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Dr. Akkineni Nageshwara Rao

Born:September 20, 1924
Died:January 22,2014
Place :Venkata Raghava Puram, Madras Presidency, British India
Other names :Natasamrat
Occupation :Actor, producer, studio owner
Spouse(s) :Annapurna Akkineni (1933 - 2011 her death)
Residence :Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Children :Venkat Akkineni , Nagarjuna Akkineni
Relatives :Sumanth (grandson) Sushanth (grandson), Naga Chaitanya (grandson), Akhil Akkineni (grandson), Amala Akkineni (daughter-in-law)

Early life and background

Akkineni Nageswara Rao (born 20 September 1924 at Gudivada, Krishna District) is an Indian film actor, predominant in Telugu cinema. Nageswara Rao has worked in several genres of films in his 78-year acting career, including mythological, social, and drama films, a handful of which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. Nageswara Rao has been active in the Telugu film industry since 1941, and has received seven Andhra Pradesh State Nandi Awards, and three Filmfare Awards South. The Andhra Pradesh Government has instituted the Akkineni Award for Best Home-viewing Feature Film in his honor. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour, for his contribution towards Indian cinema, and is the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest award for films in India.

Akkineni Nageswara Rao was born into a poor farmer's family on 20 September 1924 at Ramapuram, Krishna District. He has stated on record in several interviews that his education was limited to primary schooling due to his parents' poor economic conditions. Nageswara Rao took to acting at a very early age. He started acting in street plays at the age of nine. Indian plays in those days used to have an all male cast and male leads often played female roles (as evidenced in the first Indian feature film, Raja Harishchandra).In his early days as an actor, Nageswara Rao used to enact such female roles on stage

Film career

Nageswara Rao's first Telugu film was manmadhudu in 1941, wherein he played the role of one of the main lead's childhood friends. He later continued his career as a part-time stage actor and acted in several Telugu plays such as Ashoka Jyothy, Sathyanveshana and Telugu Talli. On one such occasion, when he was travelling back from a play in Tenali, he was spotted in the Vijayawada railway station by Ghantasala Balaramaiah, a popular film producer of that time, and was immediately offered the lead role in his upcoming movie Seetha Rama Jananam. He played the role of Lord Rama in that film.

In a career spanning over 78 years in the Telugu film industry, he has played the lead role in over 256 Telugu films and 26 Tamil films. Several of these films turned out to be financial and critical successes. Among other things, Nageswara Rao is credited for influencing Telugu film producers and creating a base for Telugu films in Hyderabad. The Telugu film industry in its early days was based out of Madras (now Chennai) in Tamil Nadu.

The new state of Andhra Pradesh was carved out from the Madras Presidency on 1 November 1956 and several leaders opined that in order to create a separate identity for the Telugu film industry, it had to be based out of Hyderabad, the capital of Andhra Pradesh. ANR was one of the actors of that period who insisted on creating a base for Telugu films in Hyderabad and established his own production studio, Annapurna Studios, to facilitate this.

Prominent films

ANR has acted in several landmark Telugu films. Some of his prominent films are Tenali Rama Krishna, Kalidasu, Devadasu, Mayabazar, Missamma, Dr. Chakravarthi, Ardhangi, Muga Manasulu, Dasara Bullodu, Prem Nagar and Premabhishekam. The film Premabhishekam directed by Dasari Narayana Rao is one of the biggest hits in Tollywood. It had an amazing 533 days run in Hyderabad City, which is still the highest run in a city for any Telugu movie. Premabhishekam is the only Telugu film to have run for 365+ days continuously

Silver screen's big time star ANR enters small screen Hyderabad: It is termed small screen, idiot box and what have you. Acting in TV serials was once treated as below the reputation, dignity of a film star. TV was only a poor man’s cousin. Only unpopular artists used to opt for it. But that is no longer the same. Small screen is slowly but surely attracting all big wigs. Is it for money or popularity? In the words of Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao while speaking at Vaartha - Vasavi TV awards recently, the difference between both the media is ‘one goes to theatre to see artists perform in a film, where as artists go home through TV’ .

You know now which has greater potential. It is this reach and potential of the medium that has attracted many a big time artists. Though there is no comparison, matinee idols of yesteryears Ms. Jayasudha, Ms. Radhika, Mr.Murali Mohan, Mr. Naresh all took to TV. Acting in TV serials has become full time occupation to many a yesteryear film artists. No doubt why Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao too made a decision to appear in TV serial. This is first time in his 60 years of film career, he decided to act in ‘Matti Manishi’, enacting a title role. ANR who has more than 250 films to his credit and probably the only person in the world who continuously acted as a hero for 60 long years.

He not merely acted in so many films but has kept his audience spellbound for more than 6 decades. He has been among others recipient of the Padmabhushan, Padmasree, Dadasaheb Phalke Award etc. besides being a part and parcel of each and every Telugu speaking home anywhere in the world. Thus he has become South India’s legend film artist. When such a personality opts to act in a TV serial first time in his life, his entry is being commented upon by the media, film industry as well as TV industry as a defining moment in the history of Telugu Television industry. Finally ANR starred serial is on air from 8.30 to 9 pm on ETV.

Keeping full stop to the speculation of his fans and many industry watchers, whether ANR will plunge into TV or not, he made up his mind to formally enter the TV. The story-line preferred for his entry too is very powerful. It is the story of a strong willed man who brings about a positive change in the lives of the people he interacts with. The story-line goes something like this: The President of India’s office gets an unusual request from a farmer in Andhra Pradesh, that the Krushi Ratna Award bestowed on him by the Government of India shortly at a glittering ceremony in the ornate hall of the Rashtripati Bhawan amidst several luminaries and VIPs be handed over to him by the President in his own village and in front of his fellow villagers.

The President of India, for the first time goes out of his office, personally visits the farmer and hands over the National Award to Ramabrahmam and appreciates his candour and honesty. Matti Manishi is the story of this rare individual who says what he thinks and does is right. Ramabrahmam is a model farmer, an altruist, a man of high integrity and strong self disciplined. He has innate confidence and faith in his own abilities and looks at nature, the soil and the clouds as his benefactors.

He is recognised across the State as the personification of kindness and humanity. The story is a social melodrama of rivalry, conflicts and finally all get together in unison for a common cause. Practically the entire cream of the Telugu TV industry Latha, Achyuth, Ashok Kumar, Pradeep, Kiran, Uday,Suma, Sana, Anita Choudary are essaying varied roles in this 104 episode mega serial. The serial is produced by United Friends, a banner set up by teaming up of biggest starcast of the Telugu Television industry - Achyuth, Ashok Kumar, Pradeep Kumar and Kadambari Kiran.

The serial is their maiden venture. Pradeep directed the serial. The Paruchuri Brothers,the duo, the name to reckon in scriptwriting in Telugu film industry penned the script for the first time for a TV serial. While renowned film music director Vandemataram Srinivas scored the music.I ncidentally, he too gave music for the first time to a TV serial. The accomplished cameraman of the film industry Diwakar shot the serial. The serial was clapped none other than Chandrababu Naidu. Zuari Cements is the major branding sponsor of the serial.

The serial is a result of good team work of TV and advertising industry professionals. The release was well timed. In turns of slotting, it was well placed in a prime time bracket at 8.30pm and that too on Sunday. If the events preceded the telecast was any indication, the serial is going go homes to be a all time hit. Millions of ANR fans wish that his tryst with TV will last longer.

Last Updated on : 20-May-2013

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