MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA FEBRUARY 02 , 2014 04.45 P.M.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao
20 September 1923 – 22 January 2014
A. Nageswara Rao , a.k.a. ANR Garu died on January 22 in Hyderabad at the age of 91 . I was saddened and distraught after hearing the news. It opened floodgates and brought many memories of ANR Garu to my mind. In 1990, when I was training his grandsons; Nag Chaitanya and Sushanth Anumolu, I came to know many intimate stories about him , became privy to many chapters of his life and thus became an ardent fan and a lifelong admirer.
Later on I also met his son Nagarjuna, the super-star of Telugu film. He presented me a DVD of ” Devadasu ” [ 1953 ] , the Telugu film version of Sharat Chandra’s immortal classic ” Devdas “. I watched the film. The admiration for ANR Garu got fortified.
I first came to know about ANR Garu during my Allahabad days. I read a comment made by none other than Dilip Kumar. I watched Bimal Roy’s ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] and was mesmerized by Dilip Kumar’s performance . Dilip Kumar played Devdas and became immortal as the tragedy king of Hindi cinema. When a journalist asked him about his brilliant portrayal of Devdas, he said, ” there is only one Devadasu, and that is Nageswara Rao.” I was mesmerized by Dilip Kumar’s performance and here he is saying that there is only one Devdas and that is A. Nageswara Rao . I was puzzled.
I started searching about ANR Garu but in those pre – google days it was not very easy. With great difficulty I gathered some knowledge. I came to know that he played Devdas in Telugu film ” Devadasu ” [ 1953 ]. It was two years before Dilip Kumar’s ” Devdas ” [ 1955 ] .
ANR Garu, along with NTR Garu [ Nandamuri Tarak Rama Rao ] , dominated the Telugu cinema and Telugu film scene like a colossus. From paddy fields, he strode into the field of fine arts through theatre. He became a famous stage artiste, specialising, in playing female characters, because women at that time were prohibited from acting.
A. Nageswara Rao Garu was discovered, by chance, by the prominent film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, at the Vijayawada railway station. He was then cast in the film Dharmapatni. Since then, he starred in several films of various genres during his 75-year acting career.
Rao won three Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Awards during his acting career. He was honoured with the Padma Vibhushan, for his contribution to Indian cinema, and is a recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
Incidentally ” Manam “ , his last film has his grandson Nag Chaitanya playing a stellar role along with his grandfather and his father Nagarjuna .
On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , I offer my condolences to all the family members and admirers of Padma Vibhushan A. Nageswara Rao.
VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Theatre would also like to join in mourning.
May his soul Rest In Peace!
[ I have quoted some portions of this blog from Wikipedia. I express my debt. ]
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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