Bhanumathi Ramakrishna

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Bhanumati Ramakrishna
Born (1925-09-07)7 September 1925
Doddavaram, near Ongole, Prakasam District, Andhra Pradesh, India
Died 24 December 2005(2005-12-24) (aged 80)
Chennai, India
Occupation Actress
Music Director
Spouse(s) P. S. Ramakrishna Rao

Paluvayi Bhanumathi Ramakrishna (7 September 1925 – 24 December 2005) was a multilingual Indian film actress, director, music director, singer, producer, book writer and songs writer. Most of her works are in Telugu and Tamil languages. She was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 2003 for her contribution towards Indian cinema.

Early life[edit]

She was born as third child to Saraswatamma and Bommaraju Venkata Subbaiah, in Doddavaram village of Prakasam district, near Ongole, Andhra Pradesh. She grew up watching her father perform in various stage shows. Her father, Venkatasubbiah, was a staunch lover of classical music and trained her in music from an early age.


Bhanumathi entered the film industry in 1935, and acted in over 200 films in Telugu and Tamil. She was also called as Ashtavadhani by the film industry people as she was a writer, actor, director, producer, singer, music director, editor and studio owner. She also had a good knowledge of Astrology and philosophy.

Vara Vikrayam film poster, the debut film of Bhanumathi

Film career[edit]

She made her debut in Telugu cinema in 1939 as Kalindi in Vara Vikrayam (Telugu), directed by C. Pullaiah. She had acted in Malathi Madhavam, Dharma Patni and Bhaktimala. Her first popular film was Krishna Prema. Her next popular film was Swargaseema, a milestone film in her career. She later acted in many memorable movies like Chakrapani, Laila Majnu, Vipranarayana, Malliswari, Batasari and Anthastulu. Her first film in Tamil was Ratnakumar in the year 1949,along with the famous hero of those day P.U.Chinnappa.This film was directed by Krishnan-Panju .In 1953, she made her directorial debut with Chandirani (made simultaneously in Tamil, Telugu and Hindi). Her last film was made in 1998, entitled Pelli Kanuka. C. N. Annadurai gave her a title "Nadippukku Ilakkanam" (Grammar for acting) that suits her aptly. Even veteran actors Sivaji Ganesan and the later on Chief minister of Tamil Nadu M.G.Ramachandran who acted with her were afraid on the sets of her bold and prolific versatility.One of her memorable movie in Tamil was "Annai",in the year 1962,directed by Krishnan-Panju, where her acting was appreciated by all and also got the National Award for the film.

For the movie Anthasthulu (1964), VB Rajendra Prasad had approached Bhanumati for the role of Akkineni Nageswara Rao’s sister. She liked the subject and agreed to do the film immediately. The crew booked a room in "Ritz-Carlton" in Hyderabad and she didn’t want to waste money, so she offered to stay at Sarathi Studios, which had an open area and snakes. The next morning she woke up with her nails bitten by rats. The director decided to cancel the shoot, VB Rajendra Prasad rushed to see Bhanumati applying iodine casually on the nails and asking when she could start work. While continuing with the shooting, she said, “If you cancel shoot for small things how will I be a Bhanumati (which means ‘shining like the sun’ in Sanskrit).”[1]

Apart from being an exceptional actress, she was also a very talented musician. She is one of the fine actress of Telugu film industry. She was adept in both Carnatic and Hindustani music. She gave voice to her songs despite it being the norm to use playback singers for actors. Some of her songs are still popular like Pilichina biguvatara, Kila Kila Navvulu, Oh Pavurama, Preme Nerama. She also provided music to a lot of her films.

During her later years she served on various movie related organizations. She was a Member of State Film Awards Committee for two years. She was also a Visiting Professor at the Film Institute for one year. She was Member of Children Film Society for 5 years, from 1965 to 1970.

Literary career[edit]

Bhanumati was also a talented writer with a number of short stories to her credit. Her autobiography Nalo Nenu was published in Telugu and later, released in English as Musings. Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy awarded her as the best short story writer for her popular short stories "Attagari Kathalu".[2] She was a Member of Lalit Kala Academy for 5 years, and Sahitya Academy, Andhra Pradesh for 10 years. She served as Director and Principal of the Tamil Nadu Government Music College,


She was an eminent social worker who was closely associated with a number of Social Service Organizations. She was the founder member and treasurer of Madras branch of Altrusa International Inc., Chicago for lifelong starting from 1963. She was a life member of the 'Red Cross Society'. She established an educational institution named as "Dr. Bhanumathi Ramakrishna Matriculation School" at Saligramam, Chennai providing free education to the poor.

Personal life[edit]

During the shooting of the film Krishna Prema, she met P. S. Ramakrishna Rao, an assistant director for that film. He was a film producer, director and editor of Telugu and Tamil Films. The couple later married on 8 August 1943 and later launched a popular production company, Bharani Pictures on their son's name. She died at the age of 80 years in Chennai.


Civilian honors
Rashtrapati Award in acting
National Film Awards
  • Government National Award for Best writer for the book "Nalo Nenu" an autobiography in 1994.
Nandi Awards
State Awards
Other honors


This is partial list of her films.

Year Film Language Character Co-Star Music Banner
1939 Vara Vikrayam Telugu Kalindi Chittor V. Nagaiah Prabhala Satyanarayana East India Film Company
1940 Malathi Madhavam Telugu East India Film Company
1941 Bhaktimala Telugu Radha Bhaskar Films
1941 Dharmapatni Tamil Famous Films
1941 Dharmapatni Telugu Famous Films
1943 Garuda Garvabhangam Telugu Pratiba
1943 Krishna Prema Telugu Chandravali Galipenchala Narasimha Rao Famous Films & Star Combines
1944 Tahsildar Telugu Kamala
1945 Swargaseema Telugu Subbi/Sujatha Devi Chittor V. Nagaiah Chittor V. Nagaiah Vijaya Studios
1946 Gruhapravesam Telugu Janaki Sarati Films
1947 Ratnamala Telugu Ratnamala C. S. R. Anjaneyulu C. R. Subburaman Bharani Pictures
1948 Raja Mukthi Tamil Kannika M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar C. R. Subburaman Narendra Pictures
1949 Laila Majnu Telugu Laila A. Nageswara Rao C. R. Subburaman Bharani Pictures
1949 Laila Majnu Tamil Laila A. Nageswara Rao C. R. Subburaman Bharani Pictures
1949 Nallathambi Tamil Pushpa N. S. Krishnan C. R. Subburaman NSK Films & Uma Pictures
1949 Raksharekha Telugu Princess Kalavathi A. Nageswara Rao Ogirala Ramachandra Rao & H. R. Padmanabha Sastri
1949 Devamanohari Tamil Devamanohari C. Honnappa Bhagavathar G. Ramanathan Arkays Pictures
1949 Apoorva Sagodharargal Tamil Kanchana M. K. Radha S. Rajeswara Rao Gemini Studios
1949 Apoorva Sahodaralu Telugu Ranjana M. K. Radha S. Rajeswara Rao Gemini Studios
1949 Nishaan Hindi Kanchana M. K. Radha S. Rajeswara Rao Gemini Studios
1949 Rathnakumar Tamil P. U. Chinnappa Bhagavathar G. Ramanathan & C. R. Subburaman Murugan Talkies
1950 Maya Rambha Telugu
1951 Malleeswari Telugu Malleeswari N. T. Rama Rao Adepalli Rama Rao & S. Rajeswara Rao Vijaya Studios
1951 Mangala Telugu Mangala Gemini Studios
1951 Mangala Hindi Mangala Gemini Studios
1952 Prema Telugu Mothi A. Nageswara Rao C. R. Subburaman Bharani Pictures
1952 Kadhal Tamil Mothi A. Nageswara Rao C. R. Subburaman Bharani Pictures
1952 Rani[3] Tamil S. Balachander C. R. Subburaman Jupiter Pictures
1952 Rani[3] Hindi Anoop Kumar C. R. Subburaman Jupiter Pictures
1953 Chandirani Tamil Champa & Chandi N. T. Rama Rao C. R. Subburaman, Assistants: M. S. Viswanathan & T. K. Ramamoorthy Bharani Pictures
1953 Chandirani Telugu Champa & Chandi N. T. Rama Rao C. R. Subburaman, Assistants: M. S. Viswanathan & T. K. Ramamoorthy Bharani Pictures
1953 Chandirani Hindi Champa & Chandi Dilip Kumar C. R. Subburaman, Assistants: M. S. Viswanathan & T. K. Ramamoorthy Bharani Pictures
1954 Aggi Ramudu Telugu Saradha N. T. Rama Rao S. M. Subbaiah Naidu Pakshiraja Studios
1954 Malaikkallan Tamil Poonkothai M. G. Ramachandran S. M. Subbaiah Naidu Pakshiraja Studios
1954 Chakrapani Telugu Granddaughter A. Nageswara Rao P. Bhanumathi
1955 Vipranarayana Telugu Devadevi A. Nageswara Rao S. Rajeswara Rao Bharani Pictures
1955 Vipranarayana Tamil Devadevi A. Nageswara Rao S. Rajeswara Rao Bharani Pictures
1955 Kalvanin Kadhali Tamil Kalyani Sivaji Ganesan G. Govindarajulu Naidu & Ghantasala Revathi Productions
1956 Alibabavum Narpadhu Thirudargalum Tamil Marjina M. G. Ramachandran S. Dakshinamurthy Modern Theatres
1956 Alibaba 40 Dongalu Telugu Marjina M. G. Ramachandran S. Dakshinamurthy Modern Theatres
1956 Chintamani Telugu Chintamani
1956 Madurai Veeran Tamil Princess Bommi M. G. Ramachandran G. Ramanathan Krishna Pictures
1956 Rangoon Radha Tamil Rangam Sivaji Ganesan T. R. Papa Mekala Pictures
1956 Tenali Ramakrishna Telugu Rangasaani N. T. Rama Rao & A. Nageswara Rao Viswanathan Ramamoorthy Vikram Productions
1956 Tenali Raman Tamil Krishnasani N. T. Rama Rao & Sivaji Ganesan Viswanathan Ramamoorthy Vikram Productions
1956 Sadharam Tamil Sadharam Gemini Ganesan & K. R. Ramaswamy G. Ramanathan Kasturi Films
1956 Thaaikkuppin Thaaram Tamil Sivakami M. G. Ramachandran K. V. Mahadevan Devar Films
1956 Rambaiyin Kaadhal Tamil Ramba K. A. Thangavelu T. R. Papa Kalpana Pictures
1957 Makkalai Petra Magarasi Tamil Rangamma Sivaji Ganesan K. V. Mahadevan Sri Lakshmi Pictures
1957 Manamagan Thevai Tamil Sivaji Ganesan G. Ramanathan Bharani Pictures
1957 Varudu Kavali Telugu K. Jaggaiah G. Ramanathan Bharani Pictures
1957 Rani Lalithangi Tamil Sivaji Ganesan G. Ramanathan TNR Productions
1957 Ambikapathy Tamil Princess Amaravati Sivaji Ganesan G. Ramanathan ALS Productions
1957 Nala Damayanti Telugu Damayanthi Kemparaj Urs
1957 Sarangadhara Telugu Chitrangi Devi N. T. Rama Rao G. Ramanathan Minerva Pictures
1958 Sarangadhara Tamil Chitrangi Devi Sivaji Ganesan G. Ramanathan Minerva Pictures
1958 Nadodi Mannan Tamil Madhana M. G. Ramachandran S. M. Subbaiah Naidu Emgeeyar Pictures
1959 Manimekalai Tamil Manimekalai T. R. Mahalingam G. Ramanathan Shekhar Art Film
1960 Raja Bakthi Tamil Maharasai Sivaji Ganesan, Vyjayanthimala G. Govindarajulu Naidu Revathi Productions
1960 Raja Desingu Tamil Ranibhai M. G. Ramachandran G. Ramanathan Krishna Pictures
1961 Batasari Telugu Madhavi A. Nageswara Rao Master Venu Bharani Pictures
1961 Kaanal Neer Tamil Madhavi A. Nageswara Rao Master Venu Bharani Pictures
1962 Annai Tamil Savithri S. V. Ranga Rao R. Sudharsanam AVM Productions
1963 Kalai Arasi Tamil Vani & Valli M. G. Ramachandran K. V. Mahadevan Sarodi Brothers
1963 Anuragam
1963 Arivaali Tamil Manorama Sivaji Ganesan S. V. Venkatraman A. T. K. Productions
1963 Penchina Prema Telugu
1963 Kaanchi Thalaivan Tamil M. G. Ramachandran K. V. Mahadevan Mekala Pictures
1964 Bobbili Yudham Telugu Mallamma N. T. Rama Rao S. Rajeswara Rao
1964 Vivaha Bandham Telugu Bharati
1965 Antastulu Telugu A. Nageswara Rao K. V. Mahadevan
1965 Todu Needa Telugu
1966 Palnati Yudham Telugu Nagamma N. T. Rama Rao S. Rajeswara Rao Sri Anuroopa Films
1967 Grihalakshmi Telugu Laxmi
1967 Pattatthu Rani Tamil Gemini Ganesan T. K. Ramamoorthy
1968 Poovum Pottum Tamil Padmavathi S. V. Ranga Rao R. Govardhanam Vasu Films
1971 Mattilo Manikyam Telugu Lalitha
1972 Anta Mana Manchike Telugu Savitri
1973 Kattila Thottila Tamil Gemini Ganesan Arul Films
1973 Vichitra Vivaham
1974 Ammayi Pelli Telugu
1974 Tatamma Kala Telugu
1975 Ippadiyum Oru Penn Tamil
1975 Pathu Maadha Bandham Tamil S. A. Asokan Krishnan-Panju
1977 Manavadi Kosam Telugu
1984 Mangamma Gari Manavadu Telugu Mangamma
1986 Muddula Manavaraalu Telugu
1986 Kannukku Mai Ezhuthu Tamil Sujatha, Sarath Babu Ilaiyaraaja
1988 Attagaru Swagatham Telugu
1990 Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata Telugu Bamma
1992 Chamanthi Telugu Bhuvaneswari
1992 Peddarikam Telugu Adusumilli Basavapunnamma
1992 Samrat Ashok Telugu
1992 Chembaruthi Tamil Prashanth, Roja Ilaiyaraaja Motherland Movies
1998 Pelli Kanuka Telugu Savithramma

Playback singer[edit]

Bhanumati gave her voice for herself and many actors to sing many songs.[4]

Year Film Songs
1939 Vara Vikrayam
1941 Dharma Patni Anuraagam Leka Anandamunda
Nilu Niluma Neelavarnaa
1943 Krishna Prema
1945 Swarga Seema Oho Ho Pavurama, Oho Tapodhana
1949 Laila Majnu Preme Neramouna Maapai Ee Pagela
1951 Malliswari Manasuna Mallera Maalaloogene
Parugulu Teeyali O Gittalu Urakalu Veyali (with Ghantasala)
Pilachina Biguvatara Auraura
Eda Thanunnado Baava (with Ghantasala)
1952 Prema Divya Premaku Satiaune (with Ghantasala)
1953 Chandirani Eeroju Bhale Roju Ide Prema Idena
Enduko Teliyani Ennadu Anukoni Ee Sambaraalemiti
Evaraalakinturu Naamora Enaleni Vedana
Kilaa Kilaa Navvulaa Kurisene Vennelaa
O Taraka (with Ghantasala)
1954 Chakrapani Pakkala Nilabadi Kolichemu
Uyyala Jampalaloogaravaya
O Malathi Lata
Mella Mellaga
1954 Vipra Narayana Raa Raa Naa Swamy
1956 Chintamani
1956 Tenali Ramakrishna Kannulu Ninde Kannela Vinna Mannanaleera Raja
Teerani Naa Korikale Teerenu Ee Roju
1961 Batasari Oh Baatasaari Nanu Maruvakoyi
1963 Anuragam Sannajaji Teeveloi Sampenga Poovuloi
1964 Bobbili Yuddham Srikara Karunalavala Venugopala
1964 Vivaha Bandham Vinnava Vinnava Manasulona Dagivunna Madhurageeti
1965 Antastulu Dulapara Bulloda Dummu Dulapara Bulloda
Vinara Vissanna Ne Vedam Cheputa Vinaranna
1965 Todu Needa Enno Ratrulu Vastayi Kaani Idiye Toli Reyi
When I was just a little girl - I asked my mother what will I be
1967 Grihalakshmi Laali Laali Gopala Bala Laali Laali
Melukovayya Kaveti Ranga Sriranga
1971 Mattilo Manikyam Saranam Nee Divya Charanam
1973 Vichitra Vivaham Ammayilu Abbayilu Naa Matalo Nijam Vintara Meeru
1974 Ammayi Pelli Vandanamu Raghunandana Sethu Bandhana Bhakta Chandana
1984 Mangamma Gari Manavadu Sree Suryanarayana Meluko (with Vani Jayaram)
1986 Muddula Manavaralu
1986 Kannukku Mai Ezhuthu Vaadaa Malliye Naan Sooda Mullaiye[5]
1990 Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata Dilli Ki Raja Aina Bamma Maata Bangaru Baata
1998 Pelli Kanuka


  • Ratnamala
  • Prema
  • Chakrapani (1954)
  • Laila Majnu
  • Batasari
  • Vipra Narayana

Music Director[edit]


External links[edit]