Phaneendra Rampalli was born in a small village in south India. He is employed in the information technology sector and has now made a foray in to movies. According to him there are many people who are juggling with multiple jobs and doing well in their career. He plans to play cameo role in future too. Our Group Editor Vaidehi Taman spoke to him to know more about his passion for movies and how he will maintain a balance between working in IT sector and films.
Tell me something about your journey from IT to cinema?
I was always passionate about theatre during my schooling days. I have completed my Masters Degree in Engineering and Industrial Management from Portland State University. During those days, I was employed with Dell in Hyderabad as one of my friend who works in the industry got impressed with some pictures posted by me in my Orkut account. He asked me to forward those pictures to “Bomarillu Bhaskar” who was directing the movie “Orange”. I was auditioned for a bubbly character and thus my journey into movies began.
How do you look at theatre and cinema while working in IT field? Does it add to your status?
I did not pursue a career in mimicry but I used to imitate few voices of celebrities.
While working in the information technology sector, I take every opportunity to engage myself in acting. We had several meetups in California which were focused on short film making and theatre plays. I try to indulge myself during the weekends. It definitely adds value to my resume as I am also pursuing an extra-curricular activity. But I should say that I am no different than anyone as there are many talented people out there who are travelling in two boats and have achieved success.
Tell us about your experience in acting. Have you undergone any training?
My first experience before the camera was with Genelia D’ Souza in the movie “Orange” which was shot in Malaysia and Australia. I was very nervous but still won many accolades for my acting during the shoot. I did not receive any formal training but whatever I learnt on stage was from school. I thank my social studies and Telugu teachers at school who encouraged me and noticed my talent that enabled me to become what I am today.
Does your family possess any theatre background?
Yes. My father Sadashiv Rampally has done several stage plays in Ravindra Bharati and many other cultural associations. He has acted in few movies with Suresh Productions like Ganesh, Preminchukundam Ra etc. I am sure that I got these genes from my parents.
Your father is a very renowned mimicry artist. Have you ever thought of pursuing this profession?
I always used to sit in the front row and observe my father while he used to perform. Even though, I did not pursue a career in mimicry but I used to imitate few voices of celebrities. I used to entertain my friends at school and on the movie sets sometimes.
There are many youngsters struggling in the film industry and land up doing nothing. What advice would you like to offer them?
It is all about networking, talent and fate. In my opinion, one should acquire strong education first may it be joining an acting school or getting an engineering degree. Later one can pursue his/her dreams of becoming an actor. I have a best friend who has gained popularity after doing versatile films. He completed his bachelor’s degree and then worked hard to get into the film industry. Initially, he played cameo roles but he has become an established actor now. So it’s all about working hard in whatever you do and shine one day.
Tell us something about the movie “Ninnu Kori” in which you had acted recently.
I heard from a casting director whom I met at a party in San Francisco that the director of the film “Ninnu Kori” is searching for actors. I made sure that I received a casting call for the project. It all happened very fast that I got selected for a role which is a supporting role for the hero. It was a wonderful experience acting with Tollywood’s most famous actors and actresses. We shot in beautiful locations in San Francisco and its surroundings. I learnt a lot with the established actors while I was working with them on the sets. Nivetha Thomas, Nani and Aadhi Pinisetty are playing lead roles in this movie.
How did you get a break in this movie?
As I said, I knew few people who are connected with the movie industry in Bay Area, California.
Where can we see you after few years, as a successful actor or IT professional?
I am not quitting IT Industry for sure. I am currently working as a Scrum Master/Project Management professional at Intel Corporation, Santa Clara. I will take on these cameo roles as they come while I continue to become an expert in my field of work.
What are your strengths?
Communication and people skills are my strength.
What is your weakness?
My weakness is that I tend to trust people very easily.
What message would you like to give to our readers?
Be confident and believe in yourself that you will become successful one day no matter what it takes to achieve that.