Dasari Narayana Rao, Telugu filmmaker, writer, actor, and former Central Minister, died of heart failure on 30 May, less than a month after turning 75. Rao, who holds the Limca World Record for directing more films than any other director, will be missed in Kollywood. During his 45 year long career, he worked with some of Kollywood’s biggest stars, and many of his films were remade into Tamil. He was also instrumental in remaking several Tamil films into Hindi, Telugu, and other languages.
Tributes Pour In
Since late Tuesday evening when his death was announced, tributes to Rao have been pouring in. Though he was primarily known for his Telugu films, his connection with Hindi and Tamil films was no less strong.
Rajinikanth called him his “closest well-wisher” and said his death was a loss for the entire Indian film industry. Rajini had worked with the filmmaker on two occasions – once in a guest role as himself in Rao’s Tamil film Natchathiram (1980), and once as the lead character in the Hindi film Wafadaar (1985).
— Rajinikanth (@superstarrajini) May 30, 2017
Kamal Haasan, too, had worked with Rao in two films. Haasan had a guest role in Natchathiram and a lead role in the Hindi film Yaadgar (1984). The film, starring Poonam Dhillon, has a poignant ending, unlike most feature films of those days. Reminiscing over those days, Haasan tweeted:
My sympathy and condolences to the family of Daasari NaryaNa rao.His loss is truly a big loss for Telugu cinema. Late K.B. sir admired him
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) May 30, 2017
I remember the days spent with Narayan rao gaaru and Mr. Sanjeev kumar ji. Yaadgaar. He was a great fan of Mr.KB. I belong to a great family
— Kamal Haasan (@ikamalhaasan) May 30, 2017
While Trisha Krishnan has never worked with Rao, she posted about their mutually respectful relationship. The two had interacted at several events, including the teaser launch of her film Nayaki (2016), where he praised her as an actress.
The person who treated me just the same during my first film and my 50th Such a tremendous loss. Rip Dasari sir ?
— Trisha Krishnan (@trishtrashers) May 30, 2017
AR Murugadoss, too, expressed his shock over Rao’s death. As a mark of respect, he has postponed the release of the first teaser of his film SPYder, which stars Mahesh Babu, from 31 May to 1 June.
— A.R.Murugadoss (@ARMurugadoss) May 30, 2017
Actress Kajal Aggarwal, an established Telugu and Tamil actress, praised him as a “great soul and legend”.
Deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Dasari NarayanaRao garu, a great soul and legend! My heartfelt condolence. RIP sir??
— Kajal Aggarwal (@MsKajalAggarwal) May 30, 2017
Rao and Kollywood Remakes
Many of Rao’s most popular films were remade into Tamil movies. He too remade Tamil films into Hindi and Telugu:
Premabhishekam (1981) remade as Vazhvey Maayam (1982)
Originally a Telugu romance film starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Sridevi, and Jayasudha, Rao’s film was remade into Tamil the following year with Kamal Haasan in the lead. Directed by R Krishnamoorthy, the film went on to become a blockbuster, completing 200 days at the box-office.
Sivaranjani (1978) remade as Natchathiram (1980)
Starring Sripriya, Rao remade Natchathiram from the Telugu film Sivaranjani. Natchathiram also had Mohan Babu and guest appearances by a number of popular actors, including Rajinikanth, Kamal Haasan, Savitri, Sivaji Ganesan, and Srividya.
Majnu (1987) remade as Anand (1987)
A Telugu romantic-tragedy directed by Rao, the Telugu film Majnu starred Akkineni Nagarjuna, Rajani, and Moon Moon Sen. CV Rajendran directed the Tamil remake and released it in the same year, with Prabhu Ganesan and Jayashree. in the lead However, the remake, unlike the original, wasn’t a superhit.
Kanavan Manaivi (1976) remade as Haisiyat (1984)
Rao remade A Bhimsingh’s Tamil social drama Kanavan Manaivi into the Hindi film Haisiyat. While the Telugu version starred R Muthuraman and Jayalalitha, Haisiyat starred Jeetendra and Jaya Prada. The film was best known for its music, composed by Bappi Lahiri.
Pondatti Rajyam (1992) remade as Akka Pettanam Chelleli Kapuram (1993)
Rao remade the 1992 Tamil film Pondatti Rajyam into the Telugu film Akka Pettanam Chelleli Kapuram, starring Rajendra Prasad, Aparna, and Jaya Sudha. The remake marked actor Vikram’s debut in the film industry.
Manja Pai (2014) remade as Erra Bus (2014)
Erra Bus was Rao’s last film as a director and producer. Starring Varun Manchu, Catherine Tresa, and Rao himself, the film was a remake of N Ragavan’s Tamil film, Manja Pai. Composer Chakri was the film’s music director, the only time he collaborated with Rao. This was one of the last projects Chakri worked on before his death.
Feature Image: Gulte.com