The film’s director saw the kids perform in a play and approached the government-run Social Welfare Residential School for Fine Arts in Hyderabad where they study.

From social welfare school to the silver screen meet the child artistes of Mallesham
Flix Feature Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 15:37

The success of the new Telugu movie, Mallesham, the inspiring journey of a Telangana weaver from being a tenth class dropout to a Padma Shri winner, has been happy news for four child artistes who acted in it. The child artistes, who hope for a future in acting, are from the government-run Social Welfare Residential School for Fine Arts in Rampally, Hyderabad.

The fine arts school is a first of its kind where children from marginalised sections, such as from SC, ST communities, are taught theatre, dance, music and painting, besides regular academics. Run by the state government, two such schools were formed in 2017, one in Rampally under the Social Welfare department and the other in Boduppal under the Tribal Welfare department.

While the Telangana Social Welfare Residential Educational Institutions Society (TSWREIS), which runs over 200 educational institutions, is setting new records in board and competitive exams, these students from the fine arts school are also bringing laurels to the government.

All the four child artistes are studying in Class 8.

TNM caught up with the four budding actors for a conversation. Shivanand, who played the lead role in Mallesham, said that that he was confident he would become an actor someday though he didn’t expect he would get a chance to act so soon. Shivanand hails from Ramannapeta village in Yadadri-Bhuvanagiri district.

He added, “I was sure about becoming an actor, but I never expected that it would happen so soon. After the movie came out, everyone is calling me Mallesham. All credit goes to the training and guidance that was given to us.”

Another child artiste Sree Lakshmi, who hails from Narsapur in Medak, said, “We were taught the nuances that are necessary to become an actor,” while adding that her parents have already seen the movie.

Nikhil, who played the role of Mallesham’s childhood friend Raju, said, “My parents are going to watch the movie tonight, it’s so exciting to see ourselves on the screen.” Hailing from Gollapalli in Nalgonda, Nikhil’s father is a lorry driver while his mother is a daily wage worker.

B Yellesh, another child artist from Mannanur of Nagarkurnool, said, “I used to enjoy watching people whistle and cheer in movie theatres, now I’m enjoying this for the very movie I acted in.” His father is a driver while his mother is a tailor.

Speaking to TNM, M Manjulatha, consultant and head of the school’s Fine Arts department, said that the school has plenty of potential to offer artistes in the coming years. “The film’s director first saw the kids perform in a play at Ravindra Bharathi and approached us. The kids were appreciated by the film’s crew for their tremendous performance,” she said.

She also felt that the children’s lived experiences helped them understand the story and grasp what the director wanted from them, as they all come from rural backgrounds.

Deena Bandava, theatre arts trainer at the school, told us, “Our emphasis is always on all round development of the child. An artist should respond to things in a more rational and humane manner – our students will one day set the example for being an ideal actor, this is just the beginning.”

Students from TSWREIS institutions have regularly been in the news with their success stories. RS Praveen Kumar, secretary of the institutions, is the man credited with changing the face of the schools with the assistance of the Telangana government.

Also read: Mallesham won a Padma Shri yet nobody knows him outside Telangana: Director Raj intv

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