Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister-elect YS Jaganmohan Reddy and actor Sumanth were classmates at the Hyderabad Public School and passed out of HPS in 1991. This is Sumanth’s first-person account of his friend, Jagan.
I met YS Jaganmohan Reddy near Visakhapatnam last year when he was undertaking his 3600 km long padyatra from Kadapa to Srikakulam. He was passing through the district and I was shooting in the same vicinity. The co-producer of my film, `Idam Jagath’, Jonnalagadda Padhmavate incidentally was to be the YSR Congress party candidate from Singanamala assembly constituency in Anantapur district. In fact, she won the election and is now an MLA.
In Vizag that day, we managed to spend some alone time that day. No talk about politics, no talk about cinema, only about old friends and reminiscing about the time we spent together as students at the Hyderabad Public School in Begumpet in the 1980s.
At school, Jagan was the captain of the Nagarjuna House while I was the Deputy Head boy. But while my post was more of a decorative post and did not involve much work, the House captain was a more political post and involved competing and manning human resources. It brought out the best in him.
If you ask me what was Jagan like in school, I would say he had a single-minded focus – to get into politics. He was politically inclined and `Made for politics’ right from the word go. Everyone plans an endgame in life and Jagan’s was politics. He was clear that whatever he did in school or college, it had to drive him towards politics.
Under Jagan’s captaincy, Nagarjuna House won the All-Rounder shield in 1991. It was a comprehensive win and he achieved that by taking charge of the group.
Another reason why I say he was cut out for politics was because he always wanted to be with his father, Rajasekhara uncle and emulate him. He wanted to be in the thick of everything, he knew all the people who worked with his dad, the party cadre. He was not into the kind of socialising boys of that age do.
After HPS, I was going to Michigan University in the USA to pursue Engineering. Rajasekhara uncle wanted Jagan also to do engineering so we both took admission there. But he did not like it there, his heart was always in India, with his family. So he decided to drop out after two semesters, in a little less than a year.
That decision tells us something about Jagan. He knew his dad would not approve of his decision but he felt he was wasting his time in the US. It shows he had a decisive and not a wavering personality. I am sure there would have been an adverse reaction at his home, I do not know about it. He returned to Hyderabad and enrolled for B.Com.
In fact, I myself dropped out of engineering after two years and went on to do a course in Film studies and became an actor.
Two qualities of Jagan that I know he possesses will hold him in good stead as he takes over as the chief minister of Andhra Pradesh. One, his confidence. Two, his love for YSR garu and his desire to emulate him.
If you see their career graph, they are similar. YSR garu was seen initially as a Congress leader who took on the party heavyweights but over a period of time, became a leader of men, a much-loved mass leader. Jagan has followed the same path and I am sure he will live up to his father’s legacy.
I wish my friend, Jagan, good luck.
(Sumanth is a Telugu actor/producer. He is the grandson of Akkineni Nageswara Rao, one of the legends of Telugu cinema and the nephew of Telugu actor, Akkineni Nagarjuna)
(As related to Filter Kaapi Bureau)
Categories: Jaganmohan Reddy