Former Union Minister for Coal and one of the pillars of Telugu cinema industry, Dasari Narayana Rao, passed away on Tuesday May 30,2017 at the age of 75 in Hyderabad.
In a career spanning 45 years, Dasari excelled as a director, actor, script writer, and producer. His helpful nature endeared himself to the industry which looked up to him for support. He played a big role in catapulting Telugu film industry to the national level.
In Tollywood, he was fondly called ‘Guru’, as he was the first point of call for any issue artistes faced.
Dasari also etched his name in the Limca Book of Records for directing the highest number of films — 151.
Beginning with his maiden directorial venture Thatha Manavadu in 1972, he constantly experimented with novel ideas and themes. From simple stories to pot-boilers and films of social relevance to political content, Dasari handled them all with ease.
He also produced 53 films, including a few Hindi movies.
He was also known for giving breaks to upcoming actors and film technicians in his films.
He also played a major role in establishing the Telugu film industry on a strong footing in Hyderabad as it shifted from Madras (as Chennai was then called) along with stalwarts like NT Rama Rao, Akkineni Nageswara Rao and Rama Naidu.
If his films were trendsetters, Dasari also shone as an actor. He won two Nandi awards for his acting.
Born in Palakole in West Godavari district in 1942, Dasari came up the hard way. He was a multi-tasker, donning the role of director and actor and most often they were medium budget ventures.
His film ‘Meghasandesam’ (1983) was one of his high points as it was screened in the Cannes and Moscow film festivals.
Dasari also directed Rajesh Khanna in Asha Jyoti and Aaj Ka MLA. Among his top films are NTR starrer, Sardar Paparayudu, Bobbili Puli, Shivaranjani, Katakatala Rudrayya, Bali Peetam, Premabhishekam, Gorintaku, Rangoon Rowdy.
“He is an institution, who introduced many new faces to the film industry. A hard worker, he worked as a central minister and we shared a closed family relationship”, said Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu.
Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhara Rao, Union I&B Minister, Venkaiah Naidu, actor Mohan Babu were among the top personalities who paid rich tributes to the director.
However, Dasari’s venture into media and politics were not particularly successful. A reluctant politician, Dasari was known to be working on rallying the strong Backward Class communities to get to power rightfully in Andhra Pradesh, but never took the lead.
In the UPA-2 government led by Manmohan Singh, he became the Union Minister of State for Coal. But, his tenure ended on a highly controversial note as he faced corruption charges and ended up being named and probed in the multi-crore coal scam, which continued to haunt him till the end.
He launched the popular Telugu daily Udhayam in 1984 to counter the influential Eenadu of Ramoji Rao. However, he could not sustain it and had to sell it to liquor baron Magunta Subbarami Reddy.
The Telangana government has decided to accord a state funeral on Wednesday May 31,2017