Legends of Tollywood World

Akkineni Nageswara Rao || Bhanumati || Dasari Narayana Rao || Jandhyala || Kamal Hasan || Krishna || Nagarjuna Akkineni || N.T.Rama Rao || Raghupathi Venkaiah Naidu || Savithri || Somayajulu ||

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Dasari Narayana Rao


Date of birth: May 4 


Early Years:  At a tender age of 11 years, Dasari Narayana Rao penned and staged a playlet 'Nenu-Naa School' (I and my school). Five years later, at the age of 16, he wrote 16 plays and 40 one-act plays and was instrumental in staging all of them.


Family: He was born in a family of three brothers and three sisters. His wife Dasari Padma, like the proverbial woman was behind every success of his. He has two sons. Dasari Narayana Rao launched one of his son's, Arun Kumar as a hero.


Working style: A workaholic, he still works for 18 to 20 hours every day.


Believes in :  Dedication, determination, sincerity of purpose and the never-say-die spirit 


Has faith in : Swamy Ayyappa. Dasari, a pious devotee of Swamy Ayyappa, built a dormitory  for the convenience of devotees at Sabari Malai.


No of films directed: Till date  he has directed 144 films in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi. Dasari earned a place of pride in the Guiness Book of World Records as the director of the highest number of films. 

First film as a director: Dasari made his directorial debut with 'Thatha Manavadu'.


Likes: Dasari likes helping people. Dasari, the philanthropist and the good Samaritan, has always been at the forefront to come to the aid of the needy.


Producer, director, distributor, script writer, lyricist and actor. Only one man in the Telugu film industry fits into this multi-faceted personality and only one name comes to mind - that of Dr.Dasari Narayana Rao.  Dr.Dasari landed in Madras (Now Chennai) in 1967 to seek and pursue a career as cinema script writer. In 1973, Dasari made his directorial debut with 'Thatha Manavadu', which ran for 300 days. An interesting feature of the film is that there were no big names in the main cast except S.V.Ranga Rao. Dasari has never looked back after that. It is no exaggeration to say that Dasari reestablished the dominance of the director in the film industry which had come to be dictated by the big heroes.

Dasari produced a number of successful films, which always carried a message to the contemporary society. Tight screenplay and punchy dialogues are his forte. 'Manushulanta Okkate', 'Devadasu Malli Puttadu', 'Premabhishekam', 'Balipeetham' 'Megha Sandesam' and 'Ose Ramulamma' stand out as classic examples of Dasari's exceptional skills in dealing with intricate subjects with incredulous ease. 


It seems that those born in the month of May have a streak of success and Dasari is no exception. The other notable personalities born in May were the legendary N.T.Rama Rao and former Chief Minister Jalagam Vengal Rao. Dasari's life is a story of ups and downs. It is a game of Vaikunthapali, wherein the player climbs up a ladder one moment and falls into the mouth of a poisonous serpent the next. Even in his directorial debut film 'Tata-Manavadu' , Dasari demonstrated a class of his own  projecting the ageing S.V.Ranga Rao and the young Raja Babu in two prominent roles. The film was a phenomenal success at a time when N.T. Rama Rao,

 A.Nageswara Rao, Sobhan Babu and Krishna were the leading lights in the tinsel world. Dasari held several important positions in the film industry. He was President of the South Indian Film Chamber of Commerce. He also led the Directors' Association and Producers' council at the same time. 


Dasari's popularity can be gauged by the fact that he has 18,000 fans associations through out the State. Dasari attained stardom unmatched by the likes of other's. Dasari started celebrating his birth day (May 4) in 1975 amidst his producers, fans and the press. One would be surprised to find numero uno stars like Sri Devi, Jaya Prada and Jaya Sudha receiving guests at the celebrations. That is the respect Dasari commands in the film
industry. The tradition is continuing despite many upheavals in his career. 


At a very moderate estimate, Dasari has introduced over 1,000 persons including artistes, directors and technicians to the silver screen. Mohan Babu, Prabha, Swapna, Narayana Murty and Murali Mohan are some of the more prominent among the artistes he had introduced. 82 percent of Dasari's 144 films were block-busters. He wrote dialogues for an incredible number of 250 films. He produced 53 films and acted in 66 films. 


Some of Dasari's  the outstanding films are Tata Manavadu, Chillara Kottu Chittemma, Bantrothu Bharya, Sivaranjani, Thoorpu Padamara, Peddillu Chinnillu, Ma Bangarakka, Kalyani, Premabhishekam, Devadasu Malli, Puttadu, Balipeetham, Edanthasthula Meda, Swapna, Sardar Paparayadu, Sita Ramulu, Palu- Neellu, Deeparadhana, Bobbili Puli (50th film), Tandrapaparayadu, Brahmanaidu, Viswanatha Nayakudu, Kanchana Sita
Brahma Putrudu, Lankeswarudu, Amma Rajinama, Surigadu, Nannagaru (100th film), Orai Riksha, Osai Ramulamma, Greeku Veerudu, Sammakka Sarakka.


Dasari the top gun

Once NTR happened to see the name of Dasari at the top on the poster of the film 'Manushulantha Okkate' . He promptly called up the designer Geeta Subba Rao and told him in no uncertain terms to redesign the poster in such a way that Dasari's name was shown lower down the poster. An agitated Subba Rao immediately called Dasari and told him about the objection raised by NTR. A furious Dasari told Subba Rao that the latter should not comply with the direction of any big name in the industry be it NTR or ANR on the design of the posters and the film concerned would not be released if his name was prominently displayed on the poster. Subba Rao himself recounted the incident. This episode reaffirms the fact that it was Dasari who had reestablished the dominance of directors.


Most of the young directors of today are Dasari's charges. Pinisetti Ravi Raja, Kodi Rama Krishna, Kommineni Seshagiri Rao, K. Murali Mohan, Suresh Krishna, Relangi Narasimha Rao, Dhavala Satyam, Durga Nageswara Rao, M.S. Kota Reddy, Satyam Naidu are among the more prominent of his disciples.


Dasari the  actor


Dasari shot into lime light as a talented artiste with his unique performance as 'Achari' in 'Swargam Narakam'. The great Sanjeev Kumar, who played the same role in the Hindi remake of the film, was awe struck at the histrionic talent of the celebrity director. Dasari received an award as the best supporting artiste for his role in 'Mama Alludu'


Dasari the son

Dasari is very fond of his mother. There was no literate person either from his mother's side or his father's. Dasari said this was the reason why his mother sent every one of them to the college. "When Akkineni Nageswara Rao was lavishly praising me at the hundred days function of 'Tata Manavadu, tears were rolling down the cheeks of my parents seated in the front row. My father was totally against me acting on the stage during my college days. But I made him proud during his last days by attaining celebrity status. He died a contented man. He had seen me reaching dizzy heights. This gives me immense satisfaction," said Dasari, talking to Andhra Online. 


Dasari the husband


Dasari Padma entered into Dasari's life under dramatic circumstances. Once, he was buying bangles for his sister at a shop in Sultan Bazzar. The shop keeper asked him about the size and type of bangles Dasari wanted to buy. Dasari did not know what to say. He looked around and found a lady selecting bangles. He asked the shopkeeper to give the same type and size of bangles worn by that lady. The lady looked curiously at Dasari who explained her the situation rather apologetically. She helped him in the right selection. The acquaintance that started in a  bangle store, blossomed into love which ultimately culminated in marriage. Padma became the career guide of the upcoming Director. 


Dasari the father


Dr. Dasari, though busy as a Parliament Member, felt compelled to redeem his reputation by producing and directing another film with his son Arun Kumar in the lead role. Dasari, who is credited with launching several stars into the industry, failed to make the debut film of Arun Kumar a successful one. He has taken exceptional care in chiseling the character for Arun in his forthcoming film "Chinna". He also wrote the dialogues after a long gap. He utilised the services of several eminent stage artistes to hone the skills of his son in dialogue delivery and expression. Arun Kumar was also trained to perfection in fights and dances. No one will be surprised if 'Chinna' turns out to be a 'Pedda' (big) hit. 



Dasari the philanthropist


He is an unsung philanthropist. To name a few of his contributions, Dasari collected Rs.4.50 lakhs for the Police Welfare Fund by organising cultural programmes at Kakinada. He donated Rs.1 lakh for the setting up of a women's college at Palakollu and Rs.1 lakh each to Andhra, Osmania, Sri Venkateswara and Kerala Universities. He pooled Rs.16 lakhs for cyclone relief fund in 1983 by organising Dasari Star Nite at Vizag. In 1984, he collected donations amounting to Rs.10 lakhs from the film industry towards cyclone relief fund. Dasari donated Rs.1 lakh in 1985 for drought relief. In 1985, he established Padma Vidyalaya in Chennai to impart free education to the poor students. He gave rupees fifty thousand to the celluloid villain of yester years Rajanala when the latter was facing dire financial crisis. He was kind enough to extend a financial assistance of rupees twenty five thousand to the renowned journalist Mr.G.Krishna and another twenty five thousand to cinema  journalist Nanda Gopal. 


Dasari the publisher


Dasari, who had started his career as a writer, also tried his hand at journalism and burnt his fingers by launching the "Udayam" daily. The news paper sold two and a half lakh copies with just two editions, which was an unheard of phenomenon in the Indian news paper industry. His Udayam weekly and Sivaranjani film weekly were also big hits. But Dasari lost heavily in the venture as he could not devote much time on the news paper because of his busy film schedules. 


Dasari the politician


Dasari was not interested in politics during the formative days of his career. His wife Dasari Padma was however an activist of the Congress party. Dasari however evinced interest in politics after N.T.Rama Rao became the Chief Minister. When differences crept into their relationship, he planned to launch his own regional party but some how the venture was a non-starter. He was however called upon to campaign for the Congress party, which helped him in his bid later for nomination to the Rajya Sabha. Congress President Mrs. Sonia Gandhi chose him ahead of several other serious contenders as he had been "victimised" due to a raid by income tax sleuths "for supporting the Congress" or that was what the party high command was given to understand.

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