Hyderabad: One of the greatest figures in Telugu cinema, veteran director, actor, producer, lyricist and dialogue writer Dasari Narayana Rao is no more.
The 75-year-old auteur, popularly known as ‘Guruvugaru’ in the film industry, was not keeping well for the last couple of months. He was first admitted to hospital on January 29 in a critical condition, but recovered well and was discharged on March 28. He was recovering slowly at home and celebrated his birthday a few weeks ago, on May 4, surrounded by Tollywood celebrities.
Five days ago, he complained of chest pain. His condition deteriorated on Tuesday and in the evening, at 7 pm, he passed away.
He is survived by two sons, Taraka Prabhu and actor Arun Kumar, and a daughter, Hemalaya Kumari.
No theatres, shootings today Wednesday
His wife, Dasari Padma, died in October 2011. The cremation will be held at the family’s farmhouse in Chevella, near Moindabad, on Wednesday evening.
As a mark of respect, the Telugu film industry has decided to close all theatres and shootings on Wednesday.
Born on May 4, 1942 in Palakollu village, West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, Dasari Narayana Rao was interested in theatre in his college days. He entered the film industry as an assistant and co-director to directors like Adurthi Subba Rao, Bheem Singh, Savitri and Vayunandana Rao. He said his dialogues were inspired by Palagummi Padmaraju, a famous writer at the time.
Producer K. Raghava gave him the opportunity to direct his first film ‘Tata Manavadu’ in 1972, with comedian Rajababu as the lead actor and Vijaya Nirmala as the female lead.
His career took off and he went on to direct 151 films. The last one was ‘Erra Bus’, in 2014. He had announced a film to be made with Pawan Kalyan, but it didn’t materialise.
A Kapu in an industry dominated by Kammas, Dasari Narayana Rao nevertheless was one of the strongest pillars of the Telugu film industry. He always talked from his heart and never minced his words. He believed that the story was more important than the star and thus introduced many newcomers in his films.
Interestingly, he gave many blockbusters to N.T. Rama Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, the two stalwarts of Telugu cinema, when their careers were sliding.
‘Bobbili Puli’ and ‘Sardar Paparayudu’, which he made with NTR became a sensation at that time. The films did not only give a fillip to NTR’s film career but also paved the way for his political career. The dialogues in these two films are still popular and Dasari shows how strong he is as a writer too.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao, too, benefited from his association with Dasari Narayana Rao. His ‘Premabhishekam’ and ‘Mega Sandesam’ made him successful once again.
As a director, Dasari Narayana Rao created stories out of the society he observed around him. He took up social issues such as corruption and gender discrimination and other social causes.
These themes were depicted in films like ‘Tata Manavadu’, ‘Swargam Narakam’, ‘Bali Peetham’, ‘Manushulantha Okkate’, ‘Katakatala Rudrayya’, ‘Premabhishekam’, ‘Sardar Paparayudu’, ‘Bobbili Brahmanna’, ‘Surigadu’, ‘Mamagaru’, ‘Oseyi Ramulamma’, ‘Oreyi Ricksha’ and many others.
He encouraged new talent and introduced many technicians and artistes to the industry. He was not hung up on big time actors. In his 1995 film ‘Oreyi Rickshaw’ he used a small actor like R. Narayana Murthy. ‘Oseyi Ramulamma’ was based on the women’s rebellion in Telangana and starred Vijayashanti....