Kota Appa Rao, a legend of Telugu theatre, is remembered.
Kota Appa Rao who passed away last Sunday first showcased his flair in all aspects of play production, acting and directing at the age of ten as a school boy. That was towards the end of 1948 at his birth place Madugula. Encouraged by all alike, he successfully found a few more occasions like that there till he shifted to Visakhapatnam in 1953-54, after his SSLC to take up an assignment in a shipping company. It was here that Kota Appa Rao got intimately attracted to the members of the Visakha Nataka Kalamandali, especially the thespian doyen of the stage and its founder president Ganapathiraju Atchutharama Raju who spotted him out as a renaissance man and gave him the roles of beggar and boot-polish boy in the play-lets India-Today and Donga. He won prizes at competitions held by many a prestigious Telugu Nataka Parishat. Sans any occasion for looking back, he evolved himself as a profound actor, director, playwright and a producer of credible play-lets and full plays. No wonder, each one of them won many an award for him. Not resting on laurels, Kota Appa Rao got the experimental play Kalanjali jointly scripted by noted writers Kothurthi Bhaskara Rao and Muddamsetti Hanumantha Rao that comprised of as many as 55 characters enchantingly enacted. He made inroads into the Telugu tinsel world as an actor, director and producer. Soon, he became one of the choicest adjudicators for almost all drama competitions organised not only by prestigious Nataka parishats but also by the government of A.P for its Nandi Awards.
He established his own drama institute called ‘Amma Sanskruthi Samsthan' and started getting either two or one full play staged regularly on every first Friday from 1993 onwards. Thus, Kota Appa Rao made the prediction of Atchutha Ramaraju that he would be a renaissance man of social drama in Telugu come true.
Kota Appa Rao came to be popularly known as Rowji after being endearingly called so by Atchutha Ramaraju. He will continue to inspire and elate the field of Telugu social drama and he will remain forever an icon of exemplary perseverance to get it popularised.