Veteran Telugu film director Bapu, whose films are a visual treat to the audience, passed away in Chennai on Sunday. He was 80.

Bapu, whose real name was  Sathiraju Lakshminaryana, was also a talented artist, painter, cartoonist and illustrator.

Bapu was admitted to a private hospital with cardio-related ailment recently and passed away at 4.40pm on Sunday. Media reports said that his eldest son Venugopal, who returned to Japan on Saturday, 30 August, after visiting Bapu in the hospital, is expected to rush back to Chennai on Monday. Ramana is Bapu's younger son. Bapu's last rites are set to be held on Tuesday.

Bapu's talent can also be seen on the paperback covers of many books.

Several eminent personalities including Tollywood star Nandamuri Balakrishna, renowned singer SP Balasubrahmanyam, director Sekhar Kammula, actors-Bhanuchander, Divya Vani, Sharathbabu, BJP leader Raghuram Krishnam Raju paid their homage to the departed soul in Chennai on Monday.

Bapu was born on December 15, 1933 in Narsapur in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. His parents were Sattiraju Venugopala Rao and Surya Kantham. Initially Bapu worked as a political cartoonist for Andhra Patrika, a Telugu daily, before entering films.

Bapu-Ramana (Mullapudi) was a successful combination in Tollywood. The duo made blockbuster films like "Muthyala Muggu," "Tyagayya," "Bhakta Kannappa," "Pelli Pustakam," and "Mr Pellam" The duo's last film was "Sriramarajyam," released in 2011, starring Balakrishna, son of late NT Rama Rao. Nayanatara played the role of Sita in the film.

Bapu started his career in 1967 with the film, "Sakshi," which was screened in international film festivals. With just 51 films as director, he has made a mark in Tollywood. He has also made some films in Tamil and Hindi. He directed a total of 12 films in Hindi including "Ham Paanch," "Seeta Swayamvar," and more.

Bapu directed Hindi actor Anil Kapoor's film, "Vamsa Vriksham" in Telugu.

Connoisseurs of art describe Bapu's work as exemplary. In Andhra Pradesh, people describe or equate a traditional Telugu girl as "a girl in Bapu's picture." Bapu's admirers say godliness appears in his art.

Bapu has won several awards including Raghpati Venkaiah Award, Padmasri, five Nandi awards.