Singeetam Srinivasa Rao

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Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Singeetam Srinivasa Rao.jpg
Born (1931-09-28) 28 September 1931 (age 88)
NationalityIndian
Alma materUniversity of Madras
OccupationFilm director
Producer
Screenwriter
Composer
AwardsNational Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Karnataka State Film Awards
Nandi Awards

Singeetam Srinivasa Rao (born 21 September 1931) is an Indian film director, producer, screenwriter, composer, singer, lyricist and actor, known for his works in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi films, across multiple genres.[1] The octogenarian is widely regarded as one of the versatile directors of India.[2][3] He is credited with having revolutionised the South Indian cinema with experimental films.[4][5][6][7] He has garnered two National Film Awards, seven state Nandi Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, and three Karnataka State Film Awards.[8]

Rao was also known for his extensive association with Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar for seven years from 1982 to 1988 during which he became the first person to direct Rajkumar and all his three sons.

In 2010, Rao headed the Jury of the Indian Panorama at the 8th Chennai International Film Festival.[9] In 2011, Rao received the Life Achievement Award from the Film Federation of India at the 4th Global Film Festival.[10] Rao was also the Guest of honor alongside Barrie Osbourne at the Media and Entertainment Business Conclave 2012 hosted by FICCI and FFI.[11][12] In 2012, Rao served as one of the selection committee members for the Sundance Institute's screenwriters lab.[13]

The 2003 animation film, Son of Aladdin had 1100 shots and 125 characters.[14] The film won Special Mention in the Competition section at the 2003 International Children’s Film Festival Hyderabad,[15][16][17] and was subsequently premiered at the 37th International Film Festival of India.[18] The 2008 animation film Ghatothkach, was premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in the Critics' Week section,[19][20] and was also premiered to special mention at the Grand Finale - Children's Film Festival 2014 of the 44th International Film Festival of India.[21]

Rao served as the executive director for the 1970 Kannada film, Samskara which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, and Bronze Leopard at the Locarno International Film Festival.[22] He made his Telugu directorial debut with Neethi Nijayithi (1972). He then directed social problem films like Dikkatra Parvathi (1974), which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil, Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil for that year,[2] and Tharam Marindhi, which won Nandi Award for Best Feature Film, both of which were premiered at International Film Festival of India and the Moscow Film Festival.[23] The 1988 silent film, Pushpaka Vimana gained international acclaim, including 1988 Cannes Film Festival premiere in the International Critics' Week. The film has received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, and Filmfare Award South for Best Film.[24][25][26]

Two of the all time versatile actors of India - Kannada actor Rajkumar and Kamal Haasan were his most frequent collaborators. They were also the actors with whom Singeetam had maximum number of commercial success which were also widely acclaimed by the critics - a phenomenon which was becoming rare at that time.

Early life and career[edit]

Singitam Srinivasa Rao is from a Madhwa Brahmin family. He graduated with a Physics Degree from University of Madras.[27] Rao worked as associate director and singer to Harindranath Chattopadhyay, K. V. Reddy, and Pingali Nagendrarao, for films like Mayabazar (1957), Pelli Naati Pramanalu (1958), Jagadeka Veeruni Katha (1961), Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham (1963), Sathya Harischandra (1965) etc.[28] In 1972, subsequently Rao ventured into direction, and directed about sixty films in various languages including Hindi and English.

Kannada cinema[edit]

Rao was the executive director of the 1970 Kannada movie Samskara directed by Pattabhirama Reddy. It won the President's gold medal for National Film Award for Best Feature Film.[2] Singeetam made his Kannada directorial debut with the 1982 blockbuster Haalu Jenu starring Rajkumar. He went on to direct six more Kannada blockbusters with Rajkumar - Chalisuva Modagalu (1982), Eradu Nakshatragalu (1983), Shravana Banthu (1984), Jwaalamukhi (1985) Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma (1985) and Devatha Manushya(1988). Two of the above movies were based on novels. He was also selected to direct the debut movies of Rajkumar's two sons - Anand (1986) and Chiranjeevi Sudhakara (1988). His other Kannada directorials in the latter part of his career include Ksheera Sagara (1992), Tuvvi Tuvvi Tuvvi (1999) and Make-Up(2002). He co-wrote the screenplay for two Kannada movies produced by Rajkumar banner but which were not directed by him - Shruthi Seridaaga and Samyuktha. He was also the script-writer of Belliyappa Bangarappa. A disciple of legendary composer S. Rajeswara Rao, he has composed music for 2 Kannada movies of Rajkumar banner [29] - Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma (which was directed by him) and Samyuktha - (which was not directed by him).

He has the distinction of having directed Rajkumar and all his 3 sons - the first director to do so. He directed Rajkumar in 7 movies including his 200th movie Devatha Manushya . He was also the director of debut movies of Rajkumar's sons - Shiva Rajkumar's Anand and Raghavendra Rajkumar's Chiranjeevi Sudhakara. He also directed Puneeth Rajkumar in a lead role as a child artist in Eradu Nakshatragalu in which he had played a dual role and which till 2020 remains the only dual role movie of Puneeth in which both the roles appear together on-screen.

Kannada actor Shivaram has been a part of all seven movies of Rao starring Rajkumar. When he was working with Rajkumar, Rao was introduced to Rajkumar's relative actor Shringar Nagaraj who decided to co-produce the movie Pushpaka Vimana.[30] B. C. Gowrishankar , a regular cameraman for Rajkumar movies, was selected as the cinematographer for Rao's later Tamil movie Michael Madana Kama Rajan.

The Kannada Film Journalists Association has honoured Rao with a Special Biography. Rao received three Karnataka State Film Awards - two for Best Screenplay and one for the Best movie.[2]

For seven years (from 1982 to 1988), Rao directed 14 movies of which 9 were in Kannada - all of which were produced under the guidance of ace producer Parvathamma Rajkumar. Of the seven movies which Rao directed with Rajkumar in lead roles, four movies were remade in Telugu. Singeetam's association with Rajkumar was a rare one where he not only directed cult classics and landmark movies but also co - wrote screenplay and composed music for movies produced by the actor even though they were not directed by him. It stands as a testimony for the faith the actor had in the abilities of Rao and the admiration Rao had for Rajkumar. In 1988, when Rajkumar announced his desire to temporarily retire from acting, Singeetam decided to concentrate on Tamil movies where he mostly had Kamal Haasan in lead roles.

Lyricist and Composer[edit]

He composed lyrics for films like Bhairava Dweepam (1994) and soundtracks for few Kannada films. He edited many magazines in Telugu such as Bharati, and scripted plays like Brahma, Antya Ghattam, and Chitrārjuna. Chitrārjuna was also translated into English, and was telecasted in American Television.[31] A disciple of legendary composer S. Rajeswara Rao, he has also composed music for 2 Kannada movies of matinee idol Rajkumar's banner - Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma (which was directed by him) and Samyuktha - (which was not directed by him).

Film craft and Innovative cinema[edit]

Rao (right) at IFFI 2015

The 1984 Telugu biographical dance film, Mayuri, which won the National Film Award – Special Mention (Feature Film), was premiered at the 1985 International Film Festival of India, has also received several state Awards, including the State Nandi Award for Best Feature Film, and Filmfare Award South for Best Direction.[22] The film was later remade into Hindi as Naache Mayuri.

In 1988, he co-produced, scripted and directed the first Indian silent film, Pushpaka Vimana premiered at Cannes Film Festival, and has received the National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment, Filmfare Award South for Best Film, and several International honors, including special mention at Shanghai Film Festival.[32][33] The film was listed among CNN-IBN's hundred greatest Indian films of all time.[34] The comedy-drama blockbuster Apoorva Sagodharargal was one of the enduring works on dwarfism in popular media.[35][36] The film won the Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil, and was premiered at the International Film Festival of India.

The Telugu Crossover cinema like America Ammayi, and America Abbayi, were box office hits. The 1990 action comedy, Michael Madana Kama Rajan became an instant hit at the box office. The Science fantasy in Telugu Aditya 369 was the highest grossing Telugu film of 1991, grossing 90 million (US$1.3 million) at the box office. A sequel, entitled Aditya 999, was delayed indefinitely in July 2016.[37] Another science fantasy in Tamil, Chinna Vathiyar was also an instant hit. The 1994, folklore Bhairava Dweepam garnered the state Nandi Award for Best Direction.

Awards[edit]

Film Federation of India
  • Life Time Achievement Award
National Film Awards
Nandi Awards
Karnataka State Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Language Director Producer Writer Notes
1972 Neeti-Nijayiti Telugu Yes Directorial debut in Telugu cinema
1974 Dikkatra Parvathi Tamil Yes Yes Yes Directorial debut in Tamil cinema
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
Filmfare Award for Best Film - Tamil
1977 Zamindharugari Ammayi Telugu Yes
1976 Oka Deepam Veligindhi Telugu Yes
1976 America Ammayi Telugu Yes Yes Yes
1977 Tharam Marindi Telugu Yes Yes Yes Nandi Award For Best Feature Film
1977 Andhame Anandham Telugu Yes Yes Yes
1977 Pantulamma Telugu Yes Yes Yes Also actor
1977 Niraparayum Nilavilakkum Malayalam Yes Directorial debut in Malayalam cinema.
1978 Sommokadidi Sokokadidi Telugu Yes Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1978 Raamachilaka Telugu Yes
1978 Gammathu Goodacharulu Telugu Yes
1979 Mangala Thoranalu Telugu Yes
1980 Thriloka Sundhari Telugu Yes
1980 Gandhara Golam Telugu Yes
1981 Raja Paarvai and Amavasya Chandrudu Tamil
Telugu
Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1981 Jai Gantalu Telugu Yes
1982 Thrilok Sundhari Hindi Yes
1982 Haalu Jenu Kannada Yes Yes Yes Directorial debut in Kannada
Karnataka State Film Award for Best Film
Starring Rajkumar
1982 Chalisuva Modagalu Kannada Yes Yes Starring Rajkumar
1983 Eradu Nakshatragalu Kannada Yes Yes Starring Rajkumar and Puneeth Rajkumar
1984 Shravana Banthu Kannada Yes Starring Rajkumar
1984 Sangeeta Samrat Telugu Yes
1984 Mayuri Telugu Yes Yes Nandi Award for Best Feature Film
Filmfare Award South For Best Direction
Nandi Award for Best Screenplay
1985 Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma Kannada Yes Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay
Also Music director
Starring Rajkumar
1985 Jwaalamukhi Kannada Yes Yes Starring Rajkumar
1986 Anand Kannada Yes Yes Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay
Starring Shiva Rajkumar in his debut
1986 Naache Mayuri Hindi Yes
1987 America Abbayi Telugu Yes Yes
1987 Shruthi Seridaaga Kannada Yes Co-screenplay writer
Starring Rajkumar
1988 Pushpaka Vimana Silent Yes Yes Yes Silent Film
National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment
Filmfare Award for Best Director – Kannada
Starring Kamal Haasan
1988 Devatha Manushya Kannada Yes Starring Rajkumar ( his 200th movie)
1988 Chiranjeevi Sudhakara Kannada Yes Starring Raghavendra Rajkumar in his debut
1988 Samyuktha Kannada Yes Co-Screenplay writer and Music Director
Starring Shiva Rajkumar
1989 Apoorva Sagodharargal Tamil Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1990 Michael Madana Kama Rajan Tamil Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1991 Aditya 369 Telugu Yes Yes Starring Nandamuri Balakrishna
1992 Ksheera Sagara Kannada Yes Yes Starring Kumar Bangarappa
1992 Belliyappa Bangarappa Kannada Yes Starring Kumar Bangarappa
1992 Brundavanam Telugu Yes Nandi Award for Best Screenplay
1993 Phool Hindi Yes Yes
1994 Madam Telugu Yes Yes
1994 Magalir Mattum Tamil Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1994 Bhairava Dweepam Telugu Yes Yes Nandi Award for Best Director
Nandi Award for Best Feature Film
Also Lyric writer for Virisinadhi Vasantha Gaanam
Starring Nandamuri Balakrishna
1995 Chinna Vathiyar Tamil Yes
1996 Shri Krishnarjuna Vijayam Telugu Yes Yes Starring Nandamuri Balakrishna
1998 Kaathala Kaathala Tamil Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
1998 Raja Hamsa Telugu Yes Yes
1999 Tuvvi Tuvvi Tuvvi Kannada Yes Starring Raghavendra Rajkumar
2001 Akasa Veedhilo Telugu Yes Yes
2002 Little John English
Hindi
Tamil
Yes Yes
2002 Make-up Kannada Yes Starring Jaggesh
2003 Vijayam Telugu Yes
2003 Son of Aladdin English Yes Yes Special Mention in the Competition section at the 2003 International Children's Film Festival
2005 Mumbai Xpress Hindi
Tamil
Yes Starring Kamal Haasan
2008 Ghatothkach Hindi Yes Yes Animation Film
2010 Varudu Telugu Actor
2013 Chinni Chinni Aasa Telugu Actor
2013 Welcome Obama Telugu Yes Yes Remake of Marathi movie Mala Aai Vhhaychy!
2015 Kanche Telugu Yes Cameo appearance

References[edit]

  1. ^ "My life is not drab". The Hindu.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Spinning magic". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 20 May 2005.
  3. ^ "Robinhood is my hero: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao". The Hindu.
  4. ^ "Profile: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao".
  5. ^ "Bollywood epic to focus on the early life of Jesus". National Post. 1 September 2010.
  6. ^ "Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's unique record". The Times of India.
  7. ^ "Gems Before Christ". Rediff. Hyderabad, India. 2010.
  8. ^ "Four decades later, a flashback". The Hindu.
  9. ^ "Chennai International Film Festival opens". The Times of India.
  10. ^ "Singeetam Srinivas Rao to be awarded Life-time Achievement by FFI".
  11. ^ "Stalwarts to zoom in on creative, commercial secrets of celluloid". The Hindu.
  12. ^ "FICCI to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema". IBNLive.
  13. ^ "Eight Feature Film Projects Selected For First-Ever Mumbai Mantra - Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab".
  14. ^ "Log in ...Tribune: IT supplement of The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Feature page".
  15. ^ "The Hindu Business Line : Children's film fest comes to a close".
  16. ^ "Tintin a bonanza for children at film festival". The Times of India.
  17. ^ "The Hindu : Lights, camera... chaos".
  18. ^ http://www.iffigoa.org/iffi2006/alladin.php
  19. ^ "Ghatothkach, Cannes-bound!". Rediff. 12 May 2008.
  20. ^ "Animation film 'Ghatothkach' to premier at Cannes". Merinews. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
  21. ^ "Children's Film Festival 2014". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  22. ^ a b "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF).
  23. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF).
  24. ^ "Need for a universal story". The Hindu.
  25. ^ "'Pushpak' completes 25 years: Tinnu Anand, Amala go down memory lane". IBNLive.
  26. ^ "Sakhya Indian Cinema Club: Pushpaka Vimana (The Love Chariot)". Graduate Union. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  27. ^ "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF). p. 141.
  28. ^ "Singeetam, legend, Gurthukosthunnayi". MAA Tv. Hyderabad, India. 20 May 2011.
  29. ^ https://silverscreenindia.com/movies/features/interviews/singeetam-srinivasa-rao-interview-golden-rule-cinema-no-golden-rule/
  30. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20101231015109/http://www.telugucinema.com/c/publish/movieretrospect/retro_pushpakavimaanam_1988_2.php
  31. ^ "Pawan Kalyan to star in Bollywood film of Christ's life". the Guardian.
  32. ^ Profile: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
  33. ^ Sri Singeetam Srinivas Rao Profile
  34. ^ 100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 land mark Indian films of all time|Movies News Photos-IBNLive
  35. ^ "Singeetam reveals secret behind Kamal's dwarf role". The Hindu.
  36. ^ S, Srivatsan (13 April 2019). "Why Kamal Haasan's 'Apoorva Sagodharargal' is 30-years-young". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
  37. ^ Staff Writer (17 July 2016). "That's Why Balayya Delayed Aditya 999". Gulte.
  38. ^ Correspondent, Special. "S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Hema Malini bag NTR awards".
  39. ^ https://archive.today/20170205141932/https://archive.org/details/35thAnnualFilmfareAwardsSouthWinners

External links[edit]