Amma, Superstar: Memoirs of a "Tollywood" Star Son

Long before America rearranged my name into its present form, I was known largely as Jamuna koduku. Jamuna's son. Not that my name was unknown. To this day I meet people who say their nephew or cousin was named Vamsee because their mothers were fans of my mother's. Thanks to my mother, my name also used to be in the papers. It was easy to find. The Telugu press liked to enclose names in quotation marks, as if to say one existed only if one was spoken into being; in my case, of course, by their beloved cine-goddess playing my mom in real life. My mother loomed over my life like a spaceship from a Hollywood epic. Her fame followed me everywhere -- school, college, small town America, where her fans graciously fed me when I was a grad student. It made me think about the power of media and in time gave me a career. It made me who I am. I am grateful. Yet, I have never written about being my mother's son before.

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