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A tough act to follow

A tough act to follow
Highlights

The Indian film industry, Telugu film industry in particular, lost another giant who strode its affairs for five decades. Daggubati Ramanaidu passed away just a year after Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Ever since the Telugu film industry moved to Hyderabad, Ramanaidu played a pivotal role in defining its fortunes.

Ramanaidu was a rare individual in the industry who put all his eggs in the industry basket. He desired no other occupation and he pursued none other. This focus on the film industry greatly benefited the industry in many ways

The Indian film industry, Telugu film industry in particular, lost another giant who strode its affairs for five decades. Daggubati Ramanaidu passed away just a year after Akkineni Nageswara Rao. Ever since the Telugu film industry moved to Hyderabad, Ramanaidu played a pivotal role in defining its fortunes. Spurred by the success of many of his films, he made more than 130 films under the banner of Suresh Productions.

He created comprehensive facilities for filmmaking in Hyderabad that played an important role in the growth of the industry. Though he was operating out of Hyderabad, his vision extended far beyond Telugu-language film. He made films in all the South Indian languages, and other Indian languages like Hindi, Bengali, and Oriya. When the big-film business was teetering, he forayed into producing and supporting smaller films, encouraging a lot of new actors, directors, and technicians in the process.

Ramanaidu was a rare individual in the industry who put all his eggs in the industry basket. He desired no other occupation and he pursued none other. This focus on the film industry greatly benefited the industry in many ways. First, the filmmaking infrastructure he built in Hyderabad and Visakhapatnam, second the training facilities and the distribution arm that modernised the viewing experience for the filmgoers, all helped transform the industry.

While some of these efforts have led to contradictions between small producers and the big-film houses, the group’s contribution to modernisation cannot be denied. As the elder in the industry, he was looked up to as a role model, and he inspired many. Those who have worked on his projects remember him as a humble and warm person who never hesitated to encourage technicians and actors.

With a hands-on knowledge of the film business, he was a repository of decades of experience in the industry. His all-round contribution to the industry was richly recognised by the state and central governments. He was bestowed the Raghupathi Venkayya award by the Andhra Pradesh government. He was the recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke award.

Ramanaidu worked with some of the biggest and most popular names in the industry like N T Rama Rao, A Nageswara Rao, Sivaji Ganesan, Pandari Bai, Jamuna, Padmini, Sobhan Babu, Kamal Haasan, Jayaprada, Chiranjeevi, Rajinikanth, Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini, Rekha, Jeetendra and Sridevi. He represented the post-Independence era in film industry, which marked the transition from nationalist film to the more commercial variety of films.

Apart from his achievements in the film industry, Ramanaidu forayed into politics. He was a Telugu Desam Party Member of Parliament from Bapatla. He also launched a charitable trust for welfare activities. Ramanaidu belongs to the age of filmmakers who were single-mindedly dedicated to the industry, immersing themselves in all its fortunes and misfortunes and giving the industry a direction. Today, filmmaking is seen at best as a part-time glamour enterprise with the investors not passionately invested in the industry and its future. Ramanaidu’s passion, vision, and enterprise are tough acts to follow and succeed in.

By:Prof K Nageshwar

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