Andhra Pradesh

Gollapudi Maruti Rao dead

Gollapudi Maruthi Rao  

Veteran film personality and writer Gollapudi Maruti Rao, who made Visakhapatnam his home for the past several decades, died while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Chennai on Thursday. He was 80 and is survived by wife and sons Subba Rao and Ramakrishna.

Born at Vizianagaram on April 14, 1939, Maruti Rao began his career as a journalist with the Telugu daily ‘Andhra Prabha’ as a sub-editor in Chittoor in the early 60s. He acted in stageplays as a student and led the drama troupe ‘Raghava Kala Niketan’. His first drama was ‘Snanala gadi’, directed by the then Andhra University Registrar, K.V. Gopalaswamy.

He penned his first story ‘Aashajeevi’ in the mid 60s. He began scripting stories for films with the encouragement given by film lyricist Dasaradhi. His first story for a film was ‘Dr. Chakravarthi’ starring Akkineni Nageswara Rao, and directed by Dukkipati Madhusudhana Rao. He also penned a story for director K. Viswanath’s directorial debut ‘Atma Gauravam’.

He received six ‘Nandi’ awards from the AP government including the best writer for ‘Atma Gauravam’, best comedian for ‘Tarangini’, best supporting actor for ‘Ramayanam Lo Bhagavatham’, best screenplay for ‘Prema Pusthakam’. He also got an award as the best actor (television) in 1996.

“He had bagged a prize for his play ‘Aanati ratri’ in a competition conducted by All India Radio (AIR) and subsequently joined AIR,” recalled R. Sampath, former Chief of Bureau of The Hindu, Visakhapatnam, who was then a sub-editor in The Indian Express in Chittoor.

“Having abundant knowledge, he was friendly and witty. He was also very close to actor Kamal Hassan,” said Mr. Sampath. He had contributed to a popular column ‘Jeevana kalam’ for a Telugu daily for several years.

Debut film

At the age of 42, he established himself as a character actor in his debut film ‘Intlo Ramayya Veedhilo Krishnayya (1982)’ with Chiranjeevi in the lead role.

Memorial award

His third son Srinivas, who was a film director, died in an accident while shooting for the film ‘Prema Pusthakam’ in Visakhapatnam in 1992. He instituted a memorial award in the name of Srinivas and had been giving away the same to the best debut film director every year since 1998. Many noted actors such as Aamir Khan and Konkona Sen Sharma were given the award for their directorial debut.

During his four-decade career as an actor, he had carved a niche for himself by portraying varied roles as a villain, supporting actor and comedian in over 250 films. His last film was ‘Jodi’.

Maruti Rao had authored 12 novels, four compilations of stories, three children’s stories and several essays.

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Printable version | Jul 30, 2021 12:46:06 PM |

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