September 20, 2013

Vijay Kumar

Akkineni Nageswara Rao Biography

           Akkineni Nageswara Rao (born 20 September 1923) is a prominent Indian film actor and producer, predominantly in the Telugu language. From paddy fields, he strode into the field of fine arts through theatre. He became a famous stage artiste, specialising, surprisingly, in playing female characters, because women at that time were prohibited from acting. Some of the famous plays he acted in were Harishchandra, Kanakatara, Vipranarayana, Telugu Talli, Aasajyoti and Satyanveshanam. Subsequently, he was discovered, by chance, by the then prominent film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, at Vijayawada railway station. He was then cast in the film, Dharmapatni. Since then, Nageswara Rao has starred in several films of various genres during his unparalleled 71-year acting career. He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian honour for his contribution to Indian cinema, and is the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest individual lifetime achievement award for films in India.

In 1957, he donated a considerable sum of money to the Andhra University. He was the Chief Donor and President of a College at Gudivada, which was subsequently named after him. Being a strong advocate of education, he created scholarships in the Universities of Andhra, Madras, Sri Venkateswara, and Osmania. Apart from being a Life Member in the Senate of the Andhra University, he is also Adviser to its Department of Dramatics and Theatre Arts.

Early life and Family:

Akkineni Nageswara Rao was the youngest of 5 brothers born into a poor family on 20 September 1924 at Ramapuram, Krishna District. His parents, Akkineni Venkatratnam and Akkineni Punnamma were from the farming community. His formal education was limited to primary schooling due to his parents' poor economic conditions.

The farm boy, who never imagined that he would cross the borders of his village or district, toured all over the world as an ambassador of art and culture. Dr. Nageswara Rao was invited as a State Guest by the United States of America, England, France and Germany in 1964 and USSR in 1972 besides some other countries in the continent to study the Film Craft and Theatre Arts in the respective countries. He had visited Australia in 1967 leading the delegates for the Indian Entry Film, Antasthulu, at the Sydney Film Festival. He also led a high level Film Delegation to Mauritius. All through the world, the people felicitated Dr. Akkineni with love and honour.

Awards and honours:

Civilian honours:

Padma Vibhushan (2011)
Padma Bhushan (1988)
Padma Shri (1968)

National Film Awards:

Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1990)
Raghupathi Venkaiah Award (1989)
NTR National Award (1996)

Nandi Award for Best Actor:

Doctor Chakravarthy (1964)
Antastulu (1965)
Sudigundaalu (1967)
Meghasandesam (1982)
Bangaru Kutumbam (1994)

Filmfare Awards South:

Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Award - Marapurani Manishi (1973)
Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Award - Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu (1991).
Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Award - Bangaru Kutumbam (1994)

Other State honours:

Kalaimamani from Tamil Nadu State.
Kalidasu from Madhya Pradesh State. At one point he was also appointed as an adviser to the State Film Development Corporation.

ANR National Award:

When Dr. Akkineni Nageswara Rao was honoured with the prestigious DADA SAHEB PHALKE AWARD in 1991, a desire rose in him to create a similar award in his lifetime. The Akkineni International Foundation is the charitable arm of Annapurna Studios. The ANR National Award was instituted by the foundation in the honor of Akkineni Nageswara Rao in 2005. The award is given annually to recognize people for their lifetime achievements and contributions to the Indian film industry.
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