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Remembering Gollapudi Maruthi Rao and his unlimited repertoire

Gollapudi Maruti Rao

Gollapudi Maruti Rao   | Photo Credit: C V Subrahmanyam


His colleagues from the Telugu film industry share their memories with this extraordinary writer-actor

A jovial person, a warm human being and someone who always loved a good laughter, Gollapudi Maruti Rao’s repertoire in films, drama and literature is vast and everyone who was associated with him term him as an enriching personality. He led a complete life and if there was anything missing it was the loss of his son that he could never come to terms with. Hailing from a lower middle class Brahmin family, he studied mathematical physics but showed his prowess in writing and dramatics. He used his voice, looks, expressions and intelligence to express himself and change society through his work. There was a time he would write a story every day and only then retire to bed. His colleagues miss the writer-actor genius and say he left only good memories.

Master of words

Paruchuri Gopalakrishna


Paruchuri Gopalakrishna

Paruchuri Gopalakrishna   | Photo Credit: C V Subrahmanyam

My brother Venkateswara Rao was supposed to write the dialogues for Intlo Ramaiyya Veedhilo Krishnaiyya but due to differences with the producer, we returned the script. Gollapudi wrote the dialogues and even acted in it, and you know the popularity that he got with it. It was not just a writer of plays and dialogues for cinema, he had written over 200 essays. His books are a subject of study in the university and we have to be proud of his achievements. When my nephew Paruchuri Raghu Babu passed away, my brother began giving away awards in his names every year for plays conducted by us. Similarly when Gollapudi lost his son Srinivas during a film shoot, he instituted an award for promising debut directors every year in his memory. We were planning to invite him for our writers association celebrations but he was hospitalised by then. I clearly remember that after a shoot when we would relax, he would not indulge in gossip or movie trivia. Instead, he would show his ‘bhasha pandityam’ and share his knowledge with others. At every international film festival, we would spot him with his wife.

Exuded warmth

Relangi Narasimha Rao


Relangi Narasimha Rao

Relangi Narasimha Rao   | Photo Credit: C V Subrahmanyam

He acted in Konte Kapuram that I directed and he worked in around eight of my films. He was a master in discipline, punctuality and very friendly on the sets. I never saw him showing off his intelligence and would put his arms on our shoulders and exude warmth. Once when I went to his place, I found a diary on his table and I enquired what it was meant for. He allowed me to open it. Those days there were only landline phones. His family would make a note of every person who called in his absence and he would return the call after coming back from shoot. Also he would write in it, where he would be at a particular hour every day. I saw his concern for light men, trolley people and other assistants. Most unit people those days were uneducated. So he would inform them of government schemes and tell them to secure their future when they are earning well.

I didn’t know what a credit card was, and he, with his contacts in a bank, got me one within minutes. Those days, a lot of documentation was required to acquire it. Even now when I see it, I am reminded of his help. He was a thorough professional but gave priority to his family. When in a shoot out of station, he would call his wife twice a day. He never shifted to Hyderabad and remained in Chennai. He lived briefly in Visakhapatanam but moved to Chennai in his last days.

A cultured man

Sowcar Janaki


Sowcar Janaki

Sowcar Janaki   | Photo Credit: K Pichumani

I worked with him in a few films like Samsaram Oka Chadarangam, Kanche, and Murali Krishnudu. There was a pleasant disposition about him and there was decorum when he would talk about people... be it to criticise or praise them. He came as a small time actor and rose to great heights but more than that he will be known as a great writer, thinker and a cultured man. He never carried a halo. We shared intellectual conversations. Even in negative roles, he infused a touch of comedy. I have great respect and appreciation for this gentleman, can’t believe he is gone. When I went to the US, a gentleman named Kiran Prabha spoke to me. He had apparently taken my number from Maruthi Rao, who had briefed this man about my culinary skills. . I have great admiration for him, there is a dearth of good people in the industry and it is showing. I feel sad to know the passing away of Gollapudi Maruthi Rao.

Extraordinary writer

Murali Mohan


M Murali Mohan

M Murali Mohan   | Photo Credit: Nagara Gopal

I used to know him since his days in AIR as an announcer and a playwright. I acted in some of the plays he had written. There were a few plays in which he acted, and they surpassed his work in cinema. I can never forget Kallu, an amazing story that was translated into many languages.

He was an extraordinary writer, voracious reader and an avid film enthusiast. He wrote dialogues for my first film Jagame Maya and later on producer Dukkipati Madhusudan Rao encouraged him. When Kodi Ramakrishna offered him a role in Intlo Rammaiyya Veedhilo Krishnaiyya, he was initially reluctant, but after the film released, there was no looking back for him as an actor. He brought properties in Chennai. It is most tragic that one of his sons — the youngest — who’d aspired to become a director, died while shooting at Vizag beach. Maruthi Rao had hoped he would inherit his film career. Maruthi Rao did good roles in films produced by our Jayabheri banner. His columns in magazines were very popular. He would review films that he saw every day at the international film festival.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 10:22:07 PM |

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