Akkineni Nageswara Rao
|Akkineni Nageswara Rao|
|Born||Akkineni Nageswara Rao
20 September 1924
Venkata Raghava Puram, Madras Presidency, British India
(now Ramapuram, Krishna Dist, AP, India)
|Died||22 January 2014
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
(now in Telangana, India)
|Spouse(s)||Annapurna Akkineni (1933–2011)|
Naga Susheela A.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao (20 September 1923 – 22 January 2014) was an Indian film actor and producer, known for his work predominantly in Telugu cinema. He starred in various film genres during his 75-year acting career. Akkineni acted in over 255 films, spanning Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages and became one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu cinema.
He was the instrumental figure in moving the Telugu Cinema industry from Madras to Hyderabad . He shifted his residence from Madras to Hyderabad and urged his producers to shoot his films in Hyderabad back in 1963. . With an aim to provide infrastructural support to the film industry in Hyderabad, he built a film studio, Annapurna Studios, in 1975. He also started a film and media school, Annapurna International School of Film and Media within Annapurna Studios in 2011.
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.
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. ANR, as he's referred to, was discovered by chance at the Vijayawada railway station by the film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, and was offered the lead role of Lord Rama in his upcoming movie Seeta Rama Jananam. Before that, he predominantly acted in theatre, many times donning female roles since women weren't allowed on stage at that time. He acted in over 255 films, spanning the Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages and became one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu cinema. A majority of his films were both commercial and critical successes.
Rao played a variety of roles ranging from a charming prince to a frustrated alcoholic lover, from a valiant soldier to a holy saint, and from a college student to a composed government official. He played mythological roles including Abhimanyu in Maya Bazaar, as Lord Vishnu in Chenchu Lakshmi; as Narada in Bhookailash; and Arjuna in Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham. He rural oriented films included Balaraju, Rojulu Maraayi, and Namminabantu. His comedy films include Missamma, Chakrapani, and Preminchi Choodu. Rao's performances include several tragic romantic dramas such as Laila Majnu, Anarkali (1955 film), Batasari, Devadasu, Prem Nagar (1971 film), Premabhishekam (1981 film), and Meghasandesham.
Rao's roles include portrayal of an alcoholic lover in Devadasu. Rao's social films include Samsaram, Bratuku Teruvu, Aradhana, Donga Ramudu, Dr. Chakravarthi, Ardhaangi, Mangalya Balam, Illarikam, Shantinivasam, Velugu Needalu, Dasara Bullodu, Bharya Bhartalu, Dharmadata, Batasari, and College Bullodu. Sitaramayyagari Manavaralu was released in 1991.
He played the role of the Sanskrit poet, Mahakavi Kalidas of Ujjain; the musician saint, Bhakta Jayadeva of Odisha, the temple sculptor, Amarasilpi Jakkanna of Karnataka; the saint, Vipranarayana of Tamil Nadu; and the singer Bhakta Tukaram. Manam was Rao's last film which also included his son, Nagarjuna, and grandsons, Naga Chaitanya and Akhil.
On 19 October 2013 Rao announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer.. He shot his final film Manam, two weeks after a major laproscopic surgery. He attended the foundation day celebrations of Annapurna Studios on January 14, 2014.
Rao died in his sleep on 22 January 2014 due to cardiac arrest.
He was cremated on the 23rd of January 2014, at Annapurna Studios with full state honours amid a 21-gun salute. Thousands of fans, friends and relatives were present to pay their last respects. 
Literary works- Apart from being a movie star, ANR was a prolific writer. Some of his books are his autobiographical work, Nenu Na Jeevitham, the memoirs of his first visit to the USA, Nenu Choosina America, and the expression of his thoughts in his book, A Aalu.
ANR was a faithful humanist. Pointing toward the sky, he had once 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".
At the pinnacle of his career, he had 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 used his good offices with then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu and got Rs 8 crore sanctioned from the National Bank for Rural Development and Agriculture (NABARD) for its construction. This bridge, named Akkineni Varadhi (Akkineni bridge), had given a boost to the economy by facilitating easy connectivity to neighbouring towns and villages. In Ramapuram, even safe drinking water was something which was unheard of until Akkineni contributed to the construction of a water tank.
He had instituted the Akkineni International Foundation in 2005 to honour those who had made an immense contribution to the Film Industry. The Annapurna International School of Film and Media, that was founded by the Akkineni family in 2011, was set up as a non-profit entity. Rao has been generous towards educational institutions since the beginning of his career. Even though he didn't have the opportunity to go to school or college, he understood the importance of education. He wanted to create opportunities for any one who needed support for educational pursuits. He created scholarships in various state universities such as GITAM University(Vizag). He was the Chief Donor and President of the College at Gudivada, which was subsequently named after him as Akkineni Nageswara Rao College. 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 had instituted Gold Medals in Acting and Direction for the Best Student Artists of the department. In 2012, he had instituted the Akkineni Annapurna Educational Trust in memory of his wife Annapurna.
Awards and honours
- Civilian honors
- Filmfare Best Film Award (Telugu) - Sudigundalu (1968) (shared with Adurthi Subba Rao)
- Best Actor – Telugu – Marapurani Manishi (1973)
- Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (1988) 
- Best Actor – Telugu – Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu (1991)
- Best Actor – Telugu – Bangaru Kutumbam (1994)
- Other state honours
- Kalidasu Kaustubh from Madhya Pradesh State
- Appointed as an adviser to the State Film Development Corporation.
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- Collections. Update Video Publication. 1991. p. 395.
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