Akkineni Nageswara Rao better known as ANR passed away battling with intestinal cancer at the age of 91 on Thursday. ANR was born in Venkata Ragavapuram in Krishna district in September 20, 1923. He has three daughters and two sons, including the film actor Nagarjuna.
ANR started his career as a female actor, because women at the time prohibited from acting. His first debut film was “Dharmapatni” in which he played a supporting role to the protagonist. In 1944 under the direction of Ghandasala Balaramaiah he acted in “Seetharama Jananam” as a protagonist.
ANR had undergone open heart surgery in two times; 1974 and 1988. He did not allow this to affect his career during which he acted in several hits the telugu industry ever made such as Meghasandesam, Bangaru Kutumbam, Seetharamaiah Gari Manavaralu to name a few of them.
ANR played a major role in shifting of Telugu film industry from Madras to Hyderabad in mid 1950’s. He received several awards including Raghupathi Venkaiah Award in 1989, the Dadasaheb Phalke 1991 Award, and the NTR National Award. The Government of India recognized his service to the film industry and honoured him with the prestigious Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan awards.
Besides his acting career, ANR has contributed to the film industry in several other ways. ANR established the first Telugu film studio in Andhra Pradesh known as Annapurna Studio which had 22 acres for shoots. In 2005 he created Akkineni national award giving annually for the contribution and achievements to the film Indian film industry. In 2011, he also opened the Annapurna International School of Film and Media in Hyderabad.
He acted in his last film Manam (expected to release soon) that has proudly featured the three generations of the Akkineni family. In his last words asking about cancer, he said, “I am not shocked or scared at the cancer diagnosis now. I have a strong will and I have the best wishes of the people”.