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A confirmed bachelor, Sai Chand pulls off the most endearing father roles

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A confirmed bachelor, Sai Chand on how he pulls off the most endearing father roles

A confirmed bachelor, Sai Chand on how he pulls off the most endearing father roles

When Chiranjeevi requested Sai Chand to play his nephew Vaishnav Tej’s father in the 2021 Uppena, the senior actor was hesitant. He couldn’t bring himself to play father to anybody else other than Sai Pallavi after Fidaa. “It may sound strange but I got so emotionally attached to Sai in the movie, I was not able to come out of it,” laughs Sai Chand whose endearing dialogue Naa thalli kadha, naa mata inamma…. while speaking to daughter Bhanumati (Sai Pallavi) in Fidaa resonated with most young girls, making it one of the finest father-daughter moments in Telugu films.

“Sai Pallavi and Saranya (who played the older daughter) call me naana even now and our relationship has grown beyond the onscreen bond,” says Sai Chand.

Apart from sharing a part of the name with Sai Pallavi, Sai Chand says there are mystique coincidences too. “I stopped my first innings of acting in 1992 the year she was born. Almost 24 years later I came back to act with her in Fidaa.”

Sai Chand reprises the role of Sai Pallavi’s father yet again in the recently-released Venu Udugula’s film on the Naxal movement, Virata Parvam and he couldn’t be happier.

While he played an educated and progressive father who believes in giving freedom to his daughters in Fidaa, in Virata Parvam, he plays an Oggu katha artiste from rural Telangana who dotes on his daughter, becomes her guru and inspires her endeavours.

Parental challenges

The ‘Maa Bhoomi’ actor who was part of the meaningful cinema
| Photo Credit: Special arrangement

Drawing parallels between his role as a father in Fidaa and Uppena, Sai Chand says in both instances he was a father to mother-less children. “When there’s no mother, the man tends to adopt a softness in his attitude and be more understanding and supportive to his children. That’s the trait I lent to my character in Fidaa and Uppena,” he says and adds, “In Telangana, you don’t normally find daughters being that close to their fathers. That’s where we made the father-daughter bond stand out in Fidaa and Virata Parvam.

Ironically, the most sought-after actor for father roles has not experienced fatherhood in real life and is a bachelor. Sai Chand laughs in response and says there is no particular reason why he remained single. “People keep wondering about it and often assume a failure-in-love made me remain a bachelor. There’s nothing like that… I cannot pinpoint a reason, time has just passed by. Since I live in a joint family, I have the company of cousins, nieces and nephews, hence don’t miss not having my own family.” He adds, “Films have given me on-screen daughters and I am cherishing the joys of relationship off-screen as well.”

A son of the Telugu literary giant Gopi Chand, Sai Chand made his film debut with the ground-breaking Maa Bhoomi. The Goutam Ghose-directed 1980 film pioneered a new wave in Telugu cinema. Sai Chand’s repertoire may not be huge but his filmography is filled with some of the significant films in the industry. A 25-year hiatus notwithstanding, Sai Chand made a big impact with his comeback role in Fidaa and he attributes it to Maa Bhoomi. “I was considered for the role after Shekhar Kammula watched me in Maa Bhoomi. ”

Sai Chand recalls shooting simultaneously for Uppena and Virata Parvam. “I have known Vaishnav Tej since he was a kid and always called him ‘chinnoda’. In the morning I would be shooting with him and call him ‘chinnoda’, then in the evening I would go to the other set and call Sai, ‘thalli’,” he laughs.

On a lighter note, he says, “Maybe I should act in a completely different genre to come out of this father fixation.”



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