakrishna Lodge he realized that his dream of being in films is not
going to beeasy to achieve. To top it he spokeneither Hindi nor English.
He tried to convey his ambition to many using his sketchy English vocabulary
to no avail. He was unable to gainentry into the studios and looked at
another option peering through the holes in the zinc sheets that
made the fencing for the Kohinoor Studios. He used to watch for hours
together with his eyes glued to these holes.
Opposite the Kohinoor studios there was a tailors shop frequented
by the stars and Prasad used to stand and watch them come and go. The
tailor had been noticing Prasads dedication in peering through the
holes in the fence and understood his passion for films. But the visiting
stars found Prasads ambitions funny and merely laughed and made
fun. Undaunted, Prasad continued to frequent the tailor shop for he was
with cinema people here and he was enjoying it. A few days later he returned
to his room to find his trunk broken open and whatever little money that
was left was stolen.
the kind hearted thief had left a little money and a note suggesting him
to go back to his village with the money. He left the hotel with his trunk
and returned to pursue his interest to enter the studio. The tailor was
now quite intrigued to see him with his trunk and inquired. After listening
to Prasad's story he suggested Prasad to stay in his shop, clean the place
daily, set up his hookah and start looking for a job later. Though Prasads
ambitions seemed to be going farther every day he somehow landed a errand
boys job in Venus Film Company and here he met a Punjabi youth called
Dharilal. Venus neither made any films nor did Prasad get his wages. Dharilal
got Prasad a job in a carnival to do a little bit of acting- basically
talking and enticing people to visit the games. He then joined India Pictures
as an errand boy where Akthar Nawaz cast him in a bit role in the silent
film Star of the East. The film was never released.
Dharilals sister Moti was working in Imperial Film Company and she
got Prasad a bit role in Ardeshir Iranis Alam Ara the
first India Talkie Cinema released in 1931. Prasad was paid a monthly
wage of Rs.30/- for his role in Alam Ara and also to do bit roles wherever
required as a pandit, chowkidhar and so on. In Imperial he met H.M.Reddy
who had left his police inspector job to try his luck in films. H.M.Reddy
gave Prasad a small role in Kalidas, the first Tamil Talkie and subsequently
in Baktha Prahalada, the first Telugu Talkie. An excited Prasad dispatched
a telegram home, where by now everyone had given him up for dead. He took
a train to his native village to tell about his success where he was given
the bad news of his little daughters death. He returned to Bombay
with his wife where his first son Anand and later Ramesh were born.
by chance got a role as an assistant director in Kamar Al
Zaman directed by AliShah. This was also the time Prasad saw his name
being shortened from Akkineni Lakshmi Varaprasad Rao to L.V.Prasad by
a clerk taking attendance who found the name too long to utter. This name
stuck with him forever.