Yaragudipati Varada Rao

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Yaragudipati Varada Rao
Born Yaragudipati Varada Rao
(1903-05-30)30 May 1903
Nellore, Madras Presidency, British India
Died 13 February 1973(1973-02-13) (aged 69)
Ethnicity Telugu
Occupation producer
film actor
Years active 1930–1968
Relatives Rajam (ex wife)
Kumari Rukhmini (wife)
Nungambakkam Janaki (mother in law)
Lakshmi (daughter)
Aishwarya (grand daughter)

Yaragudipati Varada Rao (30 May 1903 – 13 February 1973),[1] also known as Y. V. Rao, was an Indian film producer, director, thespian, screenwriter, editor and actor known for his works predominantly in Telugu, Kannada, and Tamil cinema. One of the pioneers of Telugu cinema, Rao plunged into drama and did a few stage plays before moving to Kolhapur and Bombay to act in silent films.[2]

R. S. Prakash Rao, son of Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu, cast him as lead actor in many silent films like Garuda Garva Bhangam, Gajendra Moksham, and Rose of Rajasthan. Rao moved into film direction and made silent films like Pandava Nirvana (1930), Pandava Agnathavaas (1930) and Hari Maya (1932). In 1940 he directed the Telugu magnum opus Viswa Mohini.[2][3][4] Rao and, R. S. Prakash have established a long-lasting precedent of producing films exclusively on religious themes; Nandanar, Gajendra Moksham, and Matsyavatar, three of their Telugu productions, centred on religious figures, parables, and morals.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Y.V. Rao was born in Nellore in the then Madras Presidency of British India in May 1903. He is the father of Indian film actress Lakshmi. In the late 1920s, he moved to Madras and ventured into Kannada cinema.[2]

Kannada cinema[edit]

In 1932, a Marwari businessman, Chamanlal Doongaji from Bangalore, launched South India Movie Tone. The company made Sati Sulochana the first talking picture in Kannada language with an expense of Rs. 40,000. Rao directed this blockbuster film shot at Chatrapathi Cinetone, in Kolhapur; the shooting took eight weeks. He then directed Hari Maya (1932) that starred his first wife, Rajam.[2]

Tamil cinema[edit]

In 1937, Rao directed the Tamil film Chintamani which eventually became a blockbuster and went on to create new records in the Tamil film industry. More importantly, it was the movie which propelled M. K. Thyagaraja Bhagavathar to superstardom. He then directed Lavangi (1946), a biographical based on the life of poet Pandit Jagannath. He subsequently directed several blockbusters in Tamil.[2]


  1. ^ "Y. V. Rao profile". kannadamoviesinfo.com. Retrieved 31 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Guy, Randor (22 August 2003). "A revolutionary filmmaker". The Hindu. Retrieved 29 April 2016. 
  3. ^ Vishwamohini (1940) - IMDb Subsequently, he directed several films predominantly in Telugu.
  4. ^ entertaianment.oneindia.in/celebs/lakshmi/biography.html
  5. ^ CineGoer.com – Articles – History Of Birth And Growth Of Telugu Cinema