S. V. Ranga Rao
Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao
3 July 1918
|Died||18 July 1974 (aged 56)|
|Other names||SVR, Viswa Nata Chakravarthi|
|Occupation||Actor, Producer, Director|
|Awards|| Rashtrapati Award |
S. V. Ranga Rao (born Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao; 3 July 1918 – 18 July 1974), popularly known as SVR, was an Indian film actor, producer, and director known for his works majorly in Telugu and Tamil films. He is regarded as one of the finest actors in the history of Indian cinema. He is known by the epithet "Viswa Nata Chakravarthi" (transl. "Universal Emperor of Acting"). He was the earliest known character actor to have enjoyed a star status in South Indian cinema. In a career spanning nearly three decades, Ranga Rao garnered various national and international honours.
Ranga Rao was a method actor known for his natural acting style, portraying complex — social, biographical, and mythological — characters such as 'Nepala Manthrikudu', a tantric in Pathala Bhairavi (1951), Yama in Sati Savitri (1957), Ghatothkacha in Maya Bazaar (1957), Mayasura in Bhookailas (1958), Bhoja in Mahakavi Kalidasu (1960). In 1964, he 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 honour. He then essayed Duryodhana in the blockbuster Pandava Vanavasam (1965), Hiranyakasipu in Bhakta Prahlada (1967), and Ravana in Sampoorna Ramayanam (1971) to name a few.
He made his foray as a character actor in films 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), Aatma Bandhuvu (1962), Annai (1962), Karpagam (1963), Naanum Oru Penn (1963), Bobbili Yuddham (1964), Bandhavyalu (1968), Prema Nagar (1971), Dasara Bullodu (1971), Pandanti Kapuram (1972), Vasantha Maligai (1972), Tata-Manavadu (1973), and Andaru Dongale (1974).
Government of Andhra Pradesh instituted an award in his memory, presented every year to the best character acting performance, known as the S. V. Ranga Rao Award for Best Character Actor.
Ranga Rao was born in Nuziveedu in erstwhile Krishna District of Andhra Pradesh in 1918 in a Telugu zamindari family.Samarla Lakshmi was his mother and Samarla Koteswara Rao, an excise inspector at Nuzvidu, was his father. His grandfather was working as a doctor in the town. He had relatives scattered in East Godavari district. His grandfather Kotayya Naidu lived in Chengalpattu.
His mother, Lakshmi Narasayamma, a staunch devotee of Lord Venkateswara, named the boy after him. Ranga Rao was sent to Madras where he completed his schooling at Hindu College. He also studied in Eluru and Visakhapatnam.At an early age of 12, he showed interest in stage acting. 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 (1947). He immediately abandoned the job, and left for Salem to join the celluloid world. However, the film didn’t do well at the box office.
S. V. R. left Madras Presidency and reached Jamshedpur, where he took up the job as a budget assistant with the Tata company.However, his love for theatre began to bloom multifold. At this juncture, he married Badeti Leelavathi on 27 December 1947. In the days that followed, S. V. R. was given an opportunity to appear in Palletoori Pilla (1950), produced by B. A. Subba Rao. Shavukaru (1950) earned him recognition as a fine actor.
His role as the antagonist 'Nepala Manthrikudu', a tantric in Pathala Bhairavi (1951) was a turning point in his career.The film became a breakthrough for both Ranga Rao and the lead actor N. T. Rama Rao. Pathala Bhairavi was the only south Indian film screened at the first International Film Festival of India. Ranga Rao also starred in the enduring classics Mayabazar (1957) and Nartanasala (1963), featured in the CNN-IBN's list of "100 greatest Indian films of all time".
In a career spanning nearly three decades, he acted in over 160 films —109 in Telugu and 53 in Tamil. He was one of the earliest stars to feature in commercials and his ad for the popular cigarette brand Berkeley, was extremely popular.
Ranga Rao married Leelavati, daughter of Badeti Venkata Ramayya and Koteswaramma on 27 December 1947. They have three children: two daughters, Vijaya and Prameela and a son, Koteswara Rao.His wife would often go back to her parents as a protest to his erratic film schedules. "Come back only when you want to, I’ll promise you a good future", he told her.
Ranga Rao wanted to launch his son into films and shot a few portions. But the film didn’t take off for unknown reasons.He was a pet-lover, owned two German Shepherds at his residence. Ranga Rao was a poet and also wrote short stories for a few publications and nurtured a love for cricket, painting, hunting.
Ranga 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.
Government of Andhra Pradesh instituted an award in his memory, presented every year to the best character acting performance, known as the S. V. Ranga Rao Award for Best Character Actor.
A bust-size bronze statue of Ranga Rao was unveiled by popular actor Chiranjeevi at Tummalapall Kalakshetram in Vijayawada in 2010.In 2018, N. Chandrababu Naidu, then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh unveiled a 12.5 feet bronze statue of Ranga Rao at Kalaparru on the outskirts of Eluru and announced that the state government was planning to establish a museum on Ranga Rao in Eluru.
Srivathsan Nadadhur of The Hindu wrote of him during his birth centenary in 2018 as follows, "S V Ranga Rao’s diction, towering on-screen persona, impressive quirks to his character-sketches, the ability to draw inspiration from society and literature have cemented his ‘irreplaceable’ stature over the years."
CV Aravind of The News Minute wrote of him in 2018, "SV Ranga Rao was ranked on par with the superstars of the 1950s, 60s and 70s such as N. T .Rama Rao, Nageswara Rao, M. G. Ramachandran, and Sivaji Ganesan. Ranga Rao was one of the earliest to be hailed as a ‘method’ actor and a substandard performance from him was simply out of the question. Rated as one of the most dignified and cooperative stars, he was held in high regard by the acting fraternity."
|1950||Bhale Papa||Blind person||Telugu|
|1951||Pathala Bhairavi||Nepala Mantrikudu||Telugu |
|1st International Film Festival of India|
|1952||Kalyanam Panni Paar||Tamil|
|1952||Pelli Chesi Choodu||Zamindar Veeyanna||Telugu|
|1953||Devadasu||Zamindar Narayana Rao||Telugu|
|1954||Bangaru Papa||Kotayya||Telugu||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu|
|1954||Rajee Naa Pranam||Telugu|
|1954||Rajee En Kanmani||Rich man||Tamil|
|1954||Thuli Visham||Naga Nadu King VeeraMarththandan||Tamil|
|1955||Guna Sundari Katha||King Ugrasena||Telugu|
|1956||Naan Petra Selvam||Tamil|
|1956||Mathar Kula Manickam||Tamil|
|1957||Allauddin Adhbhuta Deepam||Jaffer, the magician||Telugu|
|1957||Allavudeenum Arputha Vilakkum||Tamil|
|1957||Sarangadhara||Raja Raja Narendrudu||Telugu|
|1957||Soubhagyavathi||Maha Bhairavan, Bad Magician||Tamil|
|1957||Engal Veettu Mahalakshmi||Lawyer Ganapathi||Tamil|
|1957||Thodi Kodallu||Kutumba Rao||Telugu||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu|
|1958||Appu Chesi Pappu Koodu||Diwan Bahadur Mukunda Rao||Telugu|
|1958||Kadan Vaangi Kalyanam||Tamil|
|1958||Pelli Naati Pramanalu||Bheemasena Rao||Telugu||National Film Award For Best Feature Film in Telugu|
|1958||Anbu Engey||Masilamani Mudaliar||Tamil|
|1960||Nammina Bantu||Telugu||8th San Sebastián International Film Festival |
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu
|1960||Mahakavi Kalidasu||Bhoja Raju||Telugu||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Telugu|
|1960||Mamaku Tagga Alludu||Telugu|
|1960||Naan Kanda Sorgam||Tamil|
|1960||Parthiban Kanavu||King Narasimhavarman||Tamil|
|1964||Velugu Needalu||Rao Bahadur Venkataramaiah||Telugu|
|1961||Kalasivunte Kaladu Sukham||Telugu|
|1961||Kumudham||Public Prosecutor, Shanthi's father||Tamil|
|1961||Pangaaligal||One of the 3 Partners||Tamil|
|1962||Padithal Mattum Podhuma||Tamil|
|1962||Sarada||Tamil||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil|
|1962||Sri Srikakula Andhra Mahavishnuvu Katha||Suchandrasena Maharaju||Telugu|
|1962||Annai||Tamil||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil|
|1963||Kalyaniyin Kanavan||Kalyani's Father||Tamil|
|1963||Kungumam||Punniyakodi / James / Sambasivam||Tamil|
|1963||Karpagam||Tamil||National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil|
|1963||Narthanasala||Keechakudu||Telugu||Best Actor - 3rd Afro-Asian Film Festival, Jakarta|
National Film Award for Second Best Feature Film
|1963||Naanum Oru Penn||Tamil|| Filmfare Award for Best Film – Tamil |
National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil
|1964||Bobbili Yudham||Tandra Paparayudu||Telugu|
|1964||Kai Kodutha Deivam||Tamil|
|1964||Main Bhi Ladki Hoon||Hindi|
|1964||Murali Krishna||Father of Murali||Telugu|
|1965||Enga Veetu Pillai||Father of Saroja Devi||Tamil|
|1965||Naadi Aada Janme||Telugu|
|1965||Vaazhkai Padagu||Rajan Father||Tamil|
|1966||Kumari Penn||Grandfather of Shyamala||Tamil|
|1966||Thedi Vandha Thirumagal||Tamil|
|1966||Thattungal Thirakkappadum||Church Father||Tamil|
|1966||Adugu Jaadalu||Dr. Krishna||Telugu|
|1967||Bhakta Prahlada||Hiraynakashipudu||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Feature Film|
|1967||Chadarangam||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Feature Film|
|1967||Thaikku Thalaimagan||Father of Malathi||Tamil|
|1967||Kan Kanda Deivam||The Landlord||Tamil|
|1968||Bandhavyalu||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Feature Film|
|1968||Bandhipotu Dongalu||Bandipotu Malludora||Telugu|
|1968||Poovum Pottum||Professor Raja Rathinam||Tamil|
|1971||Debbaku Tha Dongala Mutha||Telugu|
|1971||Vidhyarthigale Ithile Ithile||Principal||Malayalam|
|1971||Debbaku tha Dongala Mutha||Gangu||Telugu|
|1972||Iddaru Ammayilu||Lawyer Narayan Rao||Telugu|
|1972||Pandanti Kapuram||Head of the family||Telugu|
|1973||Anbu Sagodharargal||Elder Brother||Tamil|
|1973||Devudu Chesina Manushulu||Telugu|
|1972||Tata-Manavadu||Grandfather Rangayya||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Feature Film|
|1973||Samsaram Sagaram||Telugu||Nandi Award for Best Feature Film|
|1974||Andaru Dongale||Chanti Babu||Telugu|
|1974||Galipatalu||Ganganna and Manganna||Telugu|
|1974||Sivakamyin Selvan||Tamil||Last film in Tamil|
|1975||Yashoda Krishna||Kamsa||Telugu||Last film in Telugu|
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Samarla Venkata Ranga Rao, popular as SVR, one of the finest actors ever in the history of Indian Cinema ....