Akkineni Nageswara Rao is undoubtedly the ‘Bhisma Pitamah’ of Telugu cinema. Even after few decades not any actor have reached the status that he had achieved. He was also a naturalistic actor who inherited theatrical approach in acting and perhaps of his such approach; he could deliver the high-drama scenes that were indeed Telugu cinema’s landmark films even.
Nageswara Rao bagged the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honorary award for achievement in Indian cinema. The reason he is considered ‘Bhisma Peetamah’ is because he was instrumental in locating Telugu cinema to Hyderabad. He not only shifted his residence from Madras to Hyderabad but even shifted the idea of the shooting of Telugu films in Hyderabad even that gave a fillip to filmmaking pattern in Kollywood. He launched his own film studio ’Annapurna Studios’, in 1975, to provide infrastructural support to the film industry in Hyderabad.
Along with the studio, he even established a film and media school, Annapurna International School of Film and Media in 2011. He made his debut in the cinema when he was just 17 years old. He turned an actor through the Telugu film ‘Dharmapatni’ in 1941. Due to his theatrical knowledge, he even played mythological characters such as Lord Rama in ‘Seeta Rama Jananam’, Abhimanyu in ‘Maya Bazaar', Lord Vishnu in ‘Chenchu Lakshmi’, Narada in ‘Bhookailash’ and Arjuna in ‘
Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddham’. Later on, he switched to family dramas. He was the tragic and romantic hero of the silver screen. Every film that he had acted was a landmark in Telugu cinema such as Prem Nagar, Devadasu, Meghasandesham. Premabhishekam, Anarkali or even Laila Majnu.
As a versatile actor, he was good in comedy too. His screen persona smiled with his sheer attitude and dedication that he showed in acting, and he was always grateful to the audiences. He ushered a new romantic hero- who could play urban, rural role with sophisticated and charming personality. That is why he dominated for over five decades in Telugu cinema. He enjoyed uninterrupted success for many decades. ‘
Manam’ was ANR’s last film that brought his son Nagarjuna, and grandsons,
Naga Chaitanya and Akhil in the movie. He was born on 20 September 1924 in Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh. His passing away on 22 January 2014 created a void in the world of Indian cinema.