Legendary Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao dies at 91

Legendary Telugu actor Akkineni Nageswara Rao dies at 91 Hyderabad Dada Saheb Phalke Award winner and doyen of Telugu cinema, legendary actor and producer Akkineni Nageswara Rao (fondly called ANR), died in the early hours in Hyderabad today. He was 91.

Battling cancer for years, Mr Rao had an acting career spanning 75 years and had acted in the lead role as hero in 240 Telugu films apart from working in several Tamil films as well.

He was honoured with India’s second highest civilian award Padma Vibhushan in 2011. He was also honoured with Padma Shri.

He is credited with being a pioneer in shifting Telugu film industry from then Madras to Hyderabad.

He established Annapurna studios and his son Nagarjuna , daughter-in-law Amala and several grandsons followed in ANR’s footsteps to become actors.


  1. Author
    sputnik 8 years ago


    Had seen some of his movies as a kid but don’t remember much. He had starred in the Telugu Devadas (1953) which came out before Bimal Roy’s Devdas. Legend has it that Dilip saw the Telugu version and said that Akkineni Nageswara Rao was better than him as Devadas.

  2. aryan 8 years ago


    Had seen lots of movies at my friend’s home in my childhood. May be my friend’s parents liked him a lot.

  3. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    I remeber long back Sputnik had mentioned about Devadasu in Telugu.

    But I dont remember exactly what was the argument and his statements. I guess he was referring to the original novel in Bengali and how it is perfectly followed in Telugu version.

    I have seen Nageshwara Rao’s Telugu Devdas in bits and pieces (first full hour in a stretch)

    @Sputnik – please enlighten me or give me your inputs on below points.

    I have not read Sharadchadra Chatterjee’s original novel – but I have seen recently Devdas in HIndi (1955) and Telugu (1953) for first full hour.

    Some observation:

    1) Telugu version has more clashes of Devdas’s mother with Paro’s mother
    2) Telugu version – when Devdas comes back – Paro is doing a Pooja and she is surprised to see him; drops the “prasad/prasadam” and her mother goes in front of idol and tries to pardon her (by doing bowing before god too much) – typical south indian touch there. Whereas in Bimal Roy version Paro is not doing Pooja at all and shies away and hides from Devdas. There is no reference to God or Pooja.
    3) Hindi version – Devdas’s father beats him up when he finds boy Deva is found smoking tobacco. There is no smacking the young boy in Telugu version – the father of Devadasu just comforts Paro every time she comes crying – but no stern action by him for his son.
    4) Hindi version – Devdas cracks down and cries and his mother comforts him – when he is being sent for the education out of the state – in Telugu – mother doesnt have a word – Devdasu is not close to her while leaving.
    5) The song – “Oh albele Panchi” has similar song in telugu too.
    But other songs are at different places . In Hindi – when Devdas leaves the village/town – there is an emotional song. In telugu its not there. Instead of it there is a song in telugu version where Devdas is coming back to the town (which is not in Hindi)

    As much as I saw Telugu Devadasu, I remeber Nageswara Rao was pretty good. But I saw only one film of his. He didnt come across as typical south indian Hero , but as an actor more…

    But still in Devdas he was not even a patch on Dilip Kumar. Not to say that he was not a great actor, but maybe Dilip suited the role more than him.

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Haven’t seen Telugu Devadas or Dilip’s Devadas. I think I had just commented that many think that Nageswara Rao (ANR) was better and even Dilip had admitted according to what I heard from people as well as some articles.

      “critics aver that Rao’s portrayal of the alcoholic lover was by far the best. Even Dilip Kumar once famously remarked that it was Rao’s performance that outshone the rest.” Link

      “Of Devadasu, the venerable Dilip Kumar said that ANR was the best Devdas he had seen.” Link

      ‘Thespian Dilip Kumar once famously remarked, “There is only one Devadas (1953), and that is Akkineni Nageswara Rao.”’ Link

      He was a hero from very early on in Telugu movies. He started off playing female characters on stage when women were not allowed to act. He was one of the top two stars along with NTR in Telugu movies. While NTR did mostly mythological movies ANR did social/romantic/tragic movies. I think NTR was more a hit with the masses while ANR was a hit more with the classes.

      He was famous for his “Steps” in dancing which doesn’t look good from today’s point of view. According to him he started dancing when it was only the heroines who were supposed to dance. Both ANR and NTR did movies in the 70s with heroines like Sridevi who were young enough to be their daughters while they were fat and old. He did go on to do some good roles in his old age as a grandfather and so on.

  4. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Another point – Telugu Devadasu took almost 1 hour to come to the point where Devdas and Paro meet each other.

    Bimay Roy version takes only 28 minutes. (I dont know if its good or bad or true to original story … )

  5. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    The more and more I see of it (Devdas) in telugu it disappoints me.

    WHat the fuck with Devdas sitting along with a dog while Chandramukhi is searching for him?

    A hero sitting along with a dog symbolizes he is in too bad / poor condition? Such a cliche …

    I am disappointed with Telugu Devadasu completely …

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      I have not seen either Devdas so I don’t know if Dilip is sitting on a street in Devdas or not. But if someone is sitting on a street like a beggar and drinking all the time I think he will look more like ANR with disheveled hair than nicely combed hair and yes there could be a stray dog along him.

      From what I have seen both Dilip and ANR have their hand mannerisms and both are theatrical. Now many think Dilip’s Kaun Kambakht scene is great but I think he is “acting” in that scene. Its hard to judge old movies specially the black & white ones and the acting in them.

      • Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

        “I have not seen either Devdas so I don’t know if Dilip is sitting on a street ”

        You must see it then

        Bimal Roy Devdas.


        Because it is one one the greatest story every told.

        Like Sholay.

      • Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

        Do you really mean this?

        “he will look more like ANR with disheveled hair than nicely combed hair”


        Watch Dilip in this scene and you will know – no other actor has been so realistic in this scene. I mean it. If you havent seen it , SEE IT.

  6. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Do I want to criticize Nageshwara Rao?


    Do I want to criticize his acting prowess?


    But guys, common

    Devdas was not was something else. He was a good actor. But you cant imagine someone like him over here. Forget abour Dilip Kumar…he was not even close 10%.

  7. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Good night to all. I think no one will agree on me here as no one sees regional films. Its ok.

    Good night !!!

    Fact remains that Dilip Kumar was the best in all the Devdas versions. And while i appreciate Nageshwara Rao – he was a good actor – but unfit for Devdas role – looked like a too much of a newbie, immature kind…

  8. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    Dilip Kumar has always been theatrical.https://tanqeed.com/legendary-telugu-actor-akkineni-nageswara-rao-dies-91/#comment-135075But he is too good in Devdas….

    But talking about Devdas, its totally unfair of him to compare to someone like a ANR.

    Dilip was a magic and a fantastic persona in Devdas , ANR was poor imitation. (though I agree he was a great actor – but not in this role)

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      ANR did the role two years before Dilip 🙂

      • Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

        I know it – and I already mentioned it twice above.

        But the fact is Dilip was too good in the role, whether u agree or not. See the films again.


  9. Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

    If you think ” Kaun Kambakht scene” is an act. Please watch Bimal Roy’s Devdas.

    • Author
      sputnik 8 years ago

      Yes as I said in another thread I am planning on watching a lot of old movies. Had watched Madhumati a few years back and Yahudi long time back on DD. Want to watch Devdas, Bandini and Do Bigha Zamin by Bimal Roy. Also want to watch Guru Dutt’s Pyaasa and Kaagaz Ke Phool.

    • Anjanpur685Miles 8 years ago

      I already said that. Didnt I? 🙂

      but anyways…i will repeat as the Arnab in the “bollywood aam admi party”

      have u seen it? then see it?

      Why havent u seen it…see it now. Please see it. Why havent u seen it?!!!

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