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S.V. Ranga Rao Biography


S.V. Ranga Rao Biography

ఎస్.వి. రంగారావు గారి జీవిత చరిత్ర

Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao (3 July 1918 – 18 July 1974), popularly known by his initials SVR, was an Indian actor, director and producer known for his works in Telugu cinema and Tamil cinema. Rao was popularly known as "Viswa Nata Chakravarthi". Throughout his film career, which spanned a total of thirty years, Rao garnered various National Honors, International Honors, State Nandi Awards, and the Filmfare Special Award - South.In 1951, Rao appeared in the fantasy film, Pathala Bhairavi, screened at the first India International Film Festival, held in Mumbai on 24 January 1952. Rao received wide reception for his portrayal of Nepala Manthrikudu the tantric in the super-hit film.

Rao was known for his natural acting style, portraying complex - social, biographical, and mythological characters such as - Ghatotkacha in Maya Bazaar (1957) which is regarded as the "greatest Indian film of all time" by CNN-India Poll, and was screened at the 1957 International Film Festival of India and the Indonesian Film Festival; Mayasura in Bhookailas (1958); Bhoja in Mahakavi Kalidasu (1960) which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu. In 1964, Rao received the Best Actor Award for his portrayal of Kichaka in Nartanasala (1963) at the Third Afro-Asian Film Festival held in Jakarta, becoming the only Indian actor to have ever garnered the honor.In the same year, he received Filmfare Special Award - South for his performance in Naanum Oru Penn. He then essayed Duryodhana in the blockbuster Pandava Vanavasamu (1965); Hiranyakashipu in Bhakta Prahlada (1967), which won the Nandi Award for Second Best Feature Film; and Ravana in Sampoorna Ramayanamu (1971) to name a few. 

Rao has made his foray as a character actor in super-hits such as Mana Desam (1949), Palletoori Pilla (1950), Devadasu (1953), Bangaru Papa (1954), Raju Peda (1954), Thodi Kodallu (1957), Chenchu Lakshmi (1958), Pelli Naati Pramanalu (1958), Nammina Bantu (1959), Gundamma Katha (1962), Sarada (1962), Annai (1962), Karpagam (1963), Naanum Oru Penn (1963), Bobbili Yudham (1964), Bandhavyalu (1968), Lakshmi Nivasam (1968), Prem Nagar (1971), Dasara Bullodu (1971) and Vasantha Maligai (1972). Since he is considered as the golden standard for acting, the Andhra Pradesh Government instituted an award in his memory, presented to the best character acting performance of every year, known as the S.V. Ranga Rao Award for Best Actor.

Early Life

Rao was born in Dowlaiswaram near Rajahmundry in East Godavari District to a Telugu Speaking family. Samarla Lakshmi was his mother and Samarla Koteswara Rao, an excise inspector at Nuzvidu town in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, India, was his father. His mother, Lakshmi Narasayamma, a staunch devotee of Lord Venkateswara, named the boy after him. Rao was sent to the erstwhile Madras Presidency where he completed his schooling at Hindu College. At an early age of 12, he showed interest in stage action, he ventured into acting after completing his bachelor's degree in sciences.


S.V.R. got an invitation from one of his relatives, B.V. Ramanandam, to play the lead actor in his film Varoodhini. He immediately abandoned the job, and left for Salem to join the celluloid world. In fact, it was a great beginning for the young man when the film was released. However, S.V.R. left the Madras Presidency and reached Jamshedpur, where he took up the job as a budget assistant with the Tata Company. However, his love for dramas began to bloom multifold. At this juncture, he married Leelavathi Badeti on 27 December 1947. In the days that followed, S.V.R. was given an opportunity to appear in Palletoori Pilla, produced by B. A. Subba Rao. Rao was offered his first lead antagonist role by Vijaya Pictures.

Personal life and Death

Ranga Rao married Leelavati, daughter of Badeti Venkata Ramaiah and Koteswaramma on 27 December 1947. They have three children: two daughters, Vijaya and Prameela and a son, Koteswara Rao. Rao had a cardiac arrest at Hyderabad in February 1974. He was admitted to Osmania General Hospital, and then discharged. Another attack on 18 July 1974 at Madras proved fatal and the actor died before any medical treatment could be administered.


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