Dasari Narayana Rao (May 4, 1942-May 30, 2017) served Telugu cinema for over 45 years as a filmmaker, lyricist, producer and an actor. He was in the Limca Book of Records for directing 151 films, and had a reputation for weaving social and political undertones into his films. Here are three of his memorable works.
Tata Manavadu (1972)
The filmmaker’s calibre was apparent in his very first film. Anand (Kaikala Satyanarayana), the son of a poor labourer (SV Ranga Rao), aspires to be a doctor. Once he becomes successful, he abandons his pregnant fiancee (Chandrakala) for a wealthier woman. His illegitimate daughter teaches her father a lesson. The film won Rao a Nandi Award, the highest honour for excellence in Telugu cinema.
The romantic drama stars Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Sridevi as star-crossed lovers. Rajesh and Devi fall in love, and wedding preparations are on in full swing. Just then, Rajesh discovers that he has terminal cancer and pulls away from Devi, forcing her to marry his friend instead. The film also stars Jayasudha and Murali Mohan. It was remade in Tamil as Vazhvey Maayam (1982), starring Kamal Hassan, and in Hindi as Prem Tapasya (1983), starring Jeetendra.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao plays a poet whose marriage to a simple-minded rural woman (Jayasudha) is tested when he falls for a dancer (Jayaprada). The film won four National Film Awards (feature film, music direction, playback singing) and marked the 200th release of Akkineni Nageswara Rao.