Wednesday August 13 2008 16:14 IST
Y Maheswara Reddy
Actor Saroja Devi
Padmabhushan and Padmashri Dr B Saroja Devi will be seen sharing honours along with dignitaries — Dilip Kumar, Lata Mangeskar and Tapan Sinha —at the 61st Independence Day celebrations in New Delhi.
Though awards are not new to Dr Saroja Devi, the veteran artiste considers the Lifetime Achievement Award very special. “I will dedicate it to Mahatma Gandhiji. I like his principles, but unfortunately many people are not following the footprints of Gandhiji,” says Dr Saroja Devi.
She had made her debut in the film Mahakavi Kaalidasa reluctantly. Though she was not fond of acting in films, the success of her maiden film made her famous over night.
So far, Saroja Devi has acted in more than 180 films in different languages including Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Hindi. She won a number of awards and was felicitated on a number of occasions. “God has given me enough to lead a content life,” says the veteran actress.
However, Saroja Devi desires to play the character of a mother-in-law who not only controls the joint family but is also a role model for family members. Her last film was Thimma in which she acted as the mother of the psychopathic hero.
“I am ready to play such character roles but not filler roles. Why should I accept insignificant roles? I am not willing to act as the mother of an unknown hero or heroine. I will have no problem if any producer or director comes forward with a good script, and if I get due respect during the shooting and even in the title listing.
They should give importance for me as per my experience. Why should my name appear on the screen only after the hero's name? I should get preference,” she explains.
Recalling her memorable moments as an actress of four languages, Saroja Devi showers praises on late director L V Prasad for his honesty. “Nowadays, it is very difficult to find such honest people. He promised to give me Rs 25,000 as a gift if Beti Bete completes screening of 100 days.
The film was a big success at the box office. I had forgotten about his promise but he promptly gave me the promised amount. I gave a ring studded with 16 stones to him as a gift," narrates Saroja Devi.
How does she spend her time? “I am leading a content life. Actually, I did not want to live when my husband died, but I had to adapt myself to reality. I always keep myself busy. My principle is not to hurt any one,” says the actress.
How does her day begin? “I get up early morning and walk in my garden for one hour. I love to spend time admiring the beautiful flowers in my garden. I spend only two minutes for pooja because I do not believe in spending more time. I request and pray the God (Hanuman) to take care of me during the day,” explains Saroja Devi.