Chennai

Birth centenary of ‘Gemini’ Koteswara Rao celebrated

Late Shri PV Koteswara Rao was born on February 12, 1918 in Andhra Pradesh. Photos: Special Arrangement

Late Shri PV Koteswara Rao was born on February 12, 1918 in Andhra Pradesh. Photos: Special Arrangement  

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A much-admired sound engineer, he had long associations with Vijaya Vauhini, Bharani and Gemini studios

If we lived in a world where sound engineers were lionised and their exploits as constantly recalled as those of cricketers, then P.V. Koteswara Rao is likely to be in the news often. A few weeks ago, there was a reason for the world of films and music to remember him and honour his memory. The twelfth of February this year marked the birth centenary of the sound engineer who made his name at the recording studios of Vadapalani.

Rao was born on February 12, 1918 in Andhra Pradesh. Having lost both his parents at an early age, he had a difficult childhood. He received his vocational education in Madras, studying Radio Engineering at Rajagopal Institute. In the 1940s, he earned his spurs as a sound engineer working at Vijaya Vauhini Studios. He had joined the studio in a key position. However, in the early part of the 1950s, he moved to Bharani Studios where he found greater scope for displaying his talent. Bharani Studios was owned by his friend P. Ramakrishna and the famous actress-singer-director Paluvayi Bhanumati. He got the opportunity to design the recording theatre at Bharani, where timeless films, including Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Malleswari, Vipranarayana and Batasari, were being made around that time. In 1970, he moved to Gemini Studios honouring a promise he had made S. S. Vasan. When he retired from Gemini in December 1987, his position in the sound-engineering Hall of Fame was well secured. Following this long stint at Gemini, he came to be known as ‘Gemini’ Koteswara Rao.

Koteswara Road lived on Vaidhyarama Street in T. Nagar, where many film personalities lived. In his later years, he took the roles of advisor and mentor.

He was associated with eminent western organizations like RCA, Westrex Sound Systems from the United States of America (USA), and the Swedish Film Industry in the capacity of an advisor.

He visited the USA in 1983 to hold lectures on acoustics, as he was widely recognised as an authority on that subject. With over 50 years in the south Indian film industry, he had mentored many technicians, playback singers (some of them are household names in this part of the world) and producers.

Making a list of films he worked on as sound engineer is no easy task. The award-winning movies that he was a part of include Sila Nerangalli Sila Manidangal, Nartanasala and Megha Sandesam.

His association with Ramu Kariat, Salil Choudhary Manna Dey gave Chemeen.

Besides films, he audiographed many jingles, documentaries and religious programmes. He recorded hymns for the Good Shepherd Convent, for which Mother John sent a letter of appreciation. Thanks to his expertise in acoustics, he was regularly invited by the Andhra Pradesh government as chief examiner for theatre operators.

He won the prestigious Ramnoth Award and received many awards from the Karnataka and Kerala governments. He was also the founder-chairman of Cine Technicians Association. He provided for the education of many needy children.

(P.V. Yogendra Prasad and P.V. Surekha Ghai are the children of P.V. Koteswara Rao)

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Printable version | Jan 30, 2020 1:34:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/birth-centenary-of-gemini-koteswara-rao-celebrated/article22917849.ece

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