Akkineni Nageswara Rao

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Akkineni Nageswara Rao
A.Nageswara Rao.jpg
Born Akkineni Nageswara Rao
(1923-09-20)20 September 1923
Venkata Raghava Puram, Madras Presidency, British India
(now Ramapuram, Krishna Dist, AP, India)
Died 22 January 2014(2014-01-22) (aged 90)
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
(now in Telangana, India)
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Annapurna Akkineni (1949–2011)
Children Venkat Akkineni
Akkineni Nagarjuna
Sathyavathi Akkineni
Naga Susheela A.
Saroja Akkineni

Akkineni Nageswara Rao (20 September 1923 – 22 January 2014), popularly referred to as ANR, is an Indian film actor/producer, known for his work predominantly in Telugu cinema. He starred in many acclaimed films during his 75-year career, becoming one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu and Indian cinema.[1]

He was the instrumental figure in moving the Telugu Cinema industry from Madras to Hyderabad in the early 60s.[2] With an aim to provide infrastructural support to the film industry in Hyderabad, he founded Annapurna Studios in 1975. He later started the Annapurna International School of Film and Media within Annapurna Studios in 2011.[3]

Nageswara Rao received four state Nandi Awards, and five Filmfare Awards South. He is a recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honorary award for achievement in India cinema. He was also honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, for his contribution towards Indian cinema.[4][5][6][7]

Film career[edit]

In 1941, at the age of 17, Nageswara Rao made his debut in the Telugu film, Dharmapatni, in which he played the role of the protagonist's friend.[8] Subsequently, ANR was noticed by chance at the Vijayawada railway station by film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, who cast him as Lord Rama in his movie Seeta Rama Jananam.[8] Before that, ANR predominantly acted in theatre, many times donning female roles since women weren't allowed on stage at that time.[8][9] From those humble beginnings, he went onto star in over 255 films, spanning Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages.[10] A majority of his films were both commercial and critical successes.[11]

Prominent Films[edit]

ANR played a variety of roles spanning various genres. His noted mythological roles include Abhimanyu in Maya Bazaar, Lord Vishnu in Chenchu Lakshmi; Narada in Bhookailash; and Arjuna in Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham. Many of his popular films early in his career were rural oriented dramas. They included Balaraju, Rojulu Maraayi, and Namminabantu. Not wanting to be type cast, he excelled in comedy with films such as Missamma, Chakrapani, Preminchi Choodu, and College Bullodu Akkineni is probably most noted for his performances in tragic romantic dramas such as Laila Majnu, Anarkali (1955 film), Batasari, Devadasu, Prem Nagar (1971 film), Premabhishekam (1981 film), and Meghasandesham. Akkineni's prominent socially oriented films include Samsaram, Bratuku Teruvu, Aradhana, Donga Ramudu, Dr. Chakravarthi, Ardhaangi, Mangalya Balam, Illarikam, Shantinivasam, Velugu Needalu, Dasara Bullodu, Bharya Bhartalu, Dharmadata, Batasari, and Sitaramayyagari Manavaralu His prominent historical roles were often cross cultural—the Sanskrit poet Mahakavi Kalidasu of Ujjain; the musician saint, Bhakta Jayadeva of Odisha, the temple sculptor Amarasilpi Jakkanna of Karnataka; the Tamil saint Vipranarayana of Tamil Nadu; and the Marathi Bhakta Tukaram. Playing roles such as these, he garnered acclaim from other Indian states beyond just his native Andhra Pradesh. Despite being an atheist, ANR acted in various movies with strong religious themes such as Vipranarayana,Bhakta Tukaram, Sriramadasu, and Sriramarajyam.[4][5][6][7] Manam was Akkineni's final film and it included his son, Akkineni Nagarjuna, and grandsons, Naga Chaitanya Akkineni and Akhil Akkineni.


On 19 October 2013 Rao announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer.[12] He continued shooting for his final film Manam, two weeks after a major laproscopic surgery, surprising many.[13] He had often said that he wished to act till his death, and Manam proved that. His last public appearance was befittingly at the foundation day celebrations of Annapurna Studios on January 14, 2014. A week later, Akkineni passed away on 22 January 2014.[14] He was cremated on the 23rd of January 2014, at Annapurna Studios with full state honours amid a 21-gun salute. Thousands were present to pay their last respects.[15][16][16]

Literary works[edit]

Apart from being a movie star, ANR was a prolific writer. Most of his books were autobiographical works, the most famous of which are Nenu Na Jeevitham, the memoirs of his first visit to the USA, Nenu Choosina America, and a poetic rendition of his personal thoughts, A Aalu.


ANR was very active in social service. Pointing toward the sky, he once famously said, "If there's a presence there, I'm sure he'll want us to perform our earthly duties well and be a good human being rather than blindly worship him".[17]

He set up the Akkineni Janmabhoomi trust in order to foster development in his home town, Ramapuram. He strove hard to realise it under the Janmabhoomi programme during the TDP regime. He was instrumental in the construction of the Akkineni Varadhi (Akkineni bridge, named after him), which improved his village's economy by facilitating easy connectivity. In Ramapuram, even safe drinking water was something which was unheard of until Akkineni contributed to the construction of a water filteration plant.[18]

He instituted the Akkineni International Foundation in 2005 to honour those who contributed to the Film Industry.[19] The Annapurna International School of Film and Media, founded by his family in 2011, was set up as a non-profit entity. Rao was generous towards educational institutions since the beginning of his career. Even though he didn't have the opportunity to go to school, he understood the importance of education. He created scholarships in various state universities such as GITAM University(Vizag).[20] He was the Chief Donor and President of the College at Gudivada, which was subsequently named after him as Akkineni Nageswara Rao College.[21] Apart from being a Life Member of the Senate of Andhra University, he was also Adviser to its Department of Dramatics and Theatre Arts. He instituted Gold Medals for students who excelled in Acting and Direction.[22] In 2012, he instituted the Akkineni Annapurna Educational Trust in memory of his wife Annapurna.[23]


Awards and honours[edit]

Civilian honors
National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Nandi Awards
Nandi Award for Best Actor
Other state honours
  • Kalidasu Kaustubh from Madhya Pradesh State[36]
  • Appointed as an adviser to the State Film Development Corporation.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Shankar Dayal Sharma (1997). President Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharma: January 1995-July 1997. Publication Divisions, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, AGovernment of India,. p. 74. 
  2. ^ Sengupta, Pallavi. "Telugu filmstar Akkineni Nageswara Rao no more – News Oneindia". News.oneindia.in. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "About Us". Annapurna Studios. 13 August 1975. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  4. ^ a b "Akkineni Nageswara Rao lived and breathed cinema". Rediff.com. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 23 Jan 2014. 
  5. ^ a b "Nagarjuna about God". MyFirstShow.com. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  6. ^ a b "ANR, Actor Par Excellence, Student and Humanist". Indian Express. 2014-01-23. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  7. ^ a b "Romance Is All". Outlook India. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2014-01-23. 
  8. ^ a b c Video on YouTube[dead link]
  9. ^ Raja-Harishchandra – Trailer – Cast – Showtimes – NYTimes.com
  10. ^ "Legendary telugu actor ANR passes away at 91". Eenadu. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  11. ^ Interview with A. Nageswara Rao – Celebrity Inews, Tollywood Interviews, Telugu Movie Reviews, Telugu Actress Photo Galleries, Movie Galleries, Tollywood Gossip
  12. ^ "ANR Struck by Cancer of intestine". thehindu.com. 
  13. ^ "ANR dubbed for his film from his death bed". Times of India. 
  14. ^ "Evergreen actor ANR has cancer". Times of India. 
  15. ^ "Thousands bid tearful farewell to Akkineni Nageswara Rao". thehindu.com. 
  16. ^ a b "Film personalities pay last respects to ANR". Hindustan times. 
  17. ^ "ANR Always". theHindu.com. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  18. ^ "Akkineni Varadhi". thehindu.com. 
  19. ^ "Entertainment Hyderabad : Such a long journey". The Hindu. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  20. ^ "2013 Merit Fellowships, GITAM University". Education in India. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  21. ^ "ANR College History". ANR College. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  22. ^ "Andhra University - Department of Theatre Arts". Andhra University. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  23. ^ "ANR @ Akkineni Annapurna Education Trust Press Meet". Bharath Movies. Retrieved 26 February 2014. 
  24. ^ a b c d "Akkineni Nageswara Rao passes away". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  25. ^ "Legendary Telugu Actor Nageswara Rao Passes Away". New Indian Express. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  26. ^ "Telugu legend Akkineni Nageswara Rao dies aged 91". ibnlive.in. 
  27. ^ "Legendary Telugu Actor Nageswara Rao Passes Away". One India Entertainment. 
  28. ^ K Rajnikanth. "Doyen of Telugu cinema ANR dies at 91". Business Standard. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  29. ^ Collections. Update Video Publication. 1991. p. 395. 
  30. ^ The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's who. Bennett, Coleman. 1980. p. 308. 
  31. ^ http://www.filmfare.com/features/lifetime-achievement-award-south-winners-down-the-years-6684.html
  32. ^ Sainik Samachar: The Pictorial Weekly of the Armed Forces, Volume 40. Government of India. p. 30. 
  33. ^ "Filmfare Awards South - 1995 - Winners & Nominees". 
  34. ^ "Akkineni Nageswara Rao Passed Away". AEG India. Retrieved 22 January 2014. 
  35. ^ Who's who. Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Indian Parliament. 2000. p. 496. 
  36. ^ a b ANR – Telugu cinema stars

External links[edit]