P. Adinarayana Rao

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P. Adinarayana Rao
Birth namePenupatruni Adinarayana Rao
BornJuly 12, 1915
Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh
Died1991 (aged 75–76)
Occupation(s)Music director
Years active1950s – 1990s
Associated actsAswini Pictures, Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Penupatruni Adinarayana Rao (July 12, 1915–1991) was an Indian music director, film producer, lyricist and play writer.

He co-founded "Aswini Pictures" with Akkineni Nageswara Rao and produced some movies in Telugu and Tamil. Later, he produced several blockbuster Telugu movies under his own production house, Anjali Pictures, named after his actress wife, Anjali Devi. He also composed and produced music for several Tamil and Hindi movies.

According to the music critic V. A. K. Rangarao,

"Adinarayana Rao is credited for introducing Hindustani music in contemporary flavour and simplified orchestration, and thereby impressing both laymen audience as well cognoscenti. It is this music that survives him enthralling all the music lovers".[1]

Memorable music compositions from Rao are: "Rajasekhara Neepai Moju Theera Leduraa" in the movie Anarkali released in 1955,[2] "Piluvakuraa Alugakuraa" in the movie Suvarna Sundari released in 1957,[3] "Telugu Veera Levaraa Deeksha Booni Sagara" and "Vastaadu Naraju" in the movie Alluri Seetarama Raju released in 1974[4] and all songs including "Ghana Ghana Sundara" in Bhakta Tukaram, released in 1973.[5]

Music directors such as Satyam, Thotakura Venkata Raju and Laxmikant–Pyarelal honed their skills by working under him as assistant directors.[6][7]


Adinarayana Rao was born in 1915 in Kakinada of East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh to Penupatruni Krishnayya Gowd and Penupatruni Anasuya.[8][9] He completed his matriculation in Kakinada.

He started his film career, as a child artiste at the age of six, under Rajarajeswari Naatya Mandali's baton playing the roles of mythological characters such as "Narada" and "Savitri". Later, he studied classical music under Patrayani Sitaramsastry in Saluru. By age of 12, he played many musical instruments and had shown his talent in both music as a composer, and on stage as a playwright.[10]


He was well known in Kakinada theatre circle, with plays like Black Market, Vasanta Sena and Veedhi Gaayakulu, with which he still continued after entering the film industry and was affectionately given a nickname "Abbayi Garu". The play Street Singers written by him was admired, and his wife Anjali Devi received a Gold medal and a citation from Sir Arthur Hope, then governor of the Madras Presidency in 1943.[11] He fine-tuned his skills to become a well known artiste while working under the 'Burmah Shell Amateurs Troupe', through the famous 'Young Mens Happy Club', which produced stalwarts from the Telugu film industry like Relangi Venkata Ramaiah, S. V. Ranga Rao, Gandikota Jagannatham and Anjali Devi. Here he met his future wife Anjali Devi.


He and S. V. Ranga Rao made their debut into the film industry with the film Varudhini in 1946. Adinarayana Rao wrote lyrics and composed music for two songs in that film. He wrote lyrics and composed music for two more films. He got a huge break with the film Gollabhama directed by C. Pullaiah, in which his wife Anjali Devi made her debut. With the film Palletoori Pilla in 1950, he established himself as a well-known and full-fledged music director in the Telugu film industry. He married Anjali Devi in 1948, and they had two sons.[12] His granddaughter Saila Rao is also an actress.

He was versatile in composing music, writing lyrics and stories for films, and producing movies in Telugu, Tamil, Marathi, and Hindi under 'Anjali Pictures'. During the 1980s, he mainly composed music and wrote lyrics under Padmalaya Studios for the actor Krishna until the former's death in 1991.

Aswini Pictures[edit]

Adinarayana Rao founded "Aswini Pictures", together with Akkineni Nageswara Rao and makeup artist K. Gopala Rao, to produce movies like "Maayalamaari" in 1951 in Telugu, "Mayakkaari" in Tamil, and "Annadhata" in 1954, for which he wrote lyrics and composed music.

Anjali Pictures[edit]

He started a production house 'Anjali Pictures' in 1951, using the name of his wife after parting ways with Aswini Pictures. He produced some of the blockbusters in the film industry like Paradesi in 1952 in Telegu, which was directed by L. V. Prasad, Poongottai in Tamil, Anarkali in 1955, Suvarna Sundari in 1957 and Bhakta Tukaram in 1973. In all these movies, his wife Anjali Devi acted as the lead heroine. Most of the movies he produced had Akkineni Nageswara Rao as a lead actor.

He also produced movies in Hindi such as Phoolon Ki Sej in 1964 and Suvarna Sundari, for which he wrote the script (1957).[13]



Music director[edit]



Adinarayana Rao Award[edit]

Anjali Devi launched the Adinarayana Rao Award (using her husband's name) beginning in 2011. Noted playback singer P. Susheela was the first recipient of the award.[16]


External links[edit]