Mannava Balayya, the veteran Telugu actor and filmmaker, who was popular during the 60s and 70s, died on Saturday morning at his residence in Hyderabad, due to age-related ailments. He was 92.
Born in Chavapadu, in the Guntur district, the late actor pursued mechanical engineering at Guindy Engineering College in Chennai, before venturing into cinema. After developing an interest in films through drama, Balayya made his acting debut with Ethuku Pai Ethu, directed by writer-filmmaker Tapi Chanakya. Produced by Sarathi Studios, it was released in 1958.
Subsequently, he went on to act in nearly 300 films and starred alongside some notable names in the Telugu film industry, including SV Ranga Rao, Anjali Devi, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Nagarjuna Akkineni and Krishna, among others. Balayya’s filmography also includes recurring films that are adapted from Hindu mythology. The late actor has appeared in films, based on the Mahabharata, such as Kurukshetram (1977), Bala Bharatam (1972), Pandava Vanavasam (1965), Sri Rama Rajyam (2011), to name a few.
Balayya also branched out in the film industry as a producer, director, and story writer. In 1971, he backed his maiden project as a producer titled Chellili Kapuram. The film starred actors Sobhan Babu, and Vanisri, with the story written by Balayya. It won the Nandi Film Award, a state accolade. In 1973, he again backed and wrote the film Neramu Siksha featuring Krishna, and Bharati.
As a producer, Balayya has frequently collaborated with Krishna. He has also backed Neramu Siksha (1973), Eenati Bandam Yenatido (1977), Chuttalunnaru Jagratha (1980), Kirayi Alludu (1983), among others. He has also helmed the films Pasupu Tadu (1986), and Police Alludu (1994). He also went on to win the Nandi Award for Second Best Story Writer for the Telugu drama film Oorukichchina Maata (1981) starring Chiranjeevi.
Balayya was last seen in the 2013 film Ramachari as politician-industrialist Harishchandra Prasad.
Actor Nandamuri Balakrishna mourned Balayya’s death and said that the latter was a very good actor, who has shared the screen space with his father NT Rama Rao and him. Calling his death “unfortunate,” Balakrishna said that their families shared an amicable relationship.