He is one of the most successful filmmakers in the Telugu film industry and he directed the highest number of movies for which he holds Limca World Record. He is none other than Dasari Narayana Rao, who passed away following prolonged illness on Tuesday.
Dasari Narayana Rao was born in West Godavari district, Andhra Pradesh on May 4, 1942. He began his career as a theatre artiste and then went on to work in films. He made his debut as a director with the Telugu movie Thatha Manavadu in 1972. This film starring SV Ranga Rao, Potti Veeraiah and Anjali Devi was hit at the box office and it also earned him AP State's prestigious Nandi award for his work.
Later, there was no looking back for this talented filmmaker who went on to direct nearly 150 movies in Telugu and Hindi. His works emphasise social injustice, corruption and gender discrimination. Bobbili Puli, Sardar Paparayudu, Meghasandesam, Osey Ramulamma, Swargam Narakam, Thatha Manavadu, Mama Garu and Chillara Kottu Chittemma are some of his most memorable contributions to the Indian cinema.
Dasari Narayana Rao had worked with leading actors like late NT Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao (ANR), Rajinikanth, Balakrishna, Shobhan Babu, Chiranjeevi, Balakrishna, Mohan Babu, Krishnam Raju, Jeetendra and Rajesh Khanna. He had also produced over 50 films in Telugu and Hindi and worked as dialogue writer and lyricist.
This 75-year-old director was honoured with two National Film Awards, nine state Nandi awards and four Filmfare awards and a Lifetime Achievement award. He was also instrumental in shifting the Telugu film industry from Chennai to Hyderabad and brought recognition to Telugu cinema at the national level.
Dasari Narayana Rao belonged to the Kapu community, which is considered to be a politically powerful group in Andhra Pradesh. He entered active politics in the early 2000s through the Congress party. He was considered to be a close confidante of Congress president Sonia Gandhi. He was elected to Rajya Sabha and became the minister of state for coal in Manmohan Singh government during the UPA-II regime.
He faced allegations of irregularities in allotment of coal mines to private companies. On 11 June 2013, the CBI booked Dasari Narayana Rao for receiving Rs. 2.25 crores from Naveen Jindal in the coal scam. The case is still under investigation.
Dasari Narayana Rao had been suffering from multiple health issues and admitted to hospital several times in the recent past. The filmmaker was undergoing treatment for lungs and kidney related issues at the KIMS hospital in Secunderabad, Hyderabad, where he breathed his last at 7.00 pm on Tuesday, the doctors confirmed the news.
Rao's contribution to Telugu cinema is unmatchable and the news about his death came as a shock to many in the Telugu film industry. His sudden demise has created a void that can never be filled and it's also the end of an era in the Telugu film industry.