Akkineni Nageswara Rao (20th September, 1924 - 22nd January, 2014) was a prominent Indian film actor and producer, predominantly in the Telugu cinema. From paddy fields, he strode into the field of fine arts through theatre.
He became a famous stage artiste, specialising, surprisingly, in playing female characters, because women at that time were prohibited from acting. Some of the famous plays he acted in were Harishchandra, Kanakatara, Vipranarayana, Telugu Talli, Aasajyoti and Satyanveshanam.
Subsequently, he was discovered, by chance, by the then prominent film producer, Ghantasala Balaramaiah, at the Vijayawada railway station. He was then cast in the film Dharmapatni. Since then, Nageswara Rao has starred in several films of various genres during his unparalleled 75-year acting career. He won 3 Filmfare Best Telugu Actor Awards in his acting career.
He was honored with the Padma Vibhushan, India's second highest civilian award, for his contribution to Indian cinema, and is the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the highest individual lifetime achievement award for films in India. Akkineni Nageswara Rao passed away, aged 90, on 22nd January 2014 in Hyderabad due to cancer.
He was fondly called 'Natasamrat' by his fans.
Nageswara Rao was awarded the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1990 for his lifetime contributions to Indian cinema. He was also a recipient of the Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
Click Here For List of Awards and honours
He is the first person to cause the shift of Telugu film industry to Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh from Chennai, Tamilnadu in an attempt to bring the native language to the heart of the Telugu community. Soon after moving to Hyderabad, Nageswara Rao founded his own production house, Annapoorna Studios (named after his wife Akkineni Annapoorna), located in Banjara Hills.
Akkineni's Premabhishekam (directed by Dasari Narayana Rao) is one of the biggest hits in Tollywood. Premabhishekam had an amazing 533 days run in Hyderabad City which is still highest run in a city for telugu movies. Premabhishekam is the only Telugu film that ran for 365+ days continuously.
On Oct 19, 2013 he held a press meet and announced that he was diagnosed with cancer. He expressed his positive outlook over the disease and said he will fight till the end.
Akkineni Nageswara Rao passed away in his sleep at Care Hospital in Hyderabad early on January 22nd 2014 at around 2 am. He was 91, and was under going cancer treatment.