Wednesday, November 26, 2014


R.Nagendra Rao, a pioneer of Kannada Cinema was also one of the most influential personalities of South Indian Films.He was a theatre actor,screenwriter,occasional music composer,film director,film actor and producer.
He worked mainly for Kannada films but also acted in Tamil and Telugu movies.
He was born on 23 June 1896 in the Kingdom of Mysore.In the beginning of his acting career as a thetre artiste he played female characters but soon switched over to male roles.With the advent of talkies he went to Mumbai to sought chance in films.Rajah Sandow gave him roles in his Tamil movies and thus acted in  films  'Parijatha Pushpaharanam' in 1932 and again in another film 'Narada' in the same year.
He acted as the lead character in the Tamil film 'Kovalan' in 1933 and and in lead role of Telugu film 'Ramadasu' in 1933.
Then he returned to Bangalore and started a drama troupe in the name 'Sahitya Samrajya Drama Company'.
He compelled a business friend 'Shah Chamanlal Doongaji' to produce a Kannada talkie film and the First Talkie In Kannada Language 'Sati Sulochana' was released  on March 3, 1934.

It was made based on Ramayana and the protagonist in the film was 'Indrajith', the son of Ravana  whom

 was played by 'Subbaih Naidu'.The role of Ravana was depicted by R.Nagendra Rao.Tripuramba  played female lead role.
The film was directed by a Telugu director ''Yaragudipati Varadarao' who also acted as Lakshmana in the film.Lakshmi Bai acted as Mandodari, Rama's role was acted by Murthy Rao.C.V.Seshachalam played the role of Narada.
In 1935 he acted in a Tamil film 'Naveena Sadarame'.
Rao's play 'Bhukailasa' was thrice made into films.In 1938 and 1940 by Sundar Rao Nadkarni and in 1958 by K.Shankar.
In 1941 he wrote screenplay and produced Kannada  film 'Vasantasena' in which he acted in a supporting role. 
He produced and directed the film 'Sathya Harishchandra' in 1943 and acted in it.This film was his first venture as a director.

In 1949 he acted in a Tamil movie 'Apoorva Sahodarargal' which was remade in Telugu in 1950.
In 1956 he acted in the film 'Chandirani' which was made in Tamil,Telugu and Hindi.
He acted in 1956 in the Telugu film 'Bhakta Markandeya'
In 1951 he started his own production Company .In 1957 the film 'Premada Putri' which was produced under this banner received National Award as best feature film in Kannada.He was the director of the film and acted in supporting role also.The film was made in Telugu also.
In the year 1962 he acted in the Kannada film 'Gaali Gopura' which  was made in Telugu also.
In the year 1968 he received Karnataka State Best Actor Award for his excellent  acting skill  in the Kannada film 'Hannele Chiguridaga'.This film was directed by M.R.Vittal.Lead actor of this film was Raj Kumar.
His last film was in Kannada 'Prof.Huchuraya' in 1974.
He had four Children and three of them entered film field.His son R.N.Krishna Prasad as Cinematographer,R.N.Jayagopal as Screenwriter and Lyricist,youngest son R.N.Sudarshan as actor.
R.Nagendra Rao received 'Padma Shri' from Government of India in the year 1976.
R.Nagendra Rao passed away on 9th February 1977.

Selected Filmography
Parijatha Pushpaharanam
Sati Sulochana
Naveena Sadarame
Mahatma Kabir
Apoorva Sahodarargal
Jataka Phala
Naya Aadmi
Renuka Mahatme
Bhakta Markandeya
Bettada Kalla
Premada Putri
Preme Daivam
Anbe Daivam
Ranadheera Kanteerava
Gaali Gopura
Gaali Medalu
Veera Kesari
Ananda Bashpa
Nanna Kartavya
Nakkare Ade Swarga
Shri Purandaradasaru
Janara Jana
Hennele Chiguridaga
Namma Makkalu
Nadina Bhagya
Srikrishna Devaraya
Karulina Kare
Kalavari Kutumbam
Prema Pasha
Professor Huchuraya

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