Gaggaiah was born in 1895 at Vemuru in Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh. He lost his father in early childhood. His elder brother tried to educate him but failed in his efforts. He married Ramalaxmi in 1913.
During those days, Surabhi Drama company used to be played throughout the Andhra Pradesh and attracts huge crowds. Influenced by this, he learned music and singing songs. He joined the same troupe and acted in many plays touring with them.
He was an important member of the Bala Bharathi Nataka Samajam in Mylavaram, Krishna district during 1913-28. This was popularly called "Mylavaram Theatre". Gaggaiah became a household name. He won recognition as Yama, god of death, in Sati Savitri, as the demon Hiranyakasipu in Bhakta Prahlada. Some other prominent roles were as the eponymous Mymvana, and as Jalandhara in Sati Tulasi.
His theatrical performances made C. Pullayya to persuade to him to enter Telugu filmdom. His debut in Telugu film industry with Savitri in 1933 as Yamadharma raja. It was followed by the evil Kamsa in Sri Krishna Leelalu (1935) and the womanizer in Chandika (1940).
All these plays prove his worth as a performer of tremendous range. He had a thunderous stage voice and his rendering of songs like Po Bala Pommikan and Dhikkaramulu Saituna still awes listeners.
The much recognized Telugu theatre personality, Vemuri Gaggaiah died in 1955 on December 30 in his native village Vemuru.
His son Vemuri Ramaiah was also a stage actor. He was a Bachelor of Law and started with the role of Sri Krishna in 1950. He later shifted to the role of Karna and acted in the same role on the stage for about 40 years. He formed his own troupe and staged the drama Maharathi Karna. He rendered the verses and dialogues with clear diction and very good action. He published his autobiography with details of his acting career along with his contemporaries. Vemuri Ramasubbaya is one of his students.
- Savithri (1933) - Yama
- Seeta Kalyanam (1934)
- Sri Krishna Leelalu (1935) - Kamsa
- Draupadi Vastrapaharanam (1936) - Sishupala
- Sati Tulasi (1936)
- Mohini Rugmangada (1937)
- Jarasandha (1938)
- Markandeya (1938) - Yama
- Chandika (1940) - Giriraju
- Mahiravana (1940) - Mairavana
- Dakshayagnam (1941) - Daksha
- Bhakta Prahlada (1942) - Hiranyakashipu
- Seeta Rama Jananam (1942) - Ravana
- Garuda Garvabhangam (1943)
- Luminaries of 20th Century, Potti Sreeramulu Telugu University, Hyderabad, 2005.
|This article about an Indian actor or actress is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|