Not many celebrities would either discuss or dare to reveal their personal, health problems in public. Contrary to it, Veteran actor and Akkineni patriarch Nageswara Rao was belonged to rare breed and a true brave heart as he himself had revealed to media on 19-10-2013 (Saturday) that he was battling with cancer. Yet he was pretty confident that he would overcome it.
In his last media interaction held at Annapurna Studios, the 90-yr-old looked cool and composed. Excerpts from his last conversation:
I recently turned 90 and hence, I think it’s good time to share my thoughts with you. I’ve been working for films for 74 years and I’m still continuing acting till date (He is sharing screen space with son Nagarjuna and grandson Naga Chaitanya in upcoming family entertainer Manam). In 1940, I was introduced to films by P Pulliaha with a small role. Ghantasala Balaramiaha is the one who looked me at a railway station and picked me for a film that changed my fortune. I’m thankful to them and their souls.
I had not even dreamt of attaining this amount of glory and reputation in industry when I forayed into films. Now, my whole family is into films. While Venkat, Nagarjuna Susheela are all producers, my grandsons are into acting, my granddaughters are managing the studio. It’s my duty to thank everyone. Received civilian awards like Padma Shri , Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Dada Phalke award and many more national and international accolades and awards. I have never expected that I’ll come this far.
It’s third time
It was in 1974, I was suffered from high cholesterol and operate for the same on October 18, 1974. The operation was just came into use just seven years before I had operated. I asked doctors that how long would I survive after the operation. They said it’d be sufficient for 14 years. Exactly after 14 years, i.e in 1988, I suffered from a heart stroke (heart attack).
Susheela and Satya Bushan Rao were eye-witnesses. Doctors then told that my heart was inoperable and they declared that I may not survive if they operate my heart. It’s been 25 years. It all happened with dilators but not medicines.
Everything is going fine until this October 8. I have suffered from a pain in my stomach and went to hospital thinking that it was a gastroenterology problem. Joined in Care hospital followed by KIMS and gone through all kinds of tests. Life is very funny and gave me a new twist. After going through Endoscopy, Colonoscopy and PET scan, it is diagnosed that cancer cells have entered into my body. It’s important condition for me as till date I’ve already had two records (health wise) on my name and don’t know where this latest one will take me forward.
Cancer is not dreadful disease
I’ve acted in three to four films as a cancer patient. There is a usual perception that cancer is a dreadful disease and cancer patients won’t survive is a myth. I’m responsible for creating such with my role. Films dramatize things. But it’s not true. I will speak only after a thorough research. I’ve spoke to doctors and oncology specialists like Dattatreya (Dr Dattatreya Nori). They told me that if cancer is affected at young age, cancer cells would be aggressive and active like host. But when they affect at person like me, they do behave slow and inactive and thereby increases longevity. After discussing with all kind of doctors, I came to know that it’s not death point but it’s a more-years-living point. Now, it brought more confidence in me that I’ll achieve a third record. Cancer affecting me at this stage is a happy thing. We discussed this within my family and we’re not sad. Everyone acts in life whereas acting is my profession. But I don’t have a habit to act in my real life. One needs intelligence to tell a lie, whereas one needs bravery to tell a truth. Hence, I though it’d be apt to make it public rather than hiding this. Many have overcome cancer. Neelam Sanjeev Reddy also turned president after affecting with cancer. Recently, young cricketer Yuvraj Singh too overcome it. We can face it as we (Akkineni clan) has strong mind.
Two suicide attempts
When I was in early of my career, there were rumorus on me in industry in 1948, a year before my marriage in 1949. I was very upset due to strong rumours as I took them to my heart. I had decided to commit suicide and went to Santhome beach in Chennai. But with fear, I came back. And again, such rumours surfaced in media again. Again, I did another such suicide attempt. After going into a level of water, I realized that if I die, I’d prove their rumours right. Hence, I came back. I wrote a poem “Brathiki Baagu Konedi Ledani… Chavaboku
Chachchi Sadhinchedi Ledani…Bratakaboku
Brataki Jeevithanni Sadhinchu
Chachchi Kalakaalam Jeevinchu”
Death is inevitable/ Will live 100 years
I’m fortunate to live this long. Death is inevitable and no one can escape from it. My mother has survived for 96 years and she was the long living person in our family. So, I believe that I’ll live for 96 years for sure. 96 years is my target and if things permit, will live 100 long years too and then I will again call media for a press conference.
Appeal to fans
My appeal to fans, relatives, media and all my near and dear is that to not to worry about my health condition. And please don’t try to contact me and condole me and don’t make me recollect about my often. I’m sure I’m going to overcome this, like I did it in the past.