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'Nata Samrat' Dr Akkineni turns 84

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By: Priyaranjan Trivedy
Monday, September 24, 2007

Dr Akkineni, whom the Telugu populace fondly remembers as the Nata Samrat, has turned 84 today. He is a veteran of about 254 Telugu movies, and redefined the words 'acting' and 'performance' through his impeccable performance in films. Having been born in a poor farmer's family, he is a school dropout, though the Telugu masses absolutely revere his encyclopaedic knowledge about acting. He started his acting journey in 1944, which has continued till Sriramadasu released in 2007.

Akkineni is most memorable performace has been his beautiful portrayal of the character Devdas in the movie by the same name. Other thespians who played this iconic character in various languages, candidly admit that their performance was nowhere close to that of Dr Akkineni's.

Dr Akkineni's reel and real life has been a paradox: although he performed as an ardent devotee in movies like Vipranarayana, Bhakta Jayadeva, and Bhakta Tukaram, in real life he remained an atheist whose motto was that duty is god and work is worship. He was known as the tragedy king, who could move the audience to tears with his acting, and generally played a maudlin character addicted to wine and cigarettes; but in real life, he was a virtuous person who always remained an absolute teetotaller.

Through his towering performances, he made the audiences forget that he was actually a short-statured person, being shorter than most of the contemporary heroes and even some heroines. He performed both as a rustic as well as a cerebral character with aplomb: he played the innocent shepherd in Mahakavi Kalidasu and as a litterateur in Kalika Mata, which is quite an extraordinary feat. His comedy timing in 'Missamma' while learning music lessons from Savitri is also quite memorable. Many of his films including 'Tenali Ramakrishna, Ardhangi, Baatasari, Sudigundalu, Maro Prapancham, Navaratrulu, Dasara Bullodu, Prema Nagar, Premabhishekam, Mugamanasulu' remained as classics.

Nowadays he is actively involved in social work, having started a college for poor students in Gudivada.

This great artist is celebrating his birthday today, i.e. 20th of September. We at oneindia.in salute the 'Nata Samrat', and wish him an even longer life!

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