Television personality Suma is currently shooting for a Telugu film but there is still some suspense about it
Suma’s career is now set for a new turn as she takes up a a full-fledged role in a Telugu film. She had taken up film roles earlier too, like in Telugu films Kalyana Praapthirasthu and Pavitra Prema in the mid-90s, in the more recent Dhee and Baadshaah , and also Malayalam films like Newspaper Boy and Ishtadanam.
Currently shooting is in progress for this film with a village-backdrop story (details are still awaited.)
Often called a powerhouse entertainer, Suma’s wit, spontaneity and fluent Telugu while anchoring, despite her Malayalam roots, remains unmatchable. Apart from being a television personality for over two decades, she is also the most popular host for film industry-related events like audio releases in pre-COVID-19 times.
New YouTube channel
July marked the beginning of Suma, her new YouTube channel (her earlier year-old channel Sumakka was discontinued due to technical reasons)which will be high on entertainment quotient with a personal touch. “Fun is guaranteed with the game and talk shows and viewers can also get glimpses of Suma the person,” she says.
Launched by actor Vijay Deverakonda, Suma channel notched up over one lakh subscribers in just five days (“Sumakka channel took almost five months to get one lakh subscribers”). She feels actor Vijay’s popularity worked in the channel’s favour and got many subscribers. “He (actor Vijay Deverakonda) was kind and said, ‘Anything for you.’ With his presence, the channel made the right noise. Otherwise, it would have taken some more time to earn so many subscribers,” she says in all humility.
Stressbuster, her recently launched talk show on Suma is for adults to relax and have a good laugh. “We have no tension, anxiety or frustration as kids but when we become adults, we think of many things. Ayyo navvite evaru emanukuntaaru (What will people think if we laugh) becomes our concern. The show is to have fun and forget stress,” she adds.
While her anchoring on Cash (ETV) continues, one sorely misses her compering in Swarabhishekam by (late) singer SP Balasubrahmanyam. Suma says, “After Balu garu’s demise I discontinued it. The void of not having him was huge. I sorely miss the conversations about a song, explaining its nuances. Oka paata gurunchi cheppali ante utti Balu garu (Only SPB can explain about a song).”
Enjoying the moment
For someone working long hours — sometimes even 14 hours a day — the pandemic pause made her ‘recreate, rewire and reschedule.’ “It was like driving on a new road. We were anxious and unsure of where it will take us, but it has taught us many lessons,” she says and reveals she is savouring every moment of life, even while eating papaya during our conversation over the phone. “This is life, live in the moment” is her mantra.
Yet financial stress during the pandemic made her rethink. “People feel Suma does many shows so she is earning well, but my income also matches my liabilities including my staff’s requirements. That is when I realised I need to have three months of fixed income. especially during a crisis like the pandemic.”
She believes the OTT space has given her the freedom to experiment and step out of her comfort zone, to effortlessly shift her role to that of a content creator. “OTT gives me the freedom to do what I want to do. Television shows depend on ratings and the content has to be approved,” she explains.
The downside of being the queen of the small screen is having to constantly deal with social media rumours on her marriage and how she earns more than her husband actor Rajeev Kanakala. Suma wonders if husbands are also asked why they earn more money than their wives. “Would they ask a man if he earns more than his wife?” she asks and adds, “People always talk about women empowerment without understanding its meaning. There is never a fixed income in the entertainment industry; some months he earns more than me and vice versa. We have a mutual understanding that we are doing it all for the family.”
While her son Roshan Kanakala has acting dreams, the daughter Snehamanaswini is in her class X. Suma is also teaming up with voluntary organisations to do her bit for charity and also television industry that has given her so much.
What is she looking forward to? “One big announcement in August and I hope to continue to entertain people. I want to be remembered as a person whose name brings a smile on people’s faces.”