Born to an agricultural couple Daggubati Venkateshwarlu and Lakshmi Devamma on June 6, 1936 in a remote village in Karamchedu in Andhra Pradesh, Ramanaidu’s schooling happened in his village. He completed higher education in Chirala and Chennai (He is a graduate from Presidency College).
His tryst with cinema began when he convinced his father to permit him to invest in Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Savitri-starrer, ‘Nammina Bantu’. It was being produced by his relatives. He had acted as ANR’s dupe in the film too. Impressed by his hospitality and passion for films, it was ANR who advised him to go to Chennai and work closely with filmmakers.
Ramanaidu finally made a move to Chennai in the 1960s but he didn’t immediately venture into cinema. Instead he started off with bricks business which didn’t go well. It was later during one of his visits to Andhra Club in Chennai (then Madras) that he met a few filmmakers and decided to co-produce a film.
Though he wasn’t given credit for the film, ‘Anuragam’, he managed to gain an understanding of how every department functioned. Despite good content the film bombed at box-office but Ramanaidu didn’t give up. He teamed up with director Tapi Chanakya and writer DV Narasa Raju to make a new film. He approached several actors with the script Narasa Raju had written. However, it was Nandamuri Taraka Ramarao who came to his rescue in the end as he agreed to be a part of ‘Ramudu Bheemudu’ which went on to mint big money.
Later in 1970 Ramanaidu suffered heavy losses as ‘Drohi’, starring Jaggaiah and Vanisree, bombed at box-office. Interestingly, the reason for the failure was attributed to the successful run of VB Rajendra Prasad’s ‘Dasara Bullodu’. Not the one to be deterred by failures, he made up his mind and decided to produce a film bigger than ‘Dasara Bullodu’. He invested a huge amount – a lot more than his previous venture – in ‘Prem Nagar’ with ANR and Vanisree in lead roles. The 1971 romantic drama was an important one for Ramanaidu as he had decided to quit the industry for good if the film didn’t work. It started raining heavily on the film’s release day, and the producer feared that the film would meet the same fate as ‘Anuragam’. But as luck would have it, by the end of the day, reports started pouring in that the film was a hit. And then, there was no looking back for him.
He went on to produce films in Tamil too. And soon after, the ace producer ventured into Kannada, Hindi, Bengali, and Oriya film industries. Also, Ramanaidu is one of the few Telugu film producers who made inroads in Hindi cinema back in the 80s and 90s. He is the country’s only producer to have made films in all the languages.
21 directors and several artistes including the likes of Venkatesh, Allari Naresh, Tabu, Khushboo and Vanisree were introduced by him. Among the films produced by him in the 80s and 90s, several of them were family dramas. His comedy drama, ‘Aha Naa Pellanta’, is considered to be one of the finest comic capers ever made in Tollywood.
The biggest hit for him in the 90s for him was Venkatesh and Divya Bharati-starrer ‘Bobbili Raja’. The late 90s saw his production house producing path-breaking films like ‘Dharma Chakram’, ‘Preminchukundham Raa’ and ‘Ganesh’. ‘Jayam Manadhe Raa’ and ‘Kalisundam Raa’ released early 21st century have also done fantastic business.
His last film as a producer was ‘Nenem… Chinna Pillana?’ Having achieved so much in the field of filmmaking, his long cherished dream was to helm a film which he couldn’t fulfill.