Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
Singeetam Srinivasa Rao
|Alma mater||University of Madras|
|Awards||National Film Awards|
Filmfare Awards South
Karnataka State Film 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. The octogenarian is widely regarded as one of the versatile directors of India. He is credited with having revolutionised the South Indian cinema with experimental films. He has garnered two National Film Awards, seven state Nandi Awards, three Filmfare Awards South, and three Karnataka State Film Awards.
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. In 2011, Rao received the Life Achievement Award from the Film Federation of India at the 4th Global Film Festival. Rao was also the Guest of honor alongside Barrie Osbourne at the Media and Entertainment Business Conclave 2012 hosted by FICCI and FFI. In 2012, Rao served as one of the selection committee members for the Sundance Institute's screenwriters lab.
The 2003 animation film, Son of Aladdin had 1100 shots and 125 characters. The film won Special Mention in the Competition section at the 2003 International Children’s Film Festival Hyderabad, and was subsequently premiered at the 37th International Film Festival of India. The 2008 animation film Ghatothkach, was premiered at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival in the Critics' Week section, and was also premiered to special mention at the Grand Finale - Children's Film Festival 2014 of the 44th International Film Festival of India.
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. 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, 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. 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.
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
Singitam Srinivasa Rao is from a Madhwa Brahmin family. He graduated with a Physics Degree from University of Madras. 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. In 1972, subsequently Rao ventured into direction, and directed about sixty films in various languages including Hindi and English.
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. 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  - 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. 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.
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
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. 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
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. 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. The film was listed among CNN-IBN's hundred greatest Indian films of all time. The comedy-drama blockbuster Apoorva Sagodharargal was one of the enduring works on dwarfism in popular media. 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. 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.
- Life Time Achievement Award
- 1973 - National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil - Dikkatra Parvathi
- 1988 - National Film Award for Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment - Pushpaka Vimana
- 1977 - Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Silver) - Tharam Marindhi
- 1985 - Nandi Award for Best Feature Film (Gold) - Mayuri
- 1985 - Nandi Award for Best Screenplay Writer - Mayuri
- 1985 - Nandi Award for Best Director - Mayuri
- 1992 - Nandi Award for Best Screenplay Writer - Brundavanam
- 1994 - Nandi Award for Best Director - Bhairava Dweepam
- 2012 - "Bommireddy Narasimha Reddy National Award" for Life Time Achievement.
- 1982 - Karnataka State Film Award for First Best Film - Haalu Jenu
- 1985 - Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay - Bhagyada Lakshmi Baramma
- 1986 - Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay - Anand
- 1974 - Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil - Dikkatra Parvathi
- 1985 - Filmfare Best Director Award (Telugu) - Mayuri
- 1987 - Filmfare Award for Best Director - Kannada - Pushpaka Vimana
|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
|1976||Oka Deepam Veligindhi||Telugu||Yes|
|1977||Tharam Marindi||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Yes||Nandi Award For Best Feature Film|
|1977||Niraparayum Nilavilakkum||Malayalam||Yes||Directorial debut in Malayalam cinema.|
|1978||Sommokadidi Sokokadidi||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Starring Kamal Haasan|
|1981||Raja Paarvai and Amavasya Chandrudu||Tamil
|Yes||Starring Kamal Haasan|
|1982||Haalu Jenu||Kannada||Yes||Yes||Yes||Directorial debut in Kannada |
Karnataka State Film Award for Best Film
|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||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
|1986||Anand||Kannada||Yes||Yes||Karnataka State Film Award for Best Screenplay|
Starring Shiva Rajkumar in his debut
|1987||Shruthi Seridaaga||Kannada||Yes||Co-screenplay writer |
|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|
|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
|1996||Shri Krishnarjuna Vijayam||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Starring Nandamuri Balakrishna|
|1998||Kaathala Kaathala||Tamil||Yes||Starring Kamal Haasan|
|1999||Tuvvi Tuvvi Tuvvi||Kannada||Yes||Starring Raghavendra Rajkumar|
|2003||Son of Aladdin||English||Yes||Yes||Special Mention in the Competition section at the 2003 International Children's Film Festival|
|Yes||Starring Kamal Haasan|
|2013||Chinni Chinni Aasa||Telugu||Actor|
|2013||Welcome Obama||Telugu||Yes||Yes||Remake of Marathi movie Mala Aai Vhhaychy!|
- "My life is not drab". The Hindu.
- "Spinning magic". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 20 May 2005.
- "Robinhood is my hero: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao". The Hindu.
- "Profile: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao".
- "Bollywood epic to focus on the early life of Jesus". National Post. 1 September 2010.
- "Singeetam Srinivasa Rao's unique record". The Times of India.
- "Gems Before Christ". Rediff. Hyderabad, India. 2010.
- "Four decades later, a flashback". The Hindu.
- "Chennai International Film Festival opens". The Times of India.
- "Singeetam Srinivas Rao to be awarded Life-time Achievement by FFI".
- "Stalwarts to zoom in on creative, commercial secrets of celluloid". The Hindu.
- "FICCI to celebrate 100 years of Indian cinema". IBNLive.
- "Eight Feature Film Projects Selected For First-Ever Mumbai Mantra - Sundance Institute Screenwriters Lab".
- "Log in ...Tribune: IT supplement of The Tribune, Chandigarh, India. Feature page".
- "The Hindu Business Line : Children's film fest comes to a close".
- "Tintin a bonanza for children at film festival". The Times of India.
- "The Hindu : Lights, camera... chaos".
- "Ghatothkach, Cannes-bound!". Rediff. 12 May 2008.
- "Animation film 'Ghatothkach' to premier at Cannes". Merinews. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 5 January 2009.
- "Children's Film Festival 2014". Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
- "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF).
- "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF).
- "Need for a universal story". The Hindu.
- "'Pushpak' completes 25 years: Tinnu Anand, Amala go down memory lane". IBNLive.
- "Sakhya Indian Cinema Club: Pushpaka Vimana (The Love Chariot)". Graduate Union. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
- "Directorate of Film Festival" (PDF). p. 141.
- "Singeetam, legend, Gurthukosthunnayi". MAA Tv. Hyderabad, India. 20 May 2011.
- "Pawan Kalyan to star in Bollywood film of Christ's life". the Guardian.
- Profile: Singeetham Srinivasa Rao
- Sri Singeetam Srinivas Rao Profile
- 100 Years of Indian Cinema: The 100 land mark Indian films of all time|Movies News Photos-IBNLive
- "Singeetam reveals secret behind Kamal's dwarf role". The Hindu.
- S, Srivatsan (13 April 2019). "Why Kamal Haasan's 'Apoorva Sagodharargal' is 30-years-young". The Hindu. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 15 April 2019.
- Staff Writer (17 July 2016). "That's Why Balayya Delayed Aditya 999". Gulte.
- Correspondent, Special. "S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, Hema Malini bag NTR awards".