Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Akkineni Nageswara Rao

Rao during his young days
Born Akkineni Nageswara Rao
(1923-09-20)20 September 1923
Venkata Raghava Puram, Madras Presidency, British India
(now Ramapuram, Andhra Pradesh, India)
Died 22 January 2014(2014-01-22) (aged 90)
Hyderabad, Telangana, India
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Annapurna Akkineni (1949–2011)
Children Venkat Akkineni
Nagarjuna Akkineni
Sathyavathi Akkineni
Naga Susheela Akkineni
Saroja Akkineni
Relatives See Daggubati-Akkineni Family
Awards Padma Vibhushan (2011)
Padma Bhushan (1988)

Akkineni Nageswara Rao (20 September 1924 – 22 January 2014), widely known as ANR, was an Indian film actor and producer, known for his works predominantly in Telugu cinema. He starred in a variety of roles in his seventy five-year career as a matinee idol, while becoming one of the most prominent figures in the history of Telugu cinema.[1] He was one of the instrumental figures in moving the Telugu cinema industry from Madras to Hyderabad in the early 1960s alongside D. V. S. Raju.[2] He founded Annapurna Studios in the year 1975 to provide infrastructural support to the new film industry in Hyderabad. He later started the Annapurna International School of Film and Media within Annapurna Studios in 2011.[3]

Nageswara Rao is known for his path-breaking works in biographical films; Rao essayed Tamil saint Thondaradippodi Alvar in the 1954 film Vipra Narayana; as Tenali Rama in the 1956 film Tenali Ramakrishna which received the All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film; as Kalidas (the Sanskrit poet of Ujjain) in the 1960 film Mahakavi Kalidasu; as 12th Century Sanskrit poet Jayadeva of Odisha in the 1961 film Bhakta Jayadeva; as Kannada sculptor Amarashilpi Jakanachari in the 1964 film Amara Shilpi Jakkanna; as Marathi saint Tukaram in the 1971 film Bhakta Tukaram; as Kabir in the 2006 film Sri Ramadasu; and as Valmiki in the 2009 film Sri Rama Rajyam. Similarly, Rao essayed mythological figures such as Abhimanyu in Mayabazar which was screened at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and the Indonesian Film Festival; as Lord Vishnu in Chenchu Lakshmi; as Narada in Bhookailas; and as Arjuna in Sri Krishnarjuna Yuddhamu.

Rao is best remembered for his performances in romantic tales such as Laila Majnu (1949), Devadasu (1953), Anarkali (1955), Batasari (1961), Mooga Manasulu (1964), Prem Nagar (1971), Premabhishekam (1981), and Meghasandesham (1982) which was featured at the 9th International Film Festival of India, the 1983 Cannes Film Festival and the Moscow film festival.[4][5] During this time, Rao has appeared in super-hits such as Ardhangi (1955), Bhale Ramudu (1956), Mangalya Balam (1958), Gundamma Katha (1962), Doctor Chakravarty (1964), Dharma Daata (1970), and Dussehra Bullodu (1971).[6]

Rao received seven state Nandi Awards, and four Filmfare Awards South. He is a recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest honorary award for achievement in Indian cinema. He was also honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, for his contribution towards Indian cinema.[7][8][9][10]


In 1941, at the age of 17, Nageswara Rao made his debut in the Telugu film, Dharmapatni, in which he played the role of the protagonist's friend.[11] Subsequently, ANR was noticed by chance at the Vijayawada railway station by film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, who cast him as Lord Rama in his movie Seeta Rama Jananam.[11] Before that, ANR predominantly acted in theatre, many times donning female roles since women weren't allowed on stage at that time.[11][12] From those humble beginnings, he went on to star in over 255 films, spanning Telugu, Tamil and Hindi languages.[13] A majority of his films were both commercial and critical successes.[14][7][8][9][10]


On 19 October 2013 Rao announced that he was diagnosed with colon cancer.[15] He continued shooting for his final film Manam, two weeks after a major laproscopic surgery, surprising many.[16] He had often said that he wished to act till his death, and Manam proved that. His last public appearance was befittingly at the foundation day celebrations of Annapurna Studios on 14 January 2014. Akkineni died a week later, on 22 January 2014.[17] He was cremated on 23 January 2014, at Annapurna Studios with full state honours amid a 21-gun salute. Thousands were present to pay their last respects.[18][19][19]

Literary works

Apart from being a movie star, ANR was a prolific writer. Most of his books were autobiographical works, the most famous of which are Nenu Na Jeevitham, the memoirs of his first visit to the USA, Nenu Choosina America, and a poetic rendition of his personal thoughts, A Aalu.


ANR was very active in social service. Pointing toward the sky, he once famously said, "If there's a presence there, I'm sure he'll want us to perform our earthly duties well and be a good human being rather than blindly worship him".[20]

He set up the Akkineni Janmabhoomi trust in order to foster development in his home town, Ramapuram. He strove hard to realise it under the Janmabhoomi programme during the TDP regime. He was instrumental in the construction of the Akkineni Varadhi (Akkineni bridge, named after him), which improved his village's economy by facilitating easy connectivity. In Ramapuram, even safe drinking water was something which was unheard of until Akkineni contributed to the construction of a water filteration plant.[21]

He instituted the Akkineni International Foundation in 2005 to honour those who contributed to the Film Industry.[22] The Annapurna International School of Film and Media, founded by his family in 2011, was set up as a non-profit entity. Rao was generous towards educational institutions since the beginning of his career. Even though he didn't have the opportunity to go to school, he understood the importance of education. He created scholarships in various state universities such as GITAM University(Vizag).[23] He was the Chief Donor and President of the College at Gudivada, which was subsequently named after him as Akkineni Nageswara Rao College.[24] Apart from being a Life Member of the Senate of Andhra University, he was also Adviser to its Department of Dramatics and Theatre Arts. He instituted Gold Medals for students who excelled in Acting and Direction.[25] In 2012, he instituted the Akkineni Annapurna Educational Trust in memory of his wife Annapurna.[26]


Awards and honours

Civilian honors
National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards South
Nandi Awards
Nandi Award for Best Actor
Other state honours


  1. Shankar Dayal Sharma (1997). President Dr. Shanker Dayal Sharma: January 1995-July 1997. Publication Divisions, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, AGovernment of India,. p. 74.
  2. Sengupta, Pallavi. "Telugu filmstar Akkineni Nageswara Rao no more – News Oneindia". News.oneindia.in. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  3. "About Us". Annapurna Studios. 13 August 1975. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  4. http://iffi.nic.in/Dff2011/Frm9IIFAAward.aspx?PdfName=9IIFA.pdf
  5. Ranjana Dave (2011-06-30). "The meaning in movement". The Asian Age. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
  6. "ANR - Telugu cinema stars". Idlebrain.com. Retrieved 2012-09-04.
  7. 1 2 "Akkineni Nageswara Rao lived and breathed cinema". Rediff.com. 22 January 2014. Retrieved 23 Jan 2014.
  8. 1 2 "Nagarjuna about God". MyFirstShow.com. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  9. 1 2 "ANR, Actor Par Excellence, Student and Humanist". Indian Express. 2014-01-23. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  10. 1 2 "Romance Is All". Outlook India. 2013-10-14. Retrieved 2014-01-23.
  11. 1 2 3 Video on YouTube
  12. Raja-Harishchandra – Trailer – Cast – Showtimes – NYTimes.com
  13. "Legendary telugu actor ANR passes away at 91". Eenadu. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  14. Interview with A. Nageswara Rao – Celebrity Inews, Tollywood Interviews, Telugu Movie Reviews, Telugu Actress Photo Galleries, Movie Galleries, Tollywood Gossip
  15. "ANR Struck by Cancer of intestine". thehindu.com.
  16. "ANR dubbed for his film from his death bed". Times of India.
  17. "Evergreen actor ANR has cancer". Times of India.
  18. "Thousands bid tearful farewell to Akkineni Nageswara Rao". thehindu.com.
  19. 1 2 "Film personalities pay last respects to ANR". Hindustan times.
  20. "ANR Always". theHindu.com. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  21. "Akkineni Varadhi". thehindu.com.
  22. "Entertainment Hyderabad : Such a long journey". The Hindu. 20 January 2006. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  23. "2013 Merit Fellowships, GITAM University". Education in India. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  24. "ANR College History". ANR College. Archived from the original on 25 January 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  25. "Andhra University - Department of Theatre Arts". Andhra University. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  26. "ANR @ Akkineni Annapurna Education Trust Press Meet". Bharath Movies. Retrieved 26 February 2014.
  27. 1 2 3 4 "Akkineni Nageswara Rao passes away". The Hindu. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  28. "Legendary Telugu Actor Nageswara Rao Passes Away". New Indian Express. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  29. "Telugu legend Akkineni Nageswara Rao dies aged 91". ibnlive.in.
  30. "Legendary Telugu Actor Nageswara Rao Passes Away". One India Entertainment.
  31. K Rajnikanth. "Doyen of Telugu cinema ANR dies at 91". Business Standard. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  32. Collections. Update Video Publication. 1991. p. 395.
  33. The Times of India Directory and Year Book Including Who's who. Bennett, Coleman. 1980. p. 308.
  34. http://www.filmfare.com/features/lifetime-achievement-award-south-winners-down-the-years-6684.html
  35. Sainik Samachar: The Pictorial Weekly of the Armed Forces, Volume 40. Government of India. p. 30.
  36. "Nandi Awards - 1964 - Winners & Nominees".
  37. "Nandi Awards - 1965 - Winners & Nominees".
  38. "Nandi Awards - 1967 - Winners & Nominees".
  39. "Akkineni Nageswara Rao Passed Away". AEG India. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  40. Who's who. Rajya Sabha Secretariat, Indian Parliament. 2000. p. 496.
  41. 1 2 ANR – Telugu cinema stars

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