Renowned Telugu filmmaker Bapu, also an acclaimed artist, painter, cartoonist and illustrator, passed away in Chennai today following a brief illness.
He was 80.
Bapu, whose real name was Sattiraju Lakshminarayana, had been admitted to a private hospital in Chennai a few days ago and he passed away this evening due to a cardiology-related ailment, hospital sources said.
Bapu had begun his career as a director in 1967 with ‘Sakshi’, which was then screened in international film festivals. He went on to direct about 50 films in his career.
His last film was ‘Sriramarajyam’ in 2011, which had popular actor Balakrishna, son of late N T Rama Rao, and Nayanatara in the lead.
He received several coveted honours, including Padma Sri from the Union government in 2013 and the prestigious Nandi Award of the Andhra Pradesh government.
Bapu, in combination with his friend and writer Mullapudi Venkata Ramana, made critically-acclaimed and successful films like ‘Muthyala Muggu’, ‘Tyagayya’, ‘Bhakta Kannapa’, ‘Pelli Pustakam’ and ‘Mr Pellam’.
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Bapu made a few films in Tamil and Hindi as well. His Hindi films include ‘Ham Paanch’ and ‘Seeta Swayamvar’.
Bapu’s ‘Vamsa Vriksham’ in Telugu was one of the earliest films in the career of veteran Bollywood actor Anil Kapoor.
Bapu was also an artist, painter, cartoonist and illustrator par excellence, whose works signified the benchmark for Teluguness.
In casual conversations, a traditional-looking Telugu girl is often described as “a girl in Bapu’s picture”.
He pioneered a unique painting style characterised by the use of simple bright colours, economy of strokes and free hand drawing.
Bapu was born at Narasapuram in West Godavari district of Coastal Andhra, but he made Chennai his home since his school days.
Expressing grief over the death of Bapu, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP President N Chandrababu Naidu said his work as an artist and films became a part of Telugu culture.
“Bapu’s cartoons and his drawings on the cover pages of numerous books would live as long as Telugu race remained,” Naidu said in a release.
Balakrishna, who is also an MLA, and several other film personalities also expressed condolence over Bapu’s death.