Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao
was born on 20th September 1924 to Smt. Punnamma and Sri Venkataratnam in Venkataraghavapuram, Gudivada Taluk, Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh.
Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao, the matinee idol of Andhra Pradesh, hailed from a lower middle class farmer's family. From paddy field, he strode into the field of fine arts - the theatre. He became a rage on the stage-as a heroine in the dramas of the day: Harishchandra, Kanakatara, Vipranarayana, Telugu Talli, Aasajyoti and Satyanveshanam. He became the 'Glamour Queen' and from there made a quick jump to another extreme - playing hero on the screen.
He made his debut, as a fifteen-year-old boy in the film 'Dharmapatni' released on 10th January 1941.
A unique feature in the career of Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao that endeared him to the millions of art lovers and made him an unforgettable hero for more than six decades is that he lived in the role of the greatest cultural and literary celebrities like Mahakavi Kalidasa, Bhakta Jayadeva, Amarasilpi Jakkanna, Vipranarayana, Bhakta Tukaram, Mahakavi Kshetrayya, Chakradhari (Gora Kumbar), Tenali Ramakrishna and many more that have become immortal. Making his first debut as hero as Lord Sri Rama in the film SITARAMA JANANAM, he excelled in mythological roles as Abhimanyu in MAYA BAZAR, Maha Vishnu in CHENCHU LAKSHMI. Arjuna in KRISHNAARJUNA YUDHAM, Narada in BHOOKAILAS and KRISHNA MAYA - and every film was a great success. With an equal versatility, he proved himself as the Tragedy King in the romantic and perceptible films like laila Majnu, Anarkali, Batasari (Sarat's Badi Deedi), Mooga Manasulu, Prema Nagar, Premabhishekam, Meghasandesam - to name a few and all have become ever memorable with his outstanding performance. He has also been acclaimed as the charming youth in rural oriented films like Balaraju, Rojulu Marayi, Nammina Bantu etc.
His portrayal as Devadas (Sa rat's) has won him world acclaim.
In playing comedy roles too In films like Chakrapani, Missamma and Preminchi Choodu, he made a striking mark in the hearts of viewers, Majority of his innumerable social films like Samsaram, Aradhana, Bratuku Teruvu, Dongaramudu, Dr.Chakravarti, Ardhangi, Mangalya Balam, lIIarikam, Santi Nivasam, Dasara Bullodu, Velugu Needalu, Bharya Bhartalu, Dharmadata, Bahudurapu Batasari and so many have made a remarkable impact on the movie lovers who cherish his performance, even though ages pass by. The splendid performance in the film 'NAVARATRI' in which he portrayed all the NAVARASAS with an equal felicity bears testimony to his command over action as an Artiste. He was justifiably honoured as the Architect of Telugu Screen's Golden Age and remained a heartthrob of millions.
It is an interesting coincidence that in the Golden Jubilee Year of his film career, the film 'Sitaramaiah Gari Manavaralu' released on 11 th January 1991 with Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao as Hero, received encomiums from one and all. During more than six fruitful decades of his film career, he has so far acted in 252 films (225 Telugu, 26 Tamil and 1 Hindi) and two films (Telugu) are now (2005) under progress. Most of them were Box Office hits and acclaimed as outstanding in their aesthetic and entertainment values.
Dr, Nageswara Rao was adjudged as the Best Actor umpteen number of times by the Film Fans' Associations of Andhra and ChennaL besides several cultural and other institutions and in the ballots conducted by several esteemed magazines.
Never, perhaps, in the history of any film world, could there be seen a hero like Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao with credits for so many varieties of roles each placing a challenge before him and ultimately melting down before his talent. From the charming prince to a frustrated lover, valiant soldier to a holy saint and from a college student to a composed collector, Dr. Akkineni left no type of character untouched and touched no character unadorned with utmost skill in performance that led him from a humble beginning to the highest national level.
Dr. Akkineni Nageswar Rao was the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of Annapurna Pictures Private Limited which has produced many successful films - both in Telugu and Tamil. He was also the Founder of Mis. Chakravarti Chitra which pledged to bring out mainly message-oriented, educational and experimental films and produced 'SUDI GUNDALU' and 'MARO PRAPANCHAM', One of his greatest achievements is the creation of ANNAPURNA STUDIOS - a synonym of beauty and a cynosure of all eyes - inaugurated by the then President of India, Dr. Faqruddin Ali Ahmed. Under its banner, movies of healthy entertainment and social purpose are regularly produced both in Telugu and Hindi.
The farm boy, who never imagined that he would cross the borders of his village or district, toured all over the world as an ambassador of art and culture. Dr. Nageswara Rao was invited as a State Guest by the United States of America, England, France and Germany in 1964 and USSR in 1972 besides some other countries in the continent to study the Film Craft and Theatre Arts in the respective countries. He had visited Australia in 1967 leading the delegates for the Indian Entry Film, ANTASTHULU, at the Sydney Film Festival. He also led a high level Film Delegation to Mauritius. All through the world, the people felicitated Dr. Akkineni with love and honour.
Apart from the artistic interest, his abiding concern for the industrialization of our country for the welfare of its people prompted him to establish many industries, He has founded the Annapurna Pulverising Mills and Annapurna Flour Mills at Eluru. He was responsible for starting Annapurna Enterprises which comprises Luminiphor Grade Chemicals Division also. He was founder of a once leading film distribution concern - Annapurna Films. He was responsible for starting Annapurna Lithographics at Hyderabad.
Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao had also served as a Director on the Board of the National Film Development Corporation of India, besides the Boards of other esteemed institutions.
Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao has been generous towards educational institutions since the beginning of his career. All along, he was regretting that he could not go to school and college. Even at the pinnacle of alround success, he did not forget what education meant in one's life. He wanted to create opportunities for anyone who needed support for educational pursuits. As such he set apart a part of his income for promotion of education.
As far back as in 1957 he donated a considerable sum to Andhra University. He was the Chief Donor and President of the College at Gudivada, which was rightly named after him as AKKINENI NAGESWARA RAO COLLEGE. Being a champion of the cause of education, he created scholarships in the Universities of Andhra, Madras, Sri Venkateswara, Osmania, Bangalore, Kerala and Bombay for awarding to the needy and deserving students. Apart from his being a Life Member of the Senate of Andhra University, he is also Adviser to the Department of Dramatics and Theatre Arts. On many an occasion, he took initiative and gave many performances for raising funds to various colleges and schools.
Dr. Nageswara Rao never lagged behind in the service of the Nation. During the period of Chinese aggression, he took the lead and toured all over Andhra Pradesh along with other artistes and Members of Film Trade and contributed his mite in a big way, At the time of Pakistani aggression, he was responsible for presenting a huge amount in aid of Jawan's Benevolent Fund and during Bangladesh War, he presented considerable amount to the Prime
. Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi. with the co-operation and participation of co-artistes, technicians and film producers.
Apart from being the leading Hero for over six fruitful decades, Dr. Nageswara Rao has been a prolific writer. The memories of his visit to USA (NENU CHUSINA AMERICA), his autobiographical work (NENU NAA JEEVITHAM), about his Directors (VAN DAN AMABHIVANDANAM - NENU NA DARSAKULU) and books of lyrical expression (AA-AA-LU-THOUGHTS OF AKKINENI) mark him as an expressive writer with a stream of consciousness.
Service has its own honour. The Nation showered all types of honours and awards on Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Roo. He was awarded NATA SAMRAT (Supreme in acting talents - THE EMPEROR OF ARTISTES) in the year 1957 at Vijayawada from the hands of the then Governor of Uttar Pradesh, Dr. Bezawada Gopala Reddy on behalf of the people of Andhra Pradesh before the elite. He was honoured by the President of India with PADMASREE in 1968. The Andhra University conferred on him an Honorary Doctorate Degree of KAlAPRAPOORNA in the year 1977. He was again honoured by the President of india with the Award of PADMABHUSHAN. a rare privilege. in the year 1988. The Government of Andhra Pradesh honoured him with the prestigious RAGHUPATI VENKAIAH AWARD for 1989 in the year 1990, Andhra Pradesh is proud of him as he was the first South Indian Artiste to have been honoured with the coveted DADA SAHEB PHAlKE AWARD for 1991 for his outstanding service to the film field. For the year 1994 the Government of Andhra Pradesh elected him as BEST HERO for the film' Bangaru Kutumbam' even at his advanced age. The year 1996 brought him many accolades. He was the first recipient of 'NTR NATIONAL FilM AWARD' (highest cash award) instituted by Government of Andhra Pradesh. The Government of Madhya Pradesh honoured him with "KALIDASA KOWSTHUBH" Award in 1997. The Telugu film industry felicitated him for his integrated contribution to film industry. All Cuitural Associations of Hyderabad - Secunderabad joined together and honoured Dr, Akkineni with all the grandeur for his distinguished and outstanding services to Arts in particular and to society in general. His success story Is not incidental - it Is the fruit of seven decades dedicated service at the altar of Art. The list that follows galore with what all he received till date. In 2004. he received the award GREAT SON OF THE Soil from All India Conference of Intellectuals. Meerut.
Annapurna. daughter of Sri K.venkatanarayana. garlanded Dr.Akkineni Nageswara Rao as his bride in the year 1949 and they became proud parents of children. Mr, Venkat Akkineni. MBA from USA is a Film Producer and businessman and Mr. Akkineni Nagarjuna. MS (Industrial Engineering) from USA is the leading Hero in Telugu and is regarded as the craze of new generation with astounding success in films. Smt. Annapurna and Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao are blessed with nine grand children of whom Mr. Sumanth (son of eldest daughter) is also a Hero in Telugu film industry.
Some. it is said. are born great. Some achieve greatness and on some greatness is thrust, Of the three. the greatest is the man who achieves it: and greatest still is the one who does so. turning every stumbling block into a stepping stone to progress and carving even marks of failure into contours of success. Dr, Nageswara Rao belongs to this category of world personalities.
Dr. Nageswara Rao has been on the highest ebb as an unrivalled and uncrowned evergreen Hero for the past more than six decades and would scale more dizzy heights with his inimitable histrionic talents. His ideals. tenacity. hard work. discipline have brought respect. name and fame to the institution of cinema itself and have endeared him to the millions of art lovers. The golden path that lay before him for many more years to come. goes a long way in the firmament of filmdom.
MILESTONES IN THE CAREER OF Dr. Akkineni Na!!eswara Rao
1924 * September 20th born at Venkatara~havapuram, Gudivada Tq., Krishna Dt., Andhra Pradesh, India. 1934 * Entry on
the sta~e in Female Roles.
1941 * "Dharmapatni" first film released.
1944 * Hero - "Sri Rama" - in "Sita Rama jananam".
1957 * Diamond jubilee Celebrations of 60 films in Madras. 1957 * "NATA SAMRAT" Title conferred by Dr. Bezawada Gopala
Reddy in Vijayawada.
1963 * Celebration of completion of toO films at Madras. 1968 * "PADMASRI" from Government of India.
1969 * Silver jubilee Celebrations as Hero in Hyderabad.
1977 * "KALAPRAPOORNA" - Honorary Doctorate from Andhra University.
1982 * Completion of 200 films Celebrations in Madras. 1984 * 40 Years Film Career Celebrations in Hyderabad. 1988 *
"PADMA BHUSHAN" from Government of India.
1990 * "RAGHUPATI VENKAIAH AWARD" from Government of Andhra Pradesh.
1991 * "DADA SAHEB PHALKE AWARD" from Government of India. * Film Career Golden jubilee Special Honour by Government
of Andhra Pradesh.
1993 * Honorary "D.UTT." conferred by Nagarjuna University. 1994 * Special Honour by NRls all over the world.
1995 * "ANNA" award by Government of Tamil Nadu.
1996 * The first "NTR NATIONAL FILM AWARD" by Government of Andhra Pradesh - Hi~hest Cash Award.
* "KAUDAS KOWSTUBH" award by Government of Madhya Pradesh. 1997 * "Best Hero Award" (Golden Nandi) for his performance in the film "Ban~aru Kutumbam" released in 1994.
2000 * Adviser to Government of Andhra Pradesh on Theatre, Film and TV for five years.
* Life Time Achievement Awards from TANA, ATA of USA and also from UK and Australia.
* Conferment of National 2004 intellectuals Award "The Great Son of the Soil" at Hyderabad by All India Conference of Intellectuals, Meerut.