Siva Rama Krishna Ghattamaneni
31 May 1944
|Other names||Nata Shekharudu, Superstar Krishna|
|Occupation||Actor, producer, director, politician|
|Children||5 (including Mahesh Babu)|
Krishna (born Siva Rama Krishna Ghattamaneni) is an Indian film actor, director and producer known for his works exclusively in Telugu Cinema. In a film career spanning five decades, Krishna starred in more than 350 films in a variety of roles. In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from Andhra University. In 2009, the Government of India honoured him with the Padma Bhushan for his contributions to Indian Cinema. He was elected as a Member of Parliament for the Congress party in 1989. In 1997, he received the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South.
In the early years of his film career, he starred in films such as Saakshi, which won critical acclaim at the Tashkent film festival in 1968. In 1972, he starred in Pandanti Kapuram, which garnered the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu for that year. He has essayed roles across different genres including mythological, drama, social, cowboy, western classic, folklore, action and historical.
He is credited for producing many technological firsts in the Telugu film Industry such as the first Eastmancolor film – Eenadu (1982), the first cinemascope film – Alluri Seetharama Raju (1974), the first 70mm film – Simhasanam (1986), the first DTS film – Telugu Veera Levara (1995) and introducing cowboy genre to the Telugu screen. He starred in the Telugu spy film sequels Gudachari 116 (1966), James Bond 777 (1971), Agent Gopi (1978), Rahasya Gudachari (1981) and Gudachari 117 (1989). Krishna directed Shankharavam (1987), Mugguru Kodukulu (1988), Koduku Diddina Kapuram (1989), Bala Chandrudu (1990) and Anna Thammudu (1990), casting his son Mahesh Babu in pivotal roles. Krishna directed 17 feature films and he produced various films under Padmalaya Film Studio, a production house owned by him.
Krishna collaborated with several directors of the time such as Adurthi Subba Rao, V. Madhusudhana Rao, K. Viswanath, Bapu, Dasari Narayana Rao and K. Raghavendra Rao. He also has the record of pairing up with same actress for more than 48 films with Vijayanirmala and 47 films with Jayaprada. In December 2012, at the age of 69, Krishna announced his retirement from politics. He has acted in dual roles in 25 movies and triple roles in 7 movies.
He has produced many films under his Padmalaya Studios along with his brothers Hanumantha Rao and Adiseshagiri Rao and has also directed 15 films.
Early work: 1962–1965
His career began with minor roles in films such as Padandi Mundhuku, Kulagothralu and Paruvu Prathishta. He was then cast in Tene Manasulu as one of the male leads. Despite commercial pressure being placed on Adurthi Subba Rao, the film director, to drop Krishna, the film was released as originally planned. It was a success and Adurthi repeated the cast for his next film Kanne manasulu.
Breakthrough: 1966 to 1975
Krishna was also selected to play the lead role in Sunderlal Nehta and Doondee's hit movieGudachaari 116, which brought the detective genre of films to the forefront in Tollywood (Telugu cinema). Though action films were his standard, Krishna also acted in films such as Marapurani Katha, Atthagaaru Kotthakodalu and Undamma Bottu Pedathaa. He also worked with more established actors, such as N. T. Rama Rao and Akkineni Nageswara Rao, in films such as Sthree Janma, Niluvu Dopidi, Vichithra Kutumbam, Akka Chellellu and Manchi Kutumbam during this period.
At this time, Krishna established his own production house, Padmalaya Films and produced several high budget films such as Mosagallaku Mosagadu, Pandanti Kapuram, Devudu Chesina Manushulu, Alluri Seetharama Raju and Agnipariksha. With his friend Vijaya Nirmala, Krishna also set up another production house called Vijaya Krishna movies, and produced some critically acclaimed films, including Meena and Devadasu. Mosagallaki Mosagadu, which Brought the Cowboy genre of films in 1971 and Alluri Seetharamaraju, which released in 1974 were sensational in many ways. In 1975, Except for Cheekati Velugulu, none of his films of this time made any impact at the box office as people were reluctant to watch him in softer roles after his portrayal of Alluri Seethaa Rama Raju in the eponymous film. He suffered 14 consecutive flops (Devadasu also one of them) after the release of Alluri Seetarama Raju.
Continued success: 1976–1989
Krishna bounced back with his lavishly made home production Paadi Pantalu in 1976. The film, which dealt with several contemporary agrarian issues, was a runaway hit at the box office. His performance in Raja Rajeswari Vilas Coffee Club - his second film under the Vijaya banner - was also successful. A third film produced by Krishna in that year was the moderately successful Rama Rajyamloo Raktha Paasam.
Aside from his production work and his acting in those self-produced films, he also acted in Kolleti Kapuram, Bhalee Dongalu and Devudee Gelichaadu during 1976. While Kolleti Kapuram was critically acclaimed for its thought-provoking dialogues and for capturing the serenity of Kolleru Lake in West Godavari district, Bhalee Dongalu - a re-make of the Hindi film Chor Machaayee Shoor - hit the bull's eye. Devudee Gelichaadu did not.
It was in 1976 that Krishna also announced that he was to produce Kurukshethram. This surprised N. T. Rama Rao, who also wanted to make a movie called Daana Veera Soora Karna, based on the epic. The relationship between the two legend actors was strained further when Krishna expressed his inability to drop his project and both started producing their films at a frenetic pace. Both the films were successful. Krishna's good run at the box office continued with Saavaasagallu and the actor further penetrated into the urban mass segment with the super-hit film Dongalaku Donga. Between the years 1978 and 1986, Krishna acted in several hit films such as Anna Dammula Sawaal, Kumara Raja, Agent Gopi and other commercially successful films such as Indradanassu and Allari Bulloodu. Six of his films fared very well in 1979, While Viyyalavaari Kayyaalu, Mandeegundelu, Hema-Heemeelu, Kottha Alludu and Burripalem Bulloodu were other commercially successful films in Krishna's repertoire. Krishna and Sridevi became a hit-pair in 1980 and the two acted together in Gharana Donga, Maama Allulla Sawaal, Chuttaalunnaaru Jagrattha and Ram Robert Rahim.
Krishna also scored big against all his competitors when his Ooriki Monagaadu became the biggest hit among all films released during Sankranthi in 1981. 1982 was another eventful year in his life and he started it with the super-hit film Bangaaru Bhoomi, which was an improvisation of his Paadipantalu. Towards the end of the year, Krishna became the fastest to complete 200 films in a lead role. He also became a studio owner and produced Eeenaadu as its maiden venture. A string of successful films such as Mundhadugu, Kiraayi Kotigaadu, Adavi Simhaalu, Sakthi and Prajaarajyam catapulted him to the top position in 1983. Krishna's reign at the box office continued in 1984 with films such as Iddharu Dongalu, Bangaaru Kaapuram, Mukyamanthri and the lavishly made Kanchukaagada. Krishna's career was at its pinnacle in 1985. He acted in swashbuckling hits such as Agniparvatham, Palnati Simham and Vajrayudham in that year. Krishna's fantastic portrayal of the larger than life characters created by the writer duo Paruchuri Brothers helped these films have spectacular runs at the box office. He also acted in other hit films such as Suryachandra, Pacchani Kapuram and Mahasangramam, with his peer Sobhan Babu. Krishna started 1986 on a low key as audiences turned down both his early releases Krishnagaaradi and Brahmasthram. He then produced his debut directorial ventures Simhaasanam and Shankharavam.
Khaidhi Rudrayya was another smash-hit musical in his career and the film created several records at the box office. The Superstar continued his slug fest according to his political beliefs by satirising some of the policies of the Telugu Desam Party in his home production Naa Pilupee Prabhanjanam. Disgruntled supporters and leaders of this regional Party protested against the screening of this film in several places. But their ruckuses generated more publicity for it and helped the film succeed. Though Krishna starred in the record-breaking Muddayi, and in other hits such as Dongodocchaadu and Thandri Kodukula Challenge. His elder son Ramesh Babu debuted as a full-fledged actor with Samraat. 1988 was another mediocre year in his professional life because only four (Kaliyuga Karnudu, Aswaddhama, Rowdy No 1 and Mugguru Kodukulu) of his ten releases had average runs. The next year, however, he has acted in successful films such as Koduku Diddina Kapuram, Saahasamee Naa Oopiri, Gudachari 117 and Goondaarajyam.
Later work: 1990–present
1990 started with average fares; Nagaasthram and Anna Thammudu. Krishna took his longest break from work after Raktha Tharpanam, his last directorial venture in Telugu, tanked at the marquee. Ramesh's failure to capitalize on his blockbuster Bazaar Rowdy would have presumably upset him further during those unsettling times. In 1993, he came back strongly with the unexpected super-success of Pacchani Samsaaram. But it was Varasudu, his second release in the year, which made him the cynosure of the film fraternity again. With the films Number 1 and Amma Dongaa! (1995) he had other thumping successes. Krishna also directed the Bollywood film Ishq Hai Tumse produced by Padmalaya Tele films, starring Dino Morea and Bipasa Basu in lead roles, which is the remake of the Telugu film Sampangi in the year 2004.
- Civilian Honors
- Padma Bhushan - 2009
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